Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
RHONDA VINCENT AND THE RAGE
7:30 p.m., Reynolds Performance Hall. $30-$32.
Rhonda Vincent's only 46 — and lookin' good, too — but she's been playing music professionally longer than peers 10 to 15 years older. Born in Kirksville, Mo., she got her start at the age of 6, playing drums in her family band, the Sally Mountain Show. (She learned the mandolin and fiddle before she was 11.) But it was appearing on TNN's “You Can be a Star” that led her to solo fame, first singing with Opry star Jim Ed Brown, then recording contemporary country albums, with Giant Records and Warner Bros. But traditional music came calling, and she moved to Rounder in 2000 and starting cutting bluegrass albums again, eventually putting together a backing band, the Rage. In June, she'll release “Destination Life,” her 25th album. Over the years she's successfully managed to blend contemporary and neo-traditionalist country with traditional bluegrass in a way that doesn't alienate the purists. In fact, with her strong bright voice and skill with the mandolin, she's widely recognized as the queen of bluegrass. LM.
TOAD SUCK DAZE
5:15 p.m., Downtown Conway. Free.
Conway's annual family celebration of drunken riverboat crews — who long ago would stop at a tavern outside of town, where they'd “suck on the bottle” until they swelled “up like toads” — returns this year with all the hallmarks we've come to expect from modern Toad Suck Daze. A three-on-three basketball tournament. A carnival. Idiots depriving themselves of sleep to win a truck by constantly keeping a hand on it. A climbing wall. A petting zoo. A 5K and 10K. Clowns. Magicians. A “balloon man.” And, of course, by far the highlight, the intensely competitive toad races. In the evening on Friday and all day on Saturday and Sunday, there's music on two stages. On Friday, at 9 p.m., contemporary country quartet Little Big Town, featuring Arkansans Phil Sweet and Jimi Westbrook, headlines at Simon Park. Saturday, the park hosts sacred steel guitar powerhouse Robert Randolph and his Family Band, 9:30 p.m. And Sunday, Jars of Clay brings its Christian acoustic pop to the stage at 3:30 p.m. Get a complete schedule at toadsuck.org. LM.
‘THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS'
7 p.m., Arkansas Arts Center. $11-$14.
In its final production of the season, the Arkansas Arts Center's Children's Theatre takes on a stage adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's children's classic. It's a fitting time for a story dedicated, in part, to “simply messing about in boats” and picnicking and lazing along the riverbank. At least, that's Ratty, Badger and Mole's idea of a good time. But then the irascible Mr. Toad comes onto the scene. His obsession with speedy modes of transportation runs in direct proportion to his ineptness as a driver. Look out for crashes and clashes and a standoff, between Mr. Toad and his friends and the stoats and weasels who try to take over Toad Hall. The play runs through May 17. LM.
8 p.m., Peabody Little Rock. $5.
Even though the Rivertop Party, the Peabody Hotel's weekly spring and summertime get down, officially kicked off last week, consider this Friday's edition the grand opening. For starters, local boutique Barbara/Jean and Anue Salon are collaborating to put on a fashion show. Then there's music from Alabama's the Ugli Stick, who've long been semi-regular performers in Central Arkansas. Since forming in 2000, the band's toured hard throughout the southeast behind a sound that borrows equally from pop, funk, rock and hip-hop. LM.
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