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Cheap Trick to open Riverfest

Cheap Trick, the 1970s rock band known for hits such as "I Want You to Want Me," will replace the ailing Bret Michaels as the opening-night act at the Wichita River Festival.

Michaels, the lead singer of rock band Poison and a contestant on "Celebrity Apprentice," suffered a brain hemorrhage a week ago, and his management team officially canceled the show on Tuesday. It was scheduled for May 7.

Festival officials began scrambling Tuesday to find an act of a similar caliber and used a talent agency to find a replacement. Festival president Janet Wright said on Tuesday that she'd also consider replacing Michaels with local acts, including the much-lobbied-for Split Lip Rayfield. But securing a national act allows the festival to continue with its plan of charging $10 plus a River Festival button for admission. All West Bank Stage shows this year, including country singer Jake Owen on May 8 and The Fabulous Thunderbirds on May 9, will cost $10 plus a button.

Michaels, 47, went to the hospital last week complaining of a painful headache, and doctors diagnosed him with a hemorrhage at the base of his brain. He's been in an undisclosed hospital for a week, and as of Wednesday, he was in critical but stable condition with slurred speech. Doctors say he is expected to recover but could be in the hospital for a month.

Cheap Trick will perform on the festival's opening night after the Sundown Parade. Local cover band Naughty Astronauts will open the show.

Admission is $10 plus a $5 River Festival button. Children ages 6-10 will be admitted free with a button and a donated food item, which will be given to the Kansas Food Bank. Children ages 5 and under will be admitted free.

For more information on the Wichita River Festival, visit www.wichitariverfestival.com.

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