The biannual Arcadia Valley Mountain Music Festival returns for the year’s spring edition on Friday and Saturday as the Iron County Courthouse grounds will be filled with the music of bluegrass, country, and gospel music.
Started years ago by local musician Bobby Powell, the event has grown to showcase a variety of talented musicians.
The festival starts at 5 p.m. on Friday with The Pickers at the Gazebo on the Iron County Courthouse Square. Amateurs join professionals to perform all types of music. People clapping, dancing and singing along are welcome to join the crowds who gather on the courthouse lawn. The concert is also the kickoff of the weekly Pickin’ on the Square, which lasts through the fall edition of the Mountain Music Festival.
At 6:30 p.m. on Friday, BTR takes the stage. Comprised of Eric Thompson, Bo Riddle, and Mark Browers, the group brings 1970s Americana to life with their unique blend of voices and instruments.
Riddle plays fiddle, and guitar, and provides vocals. He is known for his musical work in Nashville’s recording studios. On the harmonica is Arcadia Valley resident and high school teacher Thompson, who is considered a rising star in the harmonica world. Browers performs with the guitar and has been playing since he was 14.
Opening Saturday’s music portion at 11 a.m. is The Punches, a Bluegrass-Gospel family group that makes their home in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. Mom Bobette and Dad Bruce, along with their children, have been performing nationwide since 2009 and have even been featured on the TV show “Great American Gospel.” Son Owen plays a Gibson RB-250 banjo while twin daughters Emily and Brooke help fill out the band. Emily started playing fiddle at the age of 7 and helps carry many of the high tenor parts in trios. Brooke started on the fiddle at the age of 7 before moving to the dobro, a type of resonator guitar.
At 1 p.m., the Rising Son takes the stage on the Gazebo. Founded in 2016 by friends Junior Harmon on guitar, Mark Hopkins on banjo, Don Goff on dobro, Rusty Hamilton on mandolin, and Freddie Wilferth on bass, the band combines bluegrass music with gospel.
The Logan Creek Band, founded in Ellington in 1979 by Randy Buxton and Kenny Albert, takes over the gazebo at 3 p.m. In the beginning, the duo performed every weekend at Web Creek Lounge using anyone they could find to fill in on the drums. They have since performed with Dan Seals, Gene Watson, Michael Tweety, and other musicians in the country music industry. While they have performed with many famous artists, the band has also performed for local functions including St. Jude benefits and the nationally-televised Jerry Lewis Telethon.
Closing out the festival is the Dave Black Band with their wide variety of music including gospel, 50s, and country. Black is from Bonne Terre and has been a musician for the majority of his life. He plays the piano while band member Doug Berry sings and plays the keyboard, and Keith Barton plays the steel guitar. The group has played in churches throughout the area and Black has been the opening performance for many musicians including Brad Paisley, Kenny Rogers, the Bellamy Brothers, and more.
Throughout the event, crowds can enjoy a variety of vendors, crafters, children’s games, and family-friendly, fun surroundings on the Iron County Courthouse Square.
Platinum sponsors for the event include Great Southern Bank and Baptist Homes Healthcare Ministries. Gold Sponsors include First State Community Bank and The Mountain Echo, while Business Boosters include Black River Electric Cooperative, Brad Wooten Auto Body, and Valley Chiropractic Center.
Danielle Thurman is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-518-3616.