New acts, old favorites will take main stage at Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival
WEST PLAINS, Mo. – Several new acts will join a list of crowd-pleasing favorites on the main performance stage at the 20th annual Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival, a two-day celebration of Ozarks culture set for June 20 and 21 in downtown West Plains, Mo.
The event, which also features a cooking stage, mule jump competition, turkey calling competition, quilt show and a host of artisans displaying their homemade wares, will take place in and around the West Plains Civic Center at 110 St. Louis St. and along East Main Street. Admission is free.
“The attraction of the main stage performers is that audiences have the opportunity to hear musicians who are from this region celebrate the music of the region,” said Emily Gibson, a member of the festival committee. “The main stage presents a great mix of performers who are working to leave their mark on the genre of old-time music and keep the tradition alive. Audiences young and old will find something to enjoy from each act on the main stage as the festival continues to get bigger and better each year.”
• Colin Elmore & The Danville Train (noon to 2 p.m. June 20) – Rooted in gospel music at an early age by his musical family, this West Plains native has fused his past with the flavor of rock-n-roll and bluegrass to create a unique sound that stays true to the tradional sounds of the region and moves it forward, enticing a new and younger generation of fans to the fold. He began writing original songs with deeply personal lyrics at age 16 and and later earned a significant fan base as a member of alternative rock band Berch in Springfield. After building his resumé performing with The Franz Family and as a solo act, he has now joined forces with The Danville Train in Nashville, Tenn.
• The Juhl Family and Friends ( 2 to 3 p.m. June 20; 5 to 6 p.m. June 21) – Southern Illinois residents Marv, Bob and Joe Juhl have been performing old-time music with a variety of other musicians since the 1980s, when they first formed the Beaucoup Bottom Boys and recorded the album Comin’ Out. Although the Beaucoup Bottom Boys officially disbanded in the mid 1980s, the Juhls have continued to take their brand of old-time, bluegrass, country and gospel music to the masses with a host of their fellow musicians.
• Emily Dowden Estes (3 to 4 p.m. June 20) – A musician, singer and songwriter, Emily developed her skills in the Missouri Ozarks where she was raised. At 16, she moved with her sisters to Mtn. View, Ark., to pursue a growing musical career at the Ozark Folk Center, where they were employed. Eventually, the girls landed in Asheville, N.C., where Emily toured over a decade with her family band, The Dowden Sisters, at music festivals and concerts across the country. She has since moved back to Springfield and former her own band, Emily Dowden Band, and will release her first solo project this summer.
• South Wynns (4 to 5 p.m. June 20) – Founded 17 years ago by master mandolin and banjo builder John Wynn, son Barry and other members of the family now carry on the group’s tradition of performing bluegrass and country music.
• Deep Fried Squirrel (5 to 6 p.m. June 20) – Founded five years ago, this group from the Ozarks Plateau blends bluegrass music and instrumentation with influences from the vast spectrum of musical genres. This tight-knit string band is ready to throw down some foot-stomping acoustic jams to anyone willing to lend an ear.
• The Colbert Brothers (noon to 1 p.m. June 21) – Old-time music has been a long-time family tradition for brothers Van, Vernon and John, all of whom hail from Willow Springs. “Mom and Dad instilled in us the love of their music, and to this day we play, sing and remember,” said Van, who is known for his unique “two-finger” roll style on the banjo. Joining them this year will be brother John of Wichita, Kan.
• The Faretheewells (1 to 2 p.m. June 21) – Finding their musical niche at the root, The Faretheewells blend indie, folk, rock, country and bluegrass with a double shot of energy to create an eclectic concoction for the ears. The four-piece family band is made up of three siblings and one of the sibling’s spouse who have created a sound that has been “aged in a whiskey barrel, laced with honey and then set on fire.”
• Stringfield (3 to 4 p.m. June 21) – This unique band based in Springfield offers a repertoire as vast as the many musical genres known to man, but they are known for having captured the history and beauty of the hammered dulcimer in their performances.
• Josh Jennings Band (4 to 5 p.m. June 21) – Josh Jennings has been writing and recording music over 15 years. His pieces range from tragic love songs to ironies of everyday life, and it’s apparent a little blood, sweat and tears go into every song.
Joining these groups on the main stage will be the festival’s headliners, award-winning buck dancer Thomas Maupin and his grandson, Daniel Rothwell, at 6 p.m. June 20; Grammy Award-winning group The New Christy Minstrels, under the direction of Randy Sparks, at 8 p.m. June 20; area favorites The River Girls of The Rhodes Family at 6 p.m. June 21; and multi-talented sister act SHEL at 8 p.m. June 21.
The Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival is the signature event for West Plains. The two-day festival seeks to celebrate, preserve, pass on and nurture an appreciation of the old-time music and folk life traditions distinctive to the Ozark Highlands.
Major sponsors include the West Plains Council on the Arts, the City of West Plains, the Ozark Heritage Welcome Center, West Plains Civic Center and Missouri State University-West Plains. Partial funding for this event was provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.