The Summer Soundtrack of Northwest Arkansas

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What does summer sound like? Drifting on the breeze in northwest Arkansas is the music of Umphrey’s McGhee, Ben Harper, The Disco Biscuits, Yonder Mountain String Band, Carrie Underwood, Big & Rich, and the Zac Brown Band as well as numerous other artists at outdoor amphitheaters, music festivals, and urban locales. You can also catch a summer opera season.

Check out this summer soundtrack of Arkansas:

  1. Wakarusa Music Festival takes place at the magnificent Mulberry Mountain in Northwest Arkansas this week, June 4-7. The 2015 festival will feature electrifying Main Stage performances by Umphrey’s McGee, The Floozies and Gigantic Underground Conspiracy on Thursday, followed by Chance the Rapper, STS9 and Big Gigantic on Friday. The Roots, Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals and Major Lazer will headline the Main Stage on Saturday and closing out the festival on Sunday evening: Portugal. The Man, Lotus, and Thievery Corporation. The festival setting is 650 acres of rolling hills and beautiful national forest. For more information on ticketing, artist lineup schedule and all things Wakarusa please visit:
  2. Thunder on the Mountain follows Waka on June 26-28, also at Mulberry Mountain. Headliners include Carrie Underwood and Big & Rich on Friday, Zac Brown Band and Jerrod Niemann on Saturday, and The Band Perry, Eli Young Band and Sara Evens on Sunday. More than 50 bands on four stages will play throughout the weekend. The festival bills itself as “the rowdiest honky-tonk party this side of the Mason-Dixon Line.” In addition to musical acts, the event offers remarkable food and craft vendors, river floats, fishing, waterfalls, hiking, premier RV camping and much more. Visit for tickets and more information.
  3. Fayetteville Roots Festival is a four-day urban music festival set for Aug. 27-30. The main stages will be located at multiple venues across the city, including the Fayetteville Town Center, George’s Majestic Lounge, Greenhouse Grille, Kingfish Dive Bar, Fayetteville Public Library and the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market. The festival’s key components are music, food and community. With the slogan, “A Mountain Town in its Natural State” the festival is a showcase of many of the elements that make Fayetteville a beloved cultural hot spot. Headliners include: The Punch Brothers, Fiona Apple, Sara Watkins, Pokey LaFarge, John Fullbright, and The Steel Wheels. For tickets and more information, visit
  4. Rogers_Walmart_AMP

    Walmart AMP

    The Walmart AMP (Arkansas Music Pavilion) is a premiere outdoor concert venue located along Interstate 49 in Rogers. Its new venue opened in June 2014 and accommodates 9,500-plus people, with 3,200 covered seats and additional general admission seating on a sloped lawn. The new Walmart AMP has upgraded air-conditioned concessions and restrooms, a permanent pavilion and the biggest stage house in Arkansas. Scheduled to play this summer are: Lady Antebellum’s 2015 Wheels Up Tour with Hunter Hayes and Kelsea Ballerini; Colbie Caillat; Kenny Chesney’s 2015 The Big Revival Tourwith Jake Owen and Chase Rice; Hozier, and more. Stay up-to-date at

  5. Eureka Springs Blues Weekend headliners are Chris Thomas King and Jimmy D. Lane. Grammy Award winner Chris Thomas King helped expose millions of movie-goers to the Blues as Tommy Johnson in Oh Brother, Where Art Thou. Jimmy D. Lane is a Chicago bluesman, son of the legendary Jimmy Rogers. Other headliner and featured acts include The Bel-Airs, Earl & Them, Shawn Holt and the Teardrops, Kelley Hunt, Jimmy D. Lane, The Nace Brothers and The Noah Wotherspoon Band. Full Access and VIP Passes are available for a limited time. For a complete schedule, tickets, lodging info and more, visit
  6. Eureka_Springs_Opera_Pirate

    Opera in the Ozarks

    The Opera in the Ozarks 2015 Season on June 20 -July 18 is the 65th year for this amazing summer opera festival. This year, see Cinderella, La Traviata and the Tales of Hoffmann performed by up and coming opera stars of tomorrow. Enjoy more than 20 stunning performances this summer. Get online tickets and more information at

  7. Another favorite soundtrack to an Arkansas summer is the simple sounds of the birds and the bees, rippling water, lakes lapping at the shore, and other natural auditory elements at numerous campsites and cabins, and city, state and federal parks throughout the region.


The Arkansas Highway Department has released an official statement that Highway 23, north of Mulberry Mountain will be closed until further notice. Due to a landslide affecting the road clearance, all festival traffic will need to utilize Interstate 40 to Highway 23 at Ozark, AR to access the festival site.

The North Toll at Highway 23 and Highway 16 will be closed and all resources and staff will be moved to the South Toll. The number of check lanes will be increased to accommodate the additional traffic. Wakarusa organizers expect minimal impact from the road closure and expect the detour to take an additional 20-30 minutes.

It is extremely important for Wakarusa patrons to use Highway 23 from Interstate 40 near Ozark. All patrons coming from the north should remain on I-49/540 South to I-40 East to Hwy 23. GPS devices may suggest alternative routes from the north. These will likely be logging or utility roads that are impassable by regular cars or are dead ends. All festival traffic needs to utilize Interstate 40 to Highway 23 at Ozark, AR to access the site.

by Jill Rohrbach

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