Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned
Slowly but surely, the Harvest Music Festival has evolved into the fall edition of Wakarusa. Maybe the flavor's a little folkier in the fall, but the gist is the same: mountain camping, music, hippies. Among the line-up this year, Yonder Mountain String Band is probably the biggest deal. In fact, the experimental bluegrass foursome is the official sponsor of the festival — the official name is Yonder Mountain String Band's Harvest Music Festival. Other names who're big in the jam community and describe themselves as "genre defying" and "improvisational": Leftover Salmon, Keller Williams & the Kells, Railroad Earth and Sam Bush. Those and other acts will be spread out across four entertainment areas, including my favorite, the Nomadic Dreams Village, which hosts sessions on yoga, glass blowing and "didgeridoo healing meditation." The festival continues into the wee hours of Saturday. Full schedule and more info at yonderharvestfestival.com. LM.
Just four more days to gorge yourself on funnel cakes and dangerous looking rides at the fer! When should you go? Well, if you're a lady, 18 or older, gate admission is free on Thursday, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. If you're still in K-12th grade, Friday, after 1 p.m., the gate is only $3. If you're a fan of golden-locked former "American Idol" country stars, Bucky Covington, joined by rising country star Easton Corbin, takes the Wendy's Main Stage on Thursday at 7 p.m. Or if you're a fan of Canadian classic rock and know the words to "Hot Girls in Love," Loverboy closes out the main stage schedule at 8 p.m. Friday. But more than anything else, you're gonna want to go to Ridin' in the Rock, the two-night PBR Professional Bull Riders Tour stop at the fair at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights in Barton Coliseum. Tickets range from $10 to $25 and, if purchased in advance via Ticketmaster, include gate admission. Of course, no matter when you go, deep-fried cream cheese and bacon on a stick will be waiting for you. LM.
This Portland, Ore., outfit has spent the better part of a decade making waves in indie-loving circles by mixing a heady, harmonic brand of folk-country with prog-y, pop sensibilities. The group was pushed into the "next big thing" batter's box after receiving near-universal praise in 2007 with "Wild Mountain Nation," an album so recklessly eclectic it nudged towards all-out schizophrenia. Since, Blitzen Trapper has followed the same anti-formula, rubbing heavy bass licks into the grooves of their Eagles records and eluding listeners' natural instincts since. The outfit is supported by long-time folkies Fruit Bats and the left-field bedroom pop of Pearly Gate Music. JT.
Wildwood's annual autumnal festival returns this weekend with all its usual hallmarks: hayrides, crafts and activities for kids, food, music and beer. But, of course, the highlight for all events at Wildwood, at least for us grown folks, remains Wildwood itself. The leaves in the 100-acre park should be thinking about turning and, while the weather might not exactly feel fall-ish, who's not ready to escape the summer's oppressive heat and trounce around in the woods? The forecasted 80-degree temps for this weekend might not exactly be the respite we were hoping for, but we'll make do. More reasons to go: On Saturday, from noon to around 5 p.m., the Arkansas Pickin' and Fiddlin' Championship is going on, with contestants young and old battling it out on banjo, fiddle and mandolin. Following the concert, Grammy-winning progressive bluegrass outfit Mountain Heart gives a concert in Wildwood's Lucy Lockett Cabe Festival Theatre at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for kids 12 and under and $25 for everyone else. Sunday, the festival continues from noon until 6 p.m. LM.
• HALLOWEEN SPOOKFEST
8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $16-$65.