Third Weekend in April, Arkansas Folk Festival, Mountain View Arkansas

19, 20, and 21 of April 2013 will be the 51st Annual Arkansas Folk Festival in Mountain View Arkansas.  It started in 1963.  Arkansas State Parks has it listed as the 50th Annual event but that was last year.  Music, specifically folk music, is the specialty during this festival.  Here is a link to ASParks:

1963 is year one, and 1969 is year seven.

1970-1979, ten years

1980-1989, ten years

1990-1999, ten years

2000-2009, ten years

2010-2013, is four years

So simple, back woods, Arkansas Rackensack Math says:  7+10+10+10+10+4=

51 YEARS!  Yea!

Free admission to the Ozark Folk Center:


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50th Annual – Arkansas Folk Festival – at Mountain View

Sounds of Mountain View, Ashley playing Soldier’s Joy

Ashley Hull playing Black Mountain Rag

Lonnie’s Breakdown

The Festival is April 20-22, third weekend of April, everyone knows that!

Blurb from National Geographic on Mtn. View.

Fifty Years, this year, cool isn’t it?  First festival in the area was over at Blanchard Springs 1941, it obviously spawned the festival at Mountain View.  Nothing wrong with that, more convenient too.

Ozark Folk Center is free for this weekend, check that, but it was last year, 2011.  bd, yep, still free. 10 to 5 what a deal.

Ozark Folk Center free admission, click here.

My nephew Cole and I floated the White river year before last.  We took the canoe again last year, but he had homework and it took too long on a laptop because it needed all these updates.  And the wind nearly blew the canoe off on the way up, 30 to 40 MPH gusts from the side and we were running 80MPH on the interstate.  But we really did enjoy the time on the river the year before.  Oh, and Jack’s Fishing Resort and Jojo’s restaurant is one stop we won’t miss, great food and folks.  We usually camp over at Sylamore Creek below Blanchard Springs.  Today is March 30, 2012 and a call up there said the campground is closed presently due to flooding rains, same as last year but we got in the second day.  Sleeping in the car is really fun, but a cot is much better.

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We Did the Folk Festival, and I’m t-a-r-d!

Click here, then minimize, to listen while reading this page:  All the campsites in Sylamore Creek were full to overflowing.  It seems the Thursday Thunderstorms that killed five Arkansans also filled the mountains with fresh flood-waters.  That caused the closure of over half the sites.  So we slept in the car, sitting up sort of and man do I have a bad crick in my neck.  At daylight we couldn’t stand it any more.  The wind was howling so we pitched the tent in the day use area, no camping remember, and crawled in our sleeping bags.  We got two wonderful hours of sleep before the Forester came and made us decamp. Saved seven bucks too.  Three dollars in the day use area, we did buy a fee tag, and the next day, a spot opened up in the camping area just 14 open and we got one.  Cost, ten bucks.  We did enjoy the hot showers and cot the second night, forgot Coles cot so we bought a sleeping pad at Wally World in Mtn. View on the way back to camp. 

Lots of great picking.  I don’t think we saw or participated in one organized event of the Festival except the free tour through the Crafts of the folk Center. 

There we met a fellow, John Jones, with wheelharp website, a kid’s shoe designer.  He was playing the rarest instrument of all a Hurdy Gurdy.  It was a truly amazing contraption.  I can’t wait to see the other instruments he has on or some site like it.  Neat fellow.

This my friends is a Wheelharp! Built by John Jones of Tronton Missouri

"Pardon me, Governor," Daniel Merry, October 2008.

When we did get back to camp, I think I hear a picker in the next site.  Next morning I meet him and besides being a folk festival afficianado, he was pardoned by two Arkansas Governers for earlier convictions in his life, it’s part of his story, he shares freely his name is Dan Merry.  He was a wealth of information and shared his Gibson Guitar with me and played me three or four songs.  Neat guy.  Dan said he was pardoned actually three times, twice by Arkansas Governors Bumpers and Beebe, and once by Jesus Christ.  Now that is a great testimony.  Dan plays an old Gibson 12 string that went through a fire at Ben Jacks which he converted and restored to a playable six string.  I enjoyed the big old Gibson neck and the sonorous tones of the aged axe which as Dan said, “It’s the Phoenix as it has risen from the ashes.”  Indeed it has, great instrument.  He told me a story about a Yamitake hand made guitar he owns from Japan, a pawn shop prize.  He also said he commissioned a luthier to make a copy of the guitar that belonged to Jimmy Driftwood.  Cool instrument and I’d like to lay hands on it.

Cole had a social studies project I found out about by text message when three hit all at once as we were still sacked out in the tent.  An angel must have told that signal which trees to bounce off of to find me because for years I’ve never had a peep of signal at Sylamore below the caverns.  Fortunately I had a laptop and the Creek Motel at 9 and 14 had open Wifi, we got it done, but it knocked us out of floating on the white.  The laptop had to update everything, ugghhh. 

Cole did his great depression power point on the fly as we circled by Subway for the third time and out of town…..  it was a wonderful weekend.  Thanks Cole and thanks Mom for letting him go with his Uncle Bruce.

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Recordings of the 1963 Arkansas Folk Festival

Click here for an incredible collection of original recordings of the Folk Festival in 1963.  Lyon College Collection at Batesville, Arkansas.

The First Annual Arkansas Folk Festival
Recorded in Mountain View, AR
April 19-20, 1963

This is the actual site address:

Please follow the links and be patient to download the mp3 audio files which will play automatically when downloaded.  Excellent resource.  Applause!

From the researcher at Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas, John Quincy Wolf:  The Arkansas Folk Festival likely had it’s roots on the 1941 folk festival that occurred at Blanchard Springs, called the Old Settlers Music Festival 1941.

Old Settlers Music Festival 1941, at the cliff below Blanchard Springs Caverns in Arkansas

Courthouse in Mountain View, Arkansas, site of the folk festival

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Descendants of Zachariah Dickey

Descendants of Zachariah Dickey

Click above for the PDF files of more Dickey’s than you can shake a stick at.  These were mostly in lower middle Tennessee, Scotch/Irish.  The potato famine had a way of putting a burr under your blanket.  Nothing to do with Mountain View, I just needed a place online to give my cousins access.  Thanks for looking though, Bruce.

Jim and Claudia Dickey with fiddle and guitar.

Jim Dickey, Dewey Ward, Nellie Dickey, Claudia Dickey, Huckleberry Mountain

A bunch of Dickeys and Wards on Huckleberry Mountain near Mt. Magazine Logan County, Arkansas.

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The Farkleberry Bush Follies, George Fisher

George Fisher, political cartoonist and Jimmy Driftwood, folk singer.

This is an article about George Fisher, who started the Little Rock Chapter of the Rackensack Folklore Society.  Watch closely for the story of then Governor Orval Faubus and what George does with his caricature of Faubus and the Farkleberry Bush.  I won’t ruin it for you!  This made my day.

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Folk Songs sung at least once in Mtn. View, AR

Cripple Creek if this is too fast try this one:  Cripple Creek
Pretty Mary
Tennessee Stud
Buffalo Gals
Shortenin’ Bread

Sourwood Mountain
Sally Goodin
Down in Arkansas Among the Sticks
Soldier’s Joy
Banjo Pickin’ Man
Country Boy
Battle of New Orleans

I’m Too Young to Marry

Billy Yank and Johnny Reb

He Had a Long Chain On

Unfortunate Man

General Custer

Two shows from by Stephen Koch and featuring Jimmy Driftwood:

1.  MP3 Download will open and play Arkansongs/Driftwood

2.  MP3 Download will open and play Arkansongs/Driftwood 2

Link to a site with Jimmy’s Songs Listed (discography) 

Link to book of songs by Mel Bay, Ozarks Fiddle Music.  Nice Resource.

Jimmy Driftwood Morris plays the John Morris made guitar....

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