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.