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Trinity River Festival 2023 coming to McCully

By Carissa Sitki

The Trinity River Festival will be held at McCully Heritage Project this year– the event kicks off this weekend, Friday, June 2; and Saturday, June 3, with dozens of concerts over the two-day span.

Beginning at noon on Friday and 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, the sixth annual Trinity River Festival will bring music, food vendors, art and craft vendors, camping, and all sorts of other activities to McCully. The festival is put on by Trinity’s Way, a foundation set up in memory of Trinity Marie Buel, an Alton High School senior who passed away in February of 2018.

According to the foundation’s mission statement, “We are dedicated to carrying on Trinity’s legacy of kindness and compassion for animals and the environment. We accomplish this by providing supplies and necessary support to other non-profit organizations that operate to protect and serve the best interests of animals and the environment. Trinity’s Way also hosts community events to educate the public about these issues and positively impact our local area.”

Trinity’s mother/Trinity’s Way co-founder, April Gray, shared some more details about Trinity in a post on the event’s Facebook page.

“Trinity was honest and real, always remaining true to her individuality in this difficult world,” said Gray. “To those fortunate enough to know her, she radiated light and love and strength that can never be duplicated by another person.”

According to Gray, all funds raised through the foundation go toward organizations that Trinity would have supported.

“Whenever we receive donations, the Trinity’s Way board asks each other, ‘What would Trinity do with this money?’ and we will donate that money to good causes, usually benefiting animals or the environment. The purpose of the organization is to give away as much as possible.”

Formerly held at the Cottage Hills VFW, this is the first year that the Trinity River Festival is being held at McCully. According to festival organizers, the reason for the change of venue was to allow for camping and McCully has an ample campground.

“Trinity’s Way approached us about doing the festival here, mainly because they wanted to add camping as an option,” said McCully Heritage Project Director Michelle Berg. “April Gray had been here before and thought it seemed like a perfect place to do the festival with camping.”

The event will feature more than 25 bands and solo acts on two stages, including an acoustic stage. Concerts will take place all day on both Friday and Saturday, with final bands taking the stage at 10 p.m. on Friday and 11 p.m. on Saturday.

Berg said that McCully is looking forward to hosting the event for the first time and that she believes the missions of the two organizations “align well with each other.”

“We are excited to be hosting the Trinity River Festival at the McCully Heritage Project this year. It is the first time we have hosted a large event of this type,” said Berg. “The missions of our organizations align well with each other. We are looking forward to seeing how this first year goes and hope we’ll be able to have a successful event.”

Gray said the same, adding that she believes the vibe of McCully will be a great fit for the event.

The main stage will be set up at the pavilion and the acoustic stage will be set up at the gazebo at the pond.

Friday line-up:

Main stage:

Silver Material at 4 p.m.

Piasa Canyon at 5:30 p.m.

The Trophy Mules at 7 p.m.

Accidentally on purpose at 8:30 p.m.

Bring me the Fires at 10 p.m.

Acoustic Stage:

Chris Miller at 3:30 p.m.

Jerry Love at 4:45 p.m.

Erin Jo at 6 p.m.

Will Marsh at 7:15 p.m.

Ken and Linda at 8:30 p.m.

Joshua Grassle and Friends at 9:45 p.m.

Dean Justus at 11 p.m.

Saturday line-up:

Main Stage:

Modern Pasta at 11:30 a.m.

Band #9 at 1 p.m.

Agents of the Free at 2:30 p.m.

Krickett and the Grilled Avocados at 4 p.m.

The Peacelords at 5:30 p.m.

NLJ Don at 7 p.m.

Darian Poe at 8:30 p.m.

Spillie Nelson at 10 p.m.

Acoustic Stage:

Lauren Waters at 12 p.m.

Nancy Lippincott at 1:15 p.m.

Darian Poe at 2:30 p.m.

Psychedelic Symphony at 3:45 p.m.

Sawyer Konkol at 5 p.m.

Gabe and Em at 6:15 p.m.

The Divine March at 7:30 p.m.

Paper Boulders at 8:45 p.m.

Ryan and Brandon at 11:15 p.m.

All of the bands donate their time to perform at this event and the only expenses for Trinity’s Way, according to Gray, is paying the light and sound engineers and event merchandise.

“We couldn’t do what we do without the ongoing support of these amazingly talented bands and musicians,” said Gray in a post about the lineup. “Make sure to check out their pages for their upcoming shows and go support live local music!”

Another recent Trinity’s Way event was an open mic night which Trinity’s friends (event organizers) used as an opportunity to scout out local talent for this year’s Trinity River Festival.

“We ended up with four new musicians for the festival we discovered through the open mic,” said Gray.

Berg said she could see McCully’s being the future site of Trinity River Festival in years to come, but for now they are just focusing on this year’s festival.

“If all goes well, I would say that the festival will continue here in the future, but right now we’re focused on this year,” said Berg.

Gray invites anyone in the surrounding areas to attend Trinity River Festival.

“It’s such a great opportunity to come out and support a great cause,” said Gray. “There will be lots of music and information about Trinity’s Way and how to get involved. People will get to see all of the love and passion behind what we do to remember Trinity.”

The McCully Heritage Project is a private non-profit environmental and cultural heritage center with 940 acres to explore in Calhoun County, Illinois. For more information, visit their website at Additionally, McCully will have an informational table set up at the festival and will be selling t-shirts during the event.

More information about Trinity’s Way can be found on their Facebook page, including festival details and dates for their litter cleanup events.

Tickets to the Trinity River Festival can be purchased at

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