Pickin' on Mulberry: Harvest Music Fest to Begin Oct. 16

Pickin' on Mulberry: Harvest Music Fest to Begin Oct. 16

Courtesy Photo: Mulberry Mountain at the last Harvest Music Festival

As the air gets a little cooler each night and the leaves begin to turn red, orange, yellow and brown it means one thing and one thing only.

Grab your banjo, get your wife, and get your kids too, because Yonder Mountain String Band’s Harvest Music Festival is starting up on Mulberry Mountain Oct. 16-18.

The 7,000 attendance-on-average festival is known and widely talked about for its colorful, serene scenery that crops up all over the Ozark National Forrest surrounding the festival grounds. There’s several trails to check out around the campgrounds including one that leads to a waterfall grotto, and festival-goers can spend part of an afternoon taking a kayak or canoe down the Mulberry river that’s close by. Harvest is known to be a pretty welcoming, safe and relaxed music festival with mild temperatures.

The music this year has expanded to more types of musical genres and there’s plenty of big names worth checking out that are becoming big names in the folk/Americana realm. Whereas the music of Wakarusa—the bigger music festival held early summer on Mulberry mountain that features electronic music artists playing until 6 in the morning—is a lot crazier of a party compared to Harvest.

“In comparison, the music of Harvest is much smaller and more intimate,” said Brett Moisman, co-owner of Pipeline Productions, which organizes the event. “That provides a very different juxtaposition to Wakarusa, which is a very energetic, kind of like a Mardi Gras-style party and Harvest is a little more laid back.”

There aren’t a lot of new things besides the line-up, but there will be guided nature walks this time around.

“It will be pretty familiar to everybody,” Moisman said. “Something that I think is continuing to grow is the picking contest and artist workshops and morning yoga everyday. My favorite thing is the food. A lot of people don’t realize how much great food from the vendors there is.”


For the full lineup click here. For the stage schedule, click this link.

The festival is sponsored by Yonder Mountain String Band, which is known for their “jamgrass” style of music that incorporates just about any style of genre into their traditional bluegrass instrumentation. In a sense, the vast array of what the band does sets a foundation for the types of talent that play at the festival. The festival isn’t limited to bluegrass, country and folk —although the line up features many — it keeps an eclectic side of the festival with funk, rock and blues artists among the schedule.

Yonder Mountain will play a set every night at Harvest, and not one of them will be the same.

“We never do the same set list. We do a new show every night and try to build it to keep the songs interesting, that means no slow songs back to back,” said Adam Aijala, guitarist and vocalist for Yonder. “We keep an ebb and flow within the set and within a song with a stretched out jam. When you’re at a show it’s great, the music is so intense. I like to be a part of that.”

The band also gets first dibs, so the speak, on some of the bands they recommend Pipeline look into booking. Some of Aijala’s lesser known bands he said he was excited for were Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, The Shook Twins, Zack Deputy, Cornmeal and Elephant Revival, some of which they’ve played with before.

This year’s headliners might be some of the strongest the festival has had, with Trampled By Turtles, The Jayhawks, Lettuce, The Devil Makes Three and Carolina Chocolate Drops all seeing recent success nationally. These are definitely must-see, Moisman said.

In addition to several national and international acts playing the festival, there are several local bands that will be playing at Harvest. The 1 oz. Jig, Candy Lee and the Sweets Cadillac Jackson, Foley’s Van, The Irie Lions and Shawn James and the Shapeshifters will all be playing the festival—some with two sets. Be sure to stop by their sets and show them some Fayetteville love at the festival.

Another cool aspect of the festival is how many of the attendees will bring their own acoustic instruments and get into jam sessions all over the campground. Several artists have been known to get into improtu jam sessions as well.

“You get to see a lot of musical camaraderie that you don’t get to see at club shows,” Moisman said. “There might be as many as 12-13 people jamming. They’re just once in a lifetime events. You don’t mark it but they happen in abundance.”

Families with children are also encouraged to attend the festival. The relaxed vibe of the festival makes for a very family-friendly environment.

“Some of my favorite memories from the festival for me is watching my kids faces light up at the shows,” Moisman said. “It’s a great opportunity turning the children on to the wonderful life of live music.”

Tickets are still on sale at http://yonderharvestfestival.com/tickets/ for three day ($145), two day ($105) and Saturday only ($75) passes. There are also VIP packages that include early arrival, up front viewing, free meals and drinks, and showers starting at $431.

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