A Good Cause To Rock

A Good Cause To Rock

Festival appeals to performers, audiences


In its fourth year, the nonprofit Peacemaker Festival in Fort Smith will continue its mission of bringing diverse musical acts to downtown Fort Smith and supporting local charities, while actually scaling down the size of its lineup.

“Our very first year, we actually started with, I believe, 14 acts,” says co-founder Trent Goins. “But we’ve kind of grown this festival into national and regional acts and, having the likes of Gov’t Mule, Jamie Johnson, Jason Isbell, and of course some of the folks we’re bringing in this year, and it’s really allowed us to bring some more prominent names to the river valley that I don’t think would be here outside of this festival.”

Downsizing the lineup — to seven acts this year — was a move organizers made with the festival audience in mind, too, allowing them to extend the time slot for each performer. Each act will play for a minimum of 60 minutes, with the headliners getting an hour and a half.

“We’ve really tried to put this festival together from the experience of the festival attendee,” Goins shares. “And, obviously, we try to treat our artists awesome so that they want to come back. But we have such a unique facility here in Fort Smith that allows us to really open it up for the patrons of the festival. So we allow people to bring in their own lawn chairs and set up their blankets and spread out throughout the park. And our VIP area is much larger than the traditional festival, so they get a really unique experience because they get within five feet of any performer that’s on stage. So it’s really a benefit to be able to see some of these performers at this facility, in this environment. We wanted to establish something that would have longevity.

“I tell you, in the festival’s fourth year, I am most looking forward to seeing how the audience reacts to some of the different genres we’re bringing in this year,” Goins adds. “I think we put on a show that appeals to all walks of life. It’s bluegrass, it’s country, it’s rock ‘n’ roll, it’s gospel — you name it, we’ve had [something] over the last four years that would appeal to just about all musical genres.”

Courtesy Photo
Rocker Grace Potter headlines Saturday night of the fourth annual Peacemaker Festival in Fort Smith.



Peacemaker Festival

WHEN — July 27-28

WHERE — Riverfront Park in Fort Smith

COST — $39-$175; younger than 10 free

INFO — peacemakerfest.com

BONUS — The fourth Praise God and Pass the Biscuits gospel event and free brunch will take place at 10 a.m. July 29.



2018 Peacemaker Schedule

July 27

6 p.m. — Gates open

7 p.m. — Paul Thorn: Mixing Southern rock, country, Americana and blues, singer/songwriter Thorn gets back to his gospel roots with his 11th studio release “Don’t Let the Devil Ride,” out in March.

8:30 p.m. — Anderson East: “Anderson East is somewhat of a different style of performer,” festival co-founder Trent Goins says. “It depends on how you look him up. Some classify him as R&B, some classify him as blues and some classify him as country. So Anderson brings a really big dynamic for the festival this year.”

10 p.m. — Rival Sons: California rockers Rival Songs capture the massive, guitar-driven classic rock sound with a touch of blues, evoking icons like Led Zeppelin and the Black Crowes, while “fizzing with freshness” says BBC.

July 28

4:30 p.m. — Gates open

5:30 p.m. — Ray Wylie Hubbard: Known for his cheeky writing and vivid narratives, Americana singer/songwriter Hubbard returns to Arkansas once again, just as he does in the opening line of “Lucifer and the Fallen Angels” from latest album “Tell the Devil I’m Getting There As Fast as I Can,” where he informs the listener “I run over a squirrel in Arkansas…”

7 p.m. — Funky Meters

8:30 p.m. — The Cadillac Three

10 p.m. — Grace Potter: “And of course, Fort Smith loves Grace Potter,” Goins declares. “She only has four dates on her calendar this year, and for her to sign up to play the Peacemaker, we feel like that’s indicative of the relationship our community has with some of the big-time artists out there touring today.”

Categories: Music