There are many music festivals in the US of A that are worth attending. In my opinion, though, no place else in this country can beat Mountain View, Arkansas. I first visited MVA in the spring of 1966. Four of us drove down from Chicago for what was called The Dogwood Festival but that was a while ago and that may not have been the actual name. We stayed at Jack's Fishing Camp on the White River. Of the four of us three were banjo players and the one who wasn't was a fisherman so it worked out pretty good. There was a rodeo and outdoor stage presentations and a concert at the high school in the Gymnasium. The MC was Jimmy Driftwood and even though it was just a short week-end we had a fantastic time. Every kind of Old Time music was being played there. I even saw an elderly woman play the Violin Uke! Banjos, fiddles, guitars, autoharps, mouth harps, jaw harps and celtic harps and washboards and washtub basses and stand-up basses and stand-up comics and cloggers and jiggers and even a few joggers, square and round dancers, mandolin players and banjoreen players and... Well you get the picture.
I went there again in the fall of 2010. We stayed in the Dry Creek lodge in the Folk Life Center state park. We went to breakfast at the park's Skillet Restaurant and went to concerts in the auditorium and stopped and listened to bands and small groups and individuals pickin' and singin' all through-out the park and then went into town!Every conceivable venue had 4 - 6- -8 a dozen musicians playing those same old time instruments. They now have a park where you can go and "pick" seemingly at any hour of the day or night!
They even constructed gazebo like pavilions for pickers and set up huge propane heaters to ward off the night chill. All through the "downtown" area people were gathered, playing, singing, and listening and dancing when so moved. I had to ask Nancy if she was certain I was still alive for the scene surely is my idea of heaven!
You are welcome to join in and I guarantee no matter what your taste in music is you'll find it there (well in old timey music and bluegrass, ya know). And this goes on all the time!
Often when something becomes so wildly popular it also get exploited to a fare thee well. I was stunned by the open and genuine friendliness of everyone! The Park costs $10 to ramble through detailed folk art exhibits and demonstrations. and it costs $10 to go to the evening concerts! and if you stay at the reasonably priced Dry Creek lodge you get $2 off those prices! And in town, which is only a short walk away, all the music, no matter who is playing is free! The local food is hearty and portions are generous and cheap. There is no booze in Stone County but that didn't matter to me, I was high on the experience!
Mountain View does have regularly scheduled festivals as well, about four or five I think but I'd rather visit as we did in 2010, just casually. Last fall we stayed with some friends from Texas at their time-share in Branson, a two and a half hour drive from Mountain View. We went to celebrate the Mountain View Bean Fest and watch the outhouse races. My friend James plays the spoons so he an I sat on a curbstone and I played and he "spooned" and drew a much appreciative crowd. The beans were good and again the music was great and the general atmosphere was downhome friendly.
I'm sure I've left something out and after all I'm no travel reporter but I have to say that if there is ever a chance you can get to Mountain View Arkansas, week-end or no, festival or no just GO!
Wednesday, January 25, 2012 @3:29:25 PM
The way you describe this place & event has me mind, body & soul salivating!.. :0)
Friday, January 27, 2012 @4:14:36 PM
I have been to Mountain View many times and always find it a Good Time. Music starts on Thursday at around 7:00 pm and Fri, Sat, and Sun also. Some of the RV parks have pickin' sheds. They only have one music store now but it is an oldtime music store with lots of old and new instruments. Give it a try. G.C.
Tom Meisenheimer Says:
Saturday, January 28, 2012 @8:59:00 AM
I have been a "customer" of that Music Store and I have to say it is the best store of it's kind that I have ever patronized. I put quotes around customer because I felt that my status was 'old friend'. I have bought a few items there and played any banjo or mandolin I took a fancy to. I have yet to buy an instrument from them but that is only because I haven't found one that really grabbed me that I could afford. I don't know the names of the husband and wife who run the store and, to tell the truth I don't even remember the name of the store! They will take whatever time with you that you need and even in the midst of a rush like the Bean Fest they pay attention and deliver! They have picking on their porch and have a couple of tall heating things (?) that use wood and are very nice when it gets chilly. The next time I'm there I will attempt a video, providing it is OK with those I record.
I'm glad you share my enthusiasm, Mountain View is about a five hour drive from my home in Missouri, 279 miles from Nancy's farm, most down MO state highway 19. If it wasn't for the gas prices I'd be there a whole lot more.
Saturday, January 28, 2012 @1:18:55 PM
i look forward to the video Tom.. cheers mate!:0)
Saturday, January 28, 2012 @3:14:46 PM
Thanks for sharing that Tom. Sounds like oldtime heaven, so good to know that oldtime music still has such a strong following your part of the world.
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