Border Cantos is a timely, new and free exhibit now on view at Crystal Bridges.
Along with all the marquee acts like Snoop, Skynyrd, B.o.B. and Boyz II Men, Riverfest features a boatload of great indie label up-and-comers and local standouts. The Stickyz Music Tent will host quite a few of these performances (as well as providing a place to step out of the sun and the swarm of fest-goers), but the Miller Lite and Bud Light stages boast their share of Arkansas talent as well. Here's the lowdown.
The Stickyz Music Tent's local-heavy lineup kicks off at 6:15 p.m., with The Alpha Ray. The band members (Bryan Frazier, Jonathan Teague, Chris Avakian and David Stone) have played in various other outfits, including Landrest, Flameing Daeth Fearies, The Many Persian Z's and others. Their debut — due out this fall on Thick Syrup — is currently being mixed by Posies co-founder Ken Stringfellow. While the term "supergroup" is admittedly kinda dorky, it's a fitting description for Amasa Hines, which includes members of Velvet Kente, Romany Rye and saxophonist Norman Williamson. The band's got an album in the works, and if the one track they've released so far — the smoldering "Earth and Sky" — is any indication, it'll be the total jam. They play the music tent at 7:15 p.m. Up next at 8:30 p.m. are the local carriers of the guitar rock torch, The See, whose excellent long-player, "Pretending and Ending," was just released. Headlining at 10 p.m. in the tent is Sleeper Agent, an infectiously catchy garage rock act out of Bowling Green, Ky.
Over on the Bud Light Stage (at the Clinton Presidential Center), Weakness for Blondes opens for Gov't Mule and Staind. The Arkansas jam-band specializes in Dead-style rock and takes to the stage at 6:15 p.m. Starting at 6:45 over on the Miller Lite Stage (a.k.a. the Riverfest Amphitheatre), Little Rock emo-pop act School Boy Humor opens for Neon Trees and Boyz II Men.
Long about noon, Benton-based Red Dirt country specialists Dry County take to the Miller Lite Stage, followed by the nothing-is-sacred theatrical psych-country of The Frontier Circus at 1:15 p.m. About 2:45 p.m. on the Miller Lite Stage, The Good Time Ramblers bring the rock ruckus, followed by blues-bustin' power trio of Michael Shipp at 4:15 p.m. and the "Southern Fried Psychedelic Rock 'n' Roll" of Jonesboro's Starroy at 5:45 p.m. By about 7:15 p.m., Dallas rockers Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights bring the Black Crowes-esque swagger, followed by headliners Lynyrd Skynyrd.
On the Bud Light Stage, the music kicks off at 1 p.m. with the upbeat pop-punk of Belair, followed by the radio-ready alt-rock sounds of Fayetteville's Amsterdam at 2 p.m. By 3:15 p.m., you'd probably better have your dancing shoes on for 2012 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase winner The Holy Shakes. The Hot Springs quartet combines the angular guitar mangling of Drive Like Jehu with the rock bombast of The Who. The band's debut, "Feast of Famine," is out now. At 4:30 p.m., Fayetteville's shaggy rock 'n' roll swaggerer Benjamin Del Shreve lets it all hang out, followed by headliners MuteMath, Chevelle and Third Eye Blind.
The Stickyz tent has Brown Soul Shoes getting things rolling at 1 p.m. with a set of rock, soul and R&B originals and covers that span the decades. Up next is blues-guitar wunderkind Stephen Neeper at 2:15 p.m., followed by long-running bluegrass favorites Runaway Planet at 3:30 p.m. At 5 p.m., "Ameriparty" outfit The Blue Party bring the goodtime vibes, followed at 6:30 p.m. by jam band/hip-hop hybrid Cadillac Jackson. Starting at 8 p.m., get a helping of southern Louisiana spice, with Dikki Du & The Zydeco Krewe, followed by the impeccable jazz stylings of Rodney Block & The Real Music Lovers at 9:30 p.m.
Riverfest's Sunday lineup waits until after church is out to get rolling, with 19-year-old country artist Luke Williams taking to the Miller Lite Stage at 1:30 p.m., followed by Russellville country act Jason Campbell and Singletree at 2:30 p.m. About 3:45 p.m., Little Rock's Mandy McBryde will bring the rootsy, country-tinged pop to the stage, followed by the haunting folk sounds of singer/songwriter Adam Faucett at 5 p.m. At 6:15, The Cadillac Black is scheduled to play, followed by Little Big Town and Joe Walsh.
The music gets pumping at about 2 p.m. on the Bud Light Stage, with the standout roots/Americana rock of War Chief, followed by the folk-informed indie rock of This Holy House at 3 p.m. Discordant modern rockers Year of the Tiger take the stage at about 4:15 p.m., followed by the balls-out classic rock bombast of Se7en Sharp at 5:30 p.m. and the electro/rap/rock of EKG at 6:45 p.m.
The Stickyz Music Tent starts the day off at 2 p.m. with the raucous country rock of Swampbird, then takes a jam-band turn with the virtuosic Interstate Buffalo at 3:15 p.m. and the Dead tribute masters Touch at 4:30 p.m. At 6:15 p.m., the blues/jam shred-meisters in Joey Farr & The Fuggins Wheat Band bring down the house (or tent, in this case). At 7:45 p.m., the mood shifts in a decidedly electro direction, with Zoogma, followed by a set from tireless local DJ Durden at 9 p.m. and self-described "electro soul" from festival closer Archnemesis at 9:45 p.m.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misidentified one of the members of The Alpha Ray.