2018 – 2nd Stage


The Old Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival will celebrate its 24th year Friday and Saturday, June 1 and 2, and performers for the 2nd Stage have been confirmed. The two-day annual event in downtown West Plains, Mo., celebrates Ozarks music and culture.  Admission to all festival events is free. Festival hours are 3-9 p.m. Friday and noon-9 p.m. Saturday.

2nd Stage performances will take place on the outside stage on the East lawn of the West Plains Civic Center from 3-6 p.m. both days.  Performance times are as listed below


SOYO 2017Youth Showcase – Friday, 3-4 p.m.

Fiddlers from the Southern Ozarks Youth Orchestra will showcase their old-time music skills. Simple gifts, Ashoken Farewell, Peekaboo Waltz, and Arkansas Traveler will be among their offerings. Begun in 2013, Director Danyal Sallee says, “I started the orchestra so my students would have a place to play different types of music and learn to work together as a group.  The Southern Ozarks Youth Orchestra has two concerts every year; one in the fall and one in the spring.  The kids do orchestral works and perform in chamber music settings doing duets, trios, and quartets.  In addition, SOYO performed the pre-concert music for the Springfield Symphony in May.  I teach some fiddle tunes so the students can be exposed to all types of music and continue the heritage of the Ozarks. In our May 20 concert SOYO debuted the world premiere of “Beyond Time,” a piece that was written specifically for the Southern Ozarks Youth Orchestra by composer Ryan Cockerham.”


Open Mic – Friday, 4-5 p.m.

Musicians are encouraged to take the stage and share their old-time or other traditional music; or newer music in an old-time style.


2008 Festival - Fiddler's Frolic


Fiddlers’ Frolic – Friday, 5 p.m.

Fiddlers, other instrumentalists and those who like to listen to good, toe-tapping fiddle music are invited to the Fiddlers’ Frolic. This year’s event will be led by fiddle historian and fiddler Howard Marshall. For more than four decades, Howard Marshall has been devoted to conserving, studying, and carrying on traditional fiddle music. A member of a pioneer Randolph County family and a retired University of Missouri professor of art history, Marshall has played fiddle since the late 1960s. He notes that there has been a fiddler in every generation of his family since at least 1830.

An annual component of the festival, the Fiddlers Frolic gives participating fiddlers an opportunity to select and lead tunes in an open jam session.  It focuses principally on traditional fiddling found in this region, but traditional is defined broadly and flexibly, and fiddlers of all backgrounds, stylistic orientations and skill levels are welcome to participate.

“It’s always enjoyable and really fascinating to hear the participating fiddlers exchange tunes and compare notes, in multiple senses of the word,” Meacham said.  “We know that there will be folks on hand who are very knowledgeable about the history of fiddling in this part of the country and will provide interesting commentary on many of the tunes that will be played.”

One of the goals of the Fiddlers Frolic is to help conserve and perpetuate old-time tunes and techniques.  As a result, it tends to emphasize traditional fiddling, but traditions are always evolving, and the group doesn’t want to define tradition in an artificially rigid way, so fiddlers of all kinds are strongly encouraged to join in. And, of course, we’ll need banjoists, guitarists and other instrumentalists to provide accompaniment.  Everyone’s welcome.


Cash & Stewart


Cash & Stewart – Saturday, noon-1 p.m.

Rod Cash and Lowell Alan Stewart are a banjo and guitar duo that offer traditional hard-driving, toe-tapping Bluegrass and old-time music along with favorites of Gospel and Folk. A blended style that leaves you wanting more and always a fun time with plenty of picking and singing. Lowell and Rod have been on many gigs, have picked around in Nashville, and played a memorable gig for the Governor of Arkansas last summer. A Bluegrass stringed duo that that picks to please.


Ryd West


Ryd West – Saturday, 1-2 p.m.

Ryd West is Larry and Shane Utley, a father and son duo that have performed together for twenty plus years. They are natives of Pemiscot County Missouri and are comfortable with roots music referred to as “Americana” these days. Their music combines rockabilly from the fifties with blues standards and folk music from the heartland.


Local Connection 2018


Local Connection – Saturday, 2-3 p.m.

The band members, all born and raised in the Ozark hills, have been playing traditional old-time music for 35 years. “It’s always been a part of our life, and we’re no strangers to the good old-time acoustic music.”


Country Express 2018


Country Express – Saturday, 3-4 p.m.

Formed from an original five-piece band in the 1980’s, this trio carries on the traditions for those who came before them. Dance music abounds in their performance, and the group performs in the area most weekends. Mike Coldiron on lead guitar and vocals, Shorty Martin from Dora on bass, and Tom Bowers from Caulfield on drums will have you on your feet.


2015.FestivalPhoto.Matt Meacham


Matt Meacham & Friends – Saturday, 4-5 p.m.

Matt Meacham started trying to play the guitar 34 years ago, at age seven, and is still trying today.  He says that he’ll leave it to this year’s Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival audience to decide whether he’s succeeding when he appears on stage..

From 2007 through 2011, Matt lived in West Plains, where he worked as a folklorist with the West Plains Council on the Arts and taught classes at Missouri State University-West Plains.  Now a program manager with Illinois Humanities in Edwardsville, Matt eagerly looks forward to returning to the Ozarks for the festival.  “It’s always a joy to visit West Plains and see so many good friends who’ve taught me a lot,” Matt remarked.

Matt’s early musical influences include relatives on his father’s side of the family, the Juhls, from whom he began learning bluegrass and traditional country music in rural southern Illinois.  The Juhls performed at the 2014 Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival.  One of their original songs, “Memories of the Ozarks,” appears as “Ozark Mountains” on Still Standing, an album by Missouri Ozarks-based Blackberry Winter Band.

Roberta and Gary Gordon of Sparta, Illinois, who appeared at the 2010 festival, were also among Matt’s early musical mentors. Matt also has a longstanding interest in church music traditions of the rural Midwest and South, including the German Lutheran chorale tradition and the shape-note singing of Primitive Baptists.

A graduate of Centre College in Kentucky, Matt studied musicology and folklore at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.  Before coming to West Plains, he conducted a study of traditional musical activity in southern West Virginia for the West Virginia Humanities Council.

While living in the Missouri Ozarks, Matt played and sang with many of the traditional musicians in and around West Plains. “It was a real honor and a pleasure to learn from so many talented, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic musicians,” he commented.  “This region has a wealth of thriving cultural traditions.”

After living in Chicago for four and a half years while working in Illinois Humanities’ main office, he moved to Edwardsville, just northeast of St. Louis, last summer and now works from the organization’s new southwestern Illinois office.  Since returning to southwestern Illinois, he has been performing locally and participating in jam sessions.

Additionally, he has done some songwriting in recent years.  Several of his original compositions refer to places in or near the Ozarks.  “I might sing some of them if the audience will promise not to throw any rotten tomatoes,” said Matt.

Although Matt has not yet made any commercial recordings, he and his friend and fellow musician Travis Stimeling made an album of informal “demo” recordings entitled Mountain Clay & Prairie Sod in 2011.  Festival attendees will be able to obtain copies of Mountain Clay & Prairie Sod in exchange for donations of $15 or more to the West Plains Council on the Arts.

Some of Matt’s music is available on his SoundCloud page: https://soundcloud.com/user-468893105.  His Facebook link is https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2714253.

Open Mic – Saturday 5-6 p.m.

Musicians are encouraged to take the stage and share their old-time or other traditional music; or newer music in an old-time style.

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