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Longtime fan favorite Rick Springfield among Riverfest performers

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, May 31, 2012, at 2:28 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, May 30, 2013, at 6:01 p.m.

Casual fans of Rick Springfield might think that the pop star left his career back in the 1980s, somewhere between “Jessie’s Girl” and his starring role as Dr. Noah Drake on the soap opera “General Hospital.”

But his more devoted fans — and there are enough of them on which to base an entire documentary – know better.

At age 62, Springfield is involved in a long list of projects, including new music, a children’s lullaby album and a destination vacation package where he is the main draw.

During the past several years, he’s written a best-selling memoir, appeared on several television shows – including return visits to “General Hospital” – and been the topic of a documentary focusing on his most ardent fans and their devotion to him.

He also tours – a lot. On Saturday afternoon, that touring will bring him to the Wichita River Festival, where he’ll headline a concert that includes fellow 1980s group Survivor as the opening act.

Calling from his home in Malibu last week, Springfield talked about his long career, which has included more than 17 top-40 hits, and the fans who have fueled it.

“I always wanted a long career,” he said. “I’m kind of surprised, pleasantly surprised, that there’s been rejuvenation along the way.”

The rejuvenation includes new music that Springfield is recording with his longtime band in his home studio.

He says the music he’s working on might be his favorite of anything he’s done to date — including his big radio hits such as 1982’s “Jessie’s Girl,” for which he won a Grammy, “Don’t Talk to Strangers” and “Affair of the Heart.”

“It’s a mixture of heavy stuff and pop, and it’s a really cool mixture,” he said.

Springfield, whose 2010 memoir “Late, Late at Night” debuted at No. 13 on the New York Times best sellers list, said he’s also excited about a new documentary that focuses on his fans.

It’s called “An Affair of the Heart,” and it had its world premiere in April at the Florida Film Festival in Orlando. It also was screened at the Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto later that month.

The film tells the stories of fans who have been obsessed with Springfield for years, including a middle-aged woman whose fandom is an issue in her marriage.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “I assume that once the show’s over, I kind of disappear. But for a lot of the hard-core fans, I’ve been a part of their life for a long time. There are some pretty amazing stories in there.”

Springfield’s concert is one of many planned for the River Festival. Following is a list of some of the other live music on the schedule.

Friday

Koch Twilight Pops Concert, 8:30 p.m., West Bank Concert Stage. Admission is a River Festival button.

Saturday

Rick Springfield with Survivor, 4 p.m., West Bank Concert Stage. Tickets $15 at Select-A-Seat outlets, www.selectaseat.com and by calling 316-755-SEAT. River Festival button also required.

Kelley Hunt at 8 p.m., Fly by Night Band at 4:30 p.m., WaterWalk Pavilion. Admission is a River Festival button.

Sunday

Kellie Pickler with David Nail, 4 p.m., West Bank Concert Stage. $15 at Select-A-Seat outlets, www.selectaseat.com and by calling 316-755-SEAT. River Festival button also required.

City of Praise/WayFM Christian MusicFest, noon to 9:30 p.m., Kennedy Plaza. Admission is a River Festival button.

Cessna Jazz Band at 6 p.m., Acoustic Duo at 4 p.m., WaterWalk Pavilion. Admission is a River Festival button.

Monday

Gospel Concert featuring local musicians, dancers, mimes and more, 6:30 p.m., Star Lumber Floating Stage. Admission is a River Festival button.

The Monophonics, 6 p.m., WaterWalk Pavilion. Admission is a River Festival button.

Tuesday

Cool Blue, 6 p.m., WaterWalk Pavilion. Admission is a River Festival button.

Wednesday

Henry Walker & The Regents, 6 p.m., WaterWalk Pavilion. Admission is a River Festival button.

Thursday

The Mudbugs Cajun & Zydeco Band, 6 p.m., WaterWalk Pavilion. Admission is a River Festival button.

June 8

Country Concert featuring Clay Walker, 8:15 p.m., Douglas Street Stage at Main. Admission is a River Festival button.

Bruce Huss, 8:30 p.m., Raptor (U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band), 6:30 p.m., WaterWalk Pavilion. Admission is a River Festival button.

June 9

Block Party Pop Concert featuring Tony! Toni! Tone!, 8:15 p.m., Douglas Street Stage at Main. Admission is a River Festival button.

The Benders, 6 p.m., and RKO Blues Band, 4 p.m., WaterWalk Pavilion. Admission is a River Festival button.

Reach Denise Neil at 316-268-6327 or at dneil@wichitaeagle.com.

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