Fort Smith’s Fifth

Fort Smith’s Fifth

Peacemaker Festival goes all American


The Peacemaker Festival in Fort Smith has done nothing but grow since its inception, and that growth motivated additions and alterations here and there as the festival’s identity was established.

Along the way, the festival downsized the lineup in order to bring more prominent names and extend musicians’ time slots. Artistic activations were added to the event, including a partnership with Fort Smith’s other major artistic endeavor — The Unexpected — with the goal of introducing new artists and audiences to each other. And a few words were dropped: “Peacemaker Music and Arts Festival” was trimmed to the simpler Peacemaker Festival. What has remained consistent through the years are the diverse lineups, an effort to expose the Fort Smith audience to a variety of genres.

For the festival’s fifth anniversary, organizers are again trying something a little different as they shift the musical focus to mainly red dirt and Americana for the first time.

“This is our fifth festival, but our first without our friend and mentor Bill Neumeier,” board member Trent Goins says about the event’s former vice president. “We know he would be proud of this lineup. He is smiling down on us today.”

Neumeier would also continue to be proud of the festival’s charitable contributions to the Fort Smith community. Several times, Neumeier spoke to What’s Up! of the festival’s nonprofit status, volunteer-led team and the goal of supporting children’s organizations with each year’s proceeds. Peacemaker has partnered with groups like Children’s Emergency Shelter, Developmental Wings and Girls Inc. in the past.

Local, regional and national names return to the Riverfront Amphitheater July 26-27 for the fifth annual Peacemaker Festival. Get a taste of the lineup here:

2019 Peacemaker Schedule:

July 26

6 p.m. — Dylan Earl: The Arkansas Times says of Earl, an Arkansas transplant who fell in love with the Ozarks, he “has taken things formerly relegated to the Aaron Tippin-and-Travis Tritt circa-1992 vault and breathed new life into them. He’s anything but insincere in his musical approach.” Earl is preparing for the release of his sophomore album, “Squirrel in the Garden,” later this summer.

7:15 p.m. — William Clark Green: Rolling Stone Country has called him the “essence of Texas music,” and Green’s writing chops put him alongside the likes of Robert Earl Keen and Pat Green in many a music lover’s mind. Green’s new single, “The One I Was Then,” debuted just last week.

8:45 p.m. — Josh Abbott Band: Abbott is a triple threat singer/songwriter/guitar slinger known for his impressive musicianship, but his latest album, “Ghosts,” also reveals the personal side of Abbott’s writing.

10:30 p.m. — Robert Earl Keen: “The road goes on forever” are the words from Keen’s calling-card anthem routinely shouted back to the singer/songwriter by thousands of fans a night, but they’re also the five words that succinctly sum up not only the musician’s career but his life’s ambition. Keen headlines Peacemaker on Friday night.

July 27

4 p.m. — JD Clayton: Arkansas-based Clayton’s songs are from the heart and the heartland and reflect the essence of what it means to be young and alive.

5:15 p.m. — Samantha Fish: A charismatic singer/songwriter/guitarist, Fish has earned a reputation as a powerful live performer with a restless creative spirit constantly taking her in new musical directions. Her new album, “Kill or Be Kind,” is out later this summer.

6:45 p.m. — North Mississippi Allstars: The rockers return to the Peacemaker stage ahead of their latest collaborative project, “Up and Rolling,” featuring Mavis Staples, Jason Isbell, Cedric Burnside and more, out in October.

8:30 p.m. — Lucero: Adding a southern flavor to their love of indie-folk pop, Memphis alt-country rockers Lucero are also Peacemaker veterans.

10:30 p.m. — Ryan Bingham: Golden Globe and Oscar-winning singer/songwriter Bingham headlines Peacemaker’s Saturday night. Known for incorporating elements from Woody Guthrie-style folk to Spanish-language balladry to gritty hard rock, Bingham’s music is all American. His latest album, “American Love Song,” was released in February.



Peacemaker Festival

WHEN — July 26-27

WHERE — Riverfront Park in Fort Smith

COST — $35-$60


BONUS — The fifth Praise God and Pass the Biscuits gospel event and free brunch will take place at 10 a.m. July 28.

Categories: Music