Favorite

Spa City shakedown 

Valley of the Vapors music festival returns.

0318a_elead-1.jpg

When Bill Solledor and Shea Childs, longtime partners and arbiters of Hot Springs' burgeoning arts scene, found themselves bored with their town's hackneyed musical offerings of cover bands and worn out country singers, a glint of inspiration turned into an impromptu burst of phone calls and e-mails.

“We were starved for original live music,” Childs remembers. “We knew our friend, Nora O'Connor, who sings with Neko Case and Andrew Bird, was coming through on her way to SXSW, so Bill's wheels started turning; he contacted all the booking agents he knew and, in three weeks, managed to pull off five nights of shows.”

And as simple as that, the Valley of the Vapors Festival was born. Now in its sixth year, the five-day miniature musical bazaar offers 40 bands, most down South for Austin's SXSW festival and all bringing music firmly grounded in the outskirts of normalcy.

Local acts like Mother Hug (7:15 p.m., Thursday, Low Key Arts), a rangy skronk outfit, play alongside Fang Island (8:30 p.m., Thursday, Low Key Arts), which just garnered a “Best New Music” badge from trendsetting website Pitchfork Media. Then there's The Chinese Stars (9:15 p.m., Thursday, Low Key Arts), a dance-noise coterie with a vast, bona fide cult following; Th' Legendary Shack Shakers (10:15 p.m., Thursday, Low Key Arts), a much in-demand group of psychotic Southern gothic Kentuckians; Uzuhi (9:15 p.m., Friday, Low Key Arts), a pop-punk act from Japan, and James Husband (10 p.m., Sunday, Low Key Arts), a synth-pop maestro and ex-Of Montreal member.

In spite of coverage from the aforementioned Pitchfork and its ilk, VOV retains the defiant, DIY spirit of its hometown with no plans on cashing in on its hush-hush, underground renown for a stab at expansive popularity.

“We aren't interested in ever becoming a giant festival,” says Childs. “We believe seeing a band on the rise at a 200-person capacity club like Low Key is much more powerful an experience for the crowd than a massive arena or outdoor fest where there's 100,000 trying to hear, much less see the band. There's something indescribably unifying about dancing with a relatively small group of people when you can reach out and touch the performers.”

However, their intent with the festival is far more than auditory. If VOV is, as it bills itself, “America's most humble rock festival,” thanks to Solledor and Childs, it may be the most big-hearted, to boot. VOV is a non-profit organization that operates year-long. “We see our expansion coming in the form of education: workshops about writing and recording music, how to book your own tour, how to publicize yourself,” Childs says. “We do this to inspire the kids in our town to create.”

Valley of the Vapors

Independent Music Festival
March 17-21
Low Key Arts Building and Maxine's, Hot Springs

$52 for a festival pass; most nightly shows are $5 at the door

Check Rock Candy for daily festival previews.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Tags:

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by John Tarpley

  • The Beatles anew

    Daniel Whelan's remixes expose hidden treasure in the Fab Four's catalog.
    • Aug 17, 2016
  • Walter was the worst

    But Steely Dan's Donald Fagen, the Danettes and Steve Winwood wow at Verizon Arena.
    • Jun 30, 2016
  • A new era for Riverfest

    In its 38th year, Little Rock's annual summer music festival reinvents itself.
    • Jun 2, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Executionpalooza

    Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
  • Art bull

    "God, I hate art," my late friend The Doctor used to say.
  • Not justice

    The strongest, most enduring calls for the death penalty come from those who feel deeply the moral righteousness of "eye-for-an-eye" justice, or retribution. From the depths of pain and the heights of moral offense comes the cry, "The suffering you cause is the suffering you shall receive!" From the true moral insight that punishment should fit the crime, cool logic concludes, "Killers should be killed." Yet I say: retribution yes; death penalty no.
  • Judge Griffen writes about morality, Christian values and executions

    Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who blogs at Justice is a verb!, sends along a new post this morning.
  • The Ledell Lee execution thread

    Arkansas Times contributor Jacob Rosenberg is at the Cummins Unit in Grady filing dispatches tonight in advance of the expected execution of Ledell Lee, who was sentenced to death for the Feb. 9, 1993, murder of Debra Reese, 26, who was beaten to death in the bedroom of her home in Jacksonville.

Latest in A&E Feature

Visit Arkansas

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Event Calendar

« »

April

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30  
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation