Back to Your ‘Roots Festival’

The beauty is Roots deep. Poetic fusion.

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Culinary magicians competing for “high-south cuisine” bragging rights coupled with life changing musicians moving mountains, in diversified venues throughout the cultural epicenter of the Ozark Mountains.

To coin Fayetteville Roots Festival is like describing God, with human features, no justice. The experience is a life event, moving, tasteful, and creative.

Collaboration of art decision makers in Northwest Arkansas have stretched ‘Roots’ geographically, further bleeding melting pots of diversified cultural interest in the festival. It’s like a fondue of good vibes.

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Crystal Bridges kicks off the 5 day artistic revival, hosting 3 bands, in the aesthetically mind-blowing venue, nestled conveniently in the north hills of Bentonville, AR. Oddly, you can ride your bike from Fayetteville’s Dixon Street to Crystal Bridges and never touch a road, or dirt; thanks to the Razorback Greenway…it’s a breathtaking scenic tour of about 40 miles…one way.

Thursday, true to it’s roots, Garner Farm Homestead will host, VIP, some of the best musical talent in the world, featuring the Wood Brothers. Enough said.

Friday through Sunday are all-day affairs – gorgeous, orgasmic, feel good entertainment. Roots Fest has become well-known, nationally. A gathering of the ‘who’s who’ — best-of-the-best, from those listening, dancing, and playing, in intimate Ozark venues.

Iron and Wine, The Wood Brothers, John Paul White, Smokey and the Mirror, Blind Boy Paxton, The Honey Dewdrops, Nick Offerman, Dead Man Winter, Elephant Rival, a mere drop in the bucket of talent for this year’s Root’s Festival.

It’s mind-boggling what’s going on here. If it’s not obvious, by now, tickets are difficult to come by, so leverage your peeps and dig deep, because you can’t put a price on the journey of life, and this is it.

Community, defined. Being mindful, not everyone can afford this mega event, 40% of everything happening at Roots is free. Check out the Fayetteville Library for ongoing Roots entertainment, or the late night venues including ‘spiritual’ Nederland, CO based jam artist Elephant Revival and hometown favorites Arkansauce.

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But, if you’re going to do it, might as well stay up late-night, with Maxine’s Tap Room and Kingfish Dive Bar. Epic is an understatement, life changing better aligns to Fayetteville Roots Festival. Intimate, urban, music and food take place in one of the best small cities in the world.

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Eureka Springs Blues Weekend. (June 15-17)

eureka bluesSupport Local. Eureka Springs Blues Weekend, June15th – 18th, 2017 (proceeds benefit Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge and other local business.)

Northwest Arkansas Bohemian baby doll, Eureka Springs will be home for the who’s who of blues music June 15th -18th. Grammy®-award-winning Blues acts from all over America and around the world are featured alongside Blues Hall of Fame members, local, and regional talent.

Eureka’s Blues Weekend is most famous for introducing new artist to the scene, like Sean Carney, Trampled Under Foot, Lionel Young and Selwyn Birchwood, all winners of the International Blues Challenge who have gone on to play all around the world.

Turpentine Creek, a refuge for big cats and other abused wildlife will benefit from proceeds of Blue’s Weekend, as will other local non-profits. Turpentine will also serve as a prime venue for a plethora of music. Located 7 miles from downtown Eureka Springs, Turpentines Creek (239 Turpentine Creek Lane, Eureka Springs, AR) is nestled high in the Ozarks. Already abounding with multitudes of aesthetics – from the deep purring and roars of big cats to vista views of rolling Ozark hills; this coupled with a family friendly venue of star studded Blue’s performances makes Turpentine Creek a must stop venue. (All day Saturday and Sunday)

Victor Wainwright is returning to Blue’s Weekend for the first time since 2013, when his band, The Wildroots played to a full house at the Barefoot Ballroom. Tickets will be hard to come by, Friday, June 16th at Basin Park Hotel Barefoot Ballroom, but included with VIP passes (a few still available.) Wainwright has been nominated for five Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year Awards, winning twice. In 2016 The Wildroots won the Blues Music Award for Band of the Year, and Wainwright won the most prestigious award in the Blues genre, the BB King Entertainer of the Year. The Wildroots will play back-to-back shows at 8PM and 10PM.

Scott Ellison Trio will kick off Blue’s Weekend at Chelsea’s Corner, Thursday, June 15th, 9PM. The trio is no stranger to weeping guitars, having opened for both Buddy Guy and BB King.

Eric Gales picked up his first blues guitar in Memphis at the age of 4. Gales has recorded 18 albums and performed with Carols Santana at Woodstock 94’. He’ll play Friday, June 16th at 5PM at Basin Spring Park.

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If you like the funky, soul side of the blues visit Chelsea’s Corner, 6PM for Josh Hoyer and Should Colossal. Their live show is magic and will be followed by Patrick Sweany’s delightful multi groove of mandolin, blues, and soul.

Saturday is a full day of Blues. Tom Baker’s blues harmonica for kids will start the day at Turpentine Creek at 1PM. Nick Schnebelen Band will follow. Nick’s first Eureka Springs Blues Weekend was a decade ago with his family band. Fiona Boyd and Toronzo Cannon will finish the day at Turpentine.

Downtown Eureka will be rockin’ the blues all day long Saturday and Sunday with music at Chelsea’s, Event Eureka, Basin Park Hotel, and Turpentine Creek. The event finally will be Sunday at Turpentine Creek with an all star jamboree for all musicians participating at Eureka Springs Blues Weekend. This will be a special weekend in Eureka Springs.

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charles kochel has been writing about the blues lately.

Blues on The Hill (May 23rd)

At the point of climax, in every great Blues riff, lies enlightenment.

Big guys and gals releasing hounds from plantation porches in North Mississippi and hard-knock guitars and harmonicas in the Arkansas Delta are the source of the Blues.

Stories like, “She’s got the Devil in Her.” Featuring Arkansas Delta’s, Jimbo Mathus on guitar, Buddy Guy sings about a woman who has the devil in her and feels like doing something wrong. It’s low down, dirty, and you feel rhythm deep in your soul.

Chicago’s blues scene may not be the birthplace of the heart-aching, soul-wrenching, dirty, nasty blues (this is the Delta), but to say Chicago Blues refined the genre’ into a widespread more cultivated art form is an understatement. Chicago was the destination point for the best blues musicians on Earth to showcase their talent.

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Hound Dog Taylor, Lefty Dizz, and James Cotton in front of the Checkerboard Lounge, 43rd St., Chicago
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Tim Duffy spent 20 years amassing photographs of blues and roots musicians.

It’s natural to digress, when delving deep into the blues. Chicago’s Southside, former landmark, The Checkerboard Lounge (owned by Buddy Guy) used to anchor juke-joint laden neighborhoods. Now, he owns Legends, one of the best music venues in all the land.

Follow highway 55 South to the back streets and alleys of St. Louis. There is The Fox Theatre and Blueberry Hill. Music consistent Springfield, Missouri and a double-double in Tulsa – Cain’s Ballroom and Mercury Lounge are all destinations on this historical blues highway tour chalking maps vertically.

At the peak of all things good, a gem in Northwest Arkansas. Fayetteville’s Walton Arts Center presents, “An Evening with Buddy Guy” Tuesday, May 23rd at 7pm.

Buddy Guy is the epicenter of Chicago Blues and the best guitarist alive today. Seven-time Grammy winner and 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Buddy Guy, age 79, is an icon. He’s a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and a major influence on important guitar greats like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. His legendary electric blues performances in Chicago’s West Side will live forever.

To compliment your evening try a pre-concert dinner at Herman’s Rib House in North Fayetteville, stroll Dickson for a bit before the show and catch a band at famed Maxine’s Tap Room for a night cap.