Yes, it's that time of year when the big shows begin in The Altered State... our favorite time of the year... Arkansas has a plethora of excellent annual music festivals. Why? Probably because music loving crowd seems to eat them up... Especially the several day events that include camping...
We have festivals that celebrate everything: blues, jazz, folk, rock 'n' roll, country, bluegrass, peace... mosquitos, crawfish, ticks, poetry... and certain individuals too, such as the Johnny Cash Festival, (he was from The Altered State), Louis Jordan (he was too), and Shakespeare (he wasn't)...
In the past few years, the campout-several-day-long fests with multiple bands has taken off big-time, starting with Wakarusa, the Harvest festival and so forth.
Now, Wakarusa won't happen this year, but the several others will, and, while Waka certainly will be missed by thousands, there are quite a few more that should make up for it...
The first big one this year will be Byrdfest, happening on April 15 and 16. This is annual festival happens at Byrd's Adventure Center, north of Ozark on the Mulberry River.
On the bill are The Schwag, Clusterpluck, FreeVerse, Mountain Sprout, Stellar Wayz, and Phish, Sublime and Talking Heads tribute bands, and a lot more.
Byrd's Adventure Center is an 800 acre campground facility in the northwestern part of Arkansas. There are three miles of river frontage on the Mulberry River running through the property. The facility offers shaded camping, swimming, canoe float trips, restaurant, general store, electric sites, and live music. For this event there will also be merchandise and food vendors.
Call 479-667-4066 or visit byrdfest.com for details.
Creekfest will happen on May 26 through 29, and will be the biggest Creekfest ever. Featured acts this year will be Splitlip Rayfield, The 1 Oz. Jig, Arkansauce, Sad Daddy, Mudhawk, Magnolia Brown, Jeff Kearney's Call of Commotion, The Whole Famn Damily, Big Still River, The Hard Cider Boys, Brian Martin, Flockomotiv, Little Buffalo River Band, Jamie Lou & The Hullabaloo, Poor Ol' Uncle Fatty and more.
This festival will happen at the Twin Bridges on Big Piney Creek, a beautiful spot in the woods in the Ozark Mountains. It is presented by Moore Outdoors, a canoe-rental music facility on the Creek, just near Dover, Arkansas...
For information, please contact Moore Outdoors at 479-331-3606, or visit bigpineycreekfest.com for tickets, details, and directions.
Eureka Springs Blues Weekend happens June 16 through 18, and this year the lion's share of the festival will happen outside Eureka Springs at the breathtaking Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, which also offers camping for you folks who like to camp as part of your festival experience!! The whole town, too, will be the site of many blues shows during the weekend.
On the bill this year are Alvin Youngblood Hart's Muscle Theory, The Cate Brothers Band, Brick Fields, CeDell Davis, Damon Fowler, The Delgado Brothers, Divas On Fire, Earl & Them, Ethan Kuntz, George Hunt's Blues For Kids, Ghost Town Blues Band, Hadden Sayers, Isayah's All Stars, JD & The Mudhounds, Jimmy Wayne Garrett, John Calvin Brewer Band, Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal, Katy Guillen & The Girls, The Keith Nicholson Trio, The Norman Jackson Band, Ocie Fisher, Opal Agafia & The Sweet Nothings, Patrick Sweany, Trey Johnson & Jason Willmon and much more to be announced.
Alvin Youngblood Hart
Blues Weekend is a fundraiser for Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, along with several area charities. Turpentine Creek gives lifetime refuge to over 100 lions, tigers and bears, as well as other unwanted, abused or neglected exotic animals, while teaching that "Big Cats Don't Make Good Pets" to thousands of visitors and school children every year.
For more information call 479-253-7377 or visit eurekaspringsblues.com
The next big festival will be The Fort Smith Riverfont Blues Festival, happening June 24 and 25 at the Harry E. Kelly Park.
On the bill this year are Blues N Greens, The Eric Matthews Band, Mr. Sipp, Selwyn Birchwood, Fat Head, Colin Lake, Curtis Salgado, Gracie Curran, Toronzo Cannon and more.
Visit riverfrontbluesfest.org for more info
Next up on your festival itinerary will be the 7th annual Highberry Music Festival, that happens June 30 through July 3 at Mulberry Mountain. This is sort of a Wakarusa replacement show, and will feature Yonder Mountain String Band, Keller Williams, Papadosio, Buckethead, Dopapod, Wookiefoot, Tauk, Jeff Austin Band, Kung Fu, Desert Dwellers, Kaminanda, Cornmeal, Jon Wayne & The Pain, Forgotten Space, That 1 Guy, The Magic Beans, Dirtfoot, Aaron Kamm & The One Drops, David Gans, Steady Flow, Spoonfed Tribe, Greener Grounds, Chinese Connection Dub Embassy, Isayah's Allstars, Groovement, Henry & The Invisibles, Friends Of The Phamily, The 1 Oz. Jig, The Ozark Travelers, The Creek Rocks, Opal Agafia & The Sweet Nothings, Smar-T Jones, Brother Leadfeather and a lot more.
There will be vendors galore, and several days of musical camping and parties.
1 Oz. Jig
For further information please visit highberryfestival.com.
Coming up on July 21 through 23, is the Homegrown Music Festival at Byrd's Adventure Center.
On the bill are Leftover Salmon, The Wood Brothers, Town Mountain, Earphunk, Henhouse Prowlers, Taarka, Grandpa's Cough Medicine, Arkansauce (x 2), Tall Tall Trees, Forlorn Strangers, The Lowest Pair, Upstate Rubdown, The Squarshers, Grazzhopper, Big Still River, Outlaw Hippies, The Crumbs, Hog MacGundy, Ethan Bush, Kids Sets by Caleb Martin, and a bunch more.
For further information please visit homegrownfestival-ar.com.
Yet another festival was born big-time last year, and this year's show appears to be even bigger than the inaugural event. On July 29 and 30, the Peacemaker Music & Art Festival will happen at Harry E. Kelley Park in Fort Smith. This year's event will include Leon Russell, The Ben Miller Band, Cold War Kids, Turnpike Troubador, Blackberry Smoke, The Revivalists, Old 97s, American Aquarium and more.
This year's event is still in the planning stages, and more is being added daily.
For further information please visit peacemakerfest.com.
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