Arkansas Music Festivals

Arkansas has long been associated with good music. The list of musicians born in Arkansas includes Johnny Cash, Glenn Campbell, Iris DeMent, Levon Helm, Al Green, Twila Paris, Conway Twitty and Kris Allen. We also see our fair share of music festivals each year scheduled throughout the state. The great thing about the little list we’ve put together is that they are not only perfect opportunities to experience some great music with friends – they also take place out in the fresh air.

Wakarusa is the largest music festival in the Northwest part of the state. It takes over a the top of Mulberry Mountain near Ozark, Arkansas each year. 2013 will mark its 10th year (the first five were spent in Kansas), and the lineup just keeps getting better. 110 bands hit the stages in 2012, with several popular alternative and folk-rock acts headlining.

The same organizers who are behind Wakarusa also put together the Harvest Festival, which put together a terrific collection of musical acts in October on the same stages. They are also planning a country music festival called Thunder on the Mountain — click through for all the details to date. There are campsites available at Mulberry Mountain that can be reserved right next to the stage area. There are also plenty of campgrounds along the Buffalo River available if you’d like to get away from the crowd a bit to sleep.

Arkansas Sounds is a new music festival that is put together by the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, a department of the Central Arkansas Library System. It focuses on Arkansas music and musicians, and it’s a free event that only asks for donations. The 2012 location was along the riverfront in Little Rock.

The Hope Bluegrass Festival happens three times a year (because who can get enough bluegrass??). It features national, regional and local bluegrass offerings, and happens in February, May and November. 2012 was its 16th year. Hope is situated in the Ouachita Mountains near Hot Springs, and offers a great selection of private and public campgrounds to choose from.

Planning to make one or more of these festivals in 2013? Give your traveling companion (and yourself!) some great new camping gear for Christmas, and you’ll be ready to enjoy next year’s festivals in style.

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