Well folks, I think we truly have been dropped into the 'Folk Music Capital of the World'! It was a lovely drive from Rogers to Mountain View, Arkansas this morning. Our friends Harold & Jeanette arranged to meet us on the main street of town when we arrived to lead us to Fiddler's Valley Rv Resort where we're staying for 8 days. They've camped here for the past three years & have really enjoyed it. We can certainly see why, owners Bob & Lucy are the nicest folks and they work very hard to provide a great experience for their guests. There are numerous planned activities and a coffee gathering at 3pm everyday on the 'pickin' porch' to chat a bit & listen to any musician that might stop in. Too fun!
Established in the 1870s, the town of Mountain View, AR is famous for the preservation of folkways and traditional music. The Arkansas Folk Festival was founded here in the early 1960s and the Ozark Folk Center State Park followed in 1973. Music plays a vital part of the aura of this area as, historically, Saturday nights find locals at a 'pickin' in a neighbor's house or yard. People from all over gather in and around the Town Square to play and listen to music. Bluegrass mostly, but a wide array of Folk, Swing, Country and Gospel can be heard performed by local townsfolk as well, and Picker's come from hundreds of miles away. Musicians range in age from 8 to 80. Small eating establishments on the square serve BBQ, Hamburgers, Corn Dogs, Funnel cakes, Ice Cream, Milk Shakes and even Beans & Cornbread.
We've learned that music is not only vital, it is the soul of the town and there is a determination to keep the tradition alive through programs such as the Music Roots Program, where via the local school system, area musicians teach young people to play the old tunes on traditional string instruments. We've met a number of the musicians in the last week as well as several of the young talented kids in the area. One young lady, Clancey plays with the guys down on the square occasionally & she is quite the little fiddler! She sings and dances as well. I am posting several short videos today of some of the local talent & she is on one of the video's. If your download speed isn't too slow be sure & go back to the last page & click on the video links to see them. I'm sure you will enjoy hearing a bit of the local flavor, we're sure enjoying it!
We'd planned to spend a full day at the Ozark Folk Center, which has been coined as the nation's only center that preserves Ozark heritage and presents it as living history. Turned out to be the only day it rained all week. We did however go to the show there that evening & enjoyed it very much. One of the groups at that show were the Cobb Brother's and they play at another theater here in town, the Backstreet, a couple of times a week. We enjoyed their brief performance at the Ozark Center so we attended their show a couple of nights later. These brothers are 13, 14 & 16! The 16 year old is in his second year of college with a 4.0 grade average...we're impressed! One of their guests was a young lady and she did a wonderful job of clogging, twice! Whew, wore us out just watching her. I got a short video of her in action, be sure to check it out.
They also had a guest singer, Daryl Mixon, and we loved his voice. We'd have loved to seen a show where he was the main act! He has a cd out but is temporarily out of stock. We hope to get one in the future, he's promised to let us know when there are more available. After the show we went down to the Town Square and he arrived a few minutes later to 'pick' with his friends, so we actually got to enjoy more of his talent.
Our schedule has been so full since we've arrived I've not had any time for posting. But keep checking back over the next couple of days & I'll try and catch up. Between the eating & the playing we're having a blast! I've got several new recipes to try out down the road. And, this great music is really making me wish I'd learned to play. Perhaps it's not too late to learn? The musicians here say it's never too late! Now I just have to decide what instrument to take on...a guitar, banjo, fiddle or dulcimer? Any advice???