Park And Party: Concert series builds community identity

Park And Party: Concert series builds community identity

As live music returns to downtown Springdale, a new partnership between the Downtown Springdale Alliance and Creative Arkansas Community Hub & Exchange (CACHE) has the Live at Turnbow music series poised to reflect the fruits of a collaborative effort to grow diversity, as well as communal ties.

Singer/Songwriter Shannon Wurst will be the featured storyteller for a very special Tales from the South Annual Ozark Music Show on Tuesday evening, January 22, 2013.

Maximiliano Perez is the program coordinator at 214, the Springdale creative hub that houses CACHE, the arts service organization arm of the Northwest Arkansas Council. As a Springdale native, Perez has been a community organizer in the arts and music scenes in the town for years and views this new position with CACHE as an opportunity to expand those relationships he’s spent years cultivating.

“This is a really great opportunity for us to support a local organization that’s been planning cool shows, but has needed some additional support, and then also a great way for us to plug in local artists and programmers, producers — just connecting these two entities that haven’t really had that chance before,” Perez says of the joint effort between DSA and CACHE.

The returning dates for the monthly series were just announced, so only the first lineup has been set. But Perez says he is looking forward to mining his colleagues’ varied musical tastes to curate programming that exhibits the richness of the region’s music — not only between styles, but within them as well.

Beginning April 29, the last Thursday of the month will offer a blend of country, folk, bluegrass, mariachi, funk and more music performances through September. That first concert features Jess Harp — a group who blends shoegaze and honkytonk that lands somewhere in the realm of self-described “boot-gaze” — Oklahoma-bred singer-songwriter Kalyn Fay, and post-country/Western troubadour Dylan Earl.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE Scott Varady, executive director of the Razorback Foundation, plays drums Thursday, July 25, 2019, with his band Mary-Heather Hickman and The Sinners and during the 23rd Annual Gulley Park Summer Concert Series presented by Fayetteville Parks and Recreation in Gulley Park in Fayetteville.

“The mission for the first show was really showing the diversity of country and folk music from Northwest Arkansas,” Perez demonstrates. The lineup showcases, “for one thing, that Northwest Arkansas and Arkansas in general isn’t just a single-faceted entity. And even within this single ‘genre’ of music, that people don’t give a lot of credit to [the genre] for being diverse. They don’t give a lot of credit to it being challenging to the social norms. They don’t give a lot of credit to the artists as progressive people.

“If you look at a lot of singers and writers here, you would see that it’s not that simple. My goal with every show, but especially as I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the series, is just showing the nuance of the talent here, and showing that Arkansas is a really interesting place with diverse and complex stories that don’t just fit into these molds that are given to us.”

Walter Turnbow Park off the Shiloh Square is already a familiar gathering place, but with the new Downtown Outdoor Dining District born of the pandemic, the area is even more enticing.

“Turnbow Park is really an ideal setting for an outdoor concert,” Jill Dabbs, executive director of Downtown Springdale Alliance, confirms in a press release on the series. “It’s right off the Razorback Greenway, making it easy to walk and bike there. It’s spacious with plenty of seating, and it’s an easy walk to grab a bite to eat or drink from one of our bars and restaurants.”

Members of the local band Dandelion Heart perform in the fall as part of the Live at Turnbow Park concert series in Walter Turnbow Park at Shiloh Square in downtown Springdale. The free concert series returns for the last Thursday of every month, beginning April 29. (File Photo/Andy Shupe)

“We have some really dedicated business owners, and I would also call them kind of like community stewards,” Perez says of the establishments that make up the fabric of downtown. “Trailside [Coffee Company] has been there for a really long time; Bike Rack [Brewing Co.] has been there for a really long time; Emma Ave. Bar & Tab has been there for a really long time, The Odd Soul… all those bars are real great. And they’re all friends, which I think is a really cool thing that you don’t always see in downtowns. But they’re all really great at just having good shows and having good customer service and staying open through the hard times — because there’s been a lot of hard times in downtown Springdale.”

With such community-oriented businesses pouring into the vibrancy of downtown alongside vital nonprofit and cultural organizations, Perez says the growth he’s seen in Springdale since his childhood and its offerings to the community have been a hard-fought battle that he’s proud to be an even bigger part of.

“I really think it’s just a testament to a lot of people’s hard work,” he says.

“More than anything,” Perez adds, turning back to the music series, “we’re just going to try to keep up having exciting and diverse lineups for every show. We’re super excited to make a series out of this and to really give it some more identity. And this first show does kind of give us a nice kicking off place to start.”

Lia Uribe, 2020 Artist INC Live facilitator, is also a professor of bassoon at the University of Arkansas and principal bassoonist of the Symphony Orchestra of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/David Gottschalk)


Live at Turnbow

With Jess Harp, Kalyn Fay & Dylan Earl

WHEN — 6 p.m. April 29

WHERE — Turnbow Park in Springdale

COST — Free



Looking For More?

We have real concert series to report on again! Here are just a handful of some of the other series coming up in the area. Send information on your concert series and other music events to Jocelyn Murphy at

Gulley Park

Summer Series

In the heart of one of Fayetteville’s most appreciated parks, the community gathers to enjoy a longstanding tradition of outdoor live music and a food truck rally on six different occasions each summer. The summer concert series will celebrate its 25th anniversary when it returns in 2021!

Lounge chairs and blankets are welcome at the family-friendly series, where local and regional bands perform free concerts from 7-9 p.m. on Thursdays throughout the summer.

The 25th annual Gulley Park Concert Series lineup will be announced soon, but the dates have already been chosen:

June 24

July 1

July 8

July 15

July 22

July 29

In the Atrium

Also in Fayetteville, the Walton Arts Center continues its series of house concert-like experiences through mid-May. When In The Atrium ends in May, 50 local and regional groups or artists will have performed as part of this free performance series.

April 11 — SoNA Voices: Latin Tones with Duo Capriccioso

April 15 — HogTown Hot Club

April 16 — Mike Sumler Project

April 18 — SoNA Voices: Who We Are featuring Lia Uribe

April 22 — North South East West: A Sampler of Music from India

April 25 — SoNA Voices: All Alone featuring Eman Chalshotori

April 29 — Comedy in the Atrium

May 1 — Still on the Hill “Words on Birds”

May 2 — A Classical Afternoon: Featuring flutist Lydia Roth and pianist Kristy Olefsky

May 13 — An Evening of Poetry: with the Ozark Poets and Writers Collective

May 14 — The Crumbs

Music on the Mountain

Music on the Mountain is a family-friendly music festival held on beautiful Mount Sequoyah in Fayetteville. Blankets and lawn chairs are welcome and encouraged and outdoor, socially distanced circles can be reserved at the event website.

April 9 — Shannon Wurst with Brad Helms

April 16 — Dylan Earl

April 22 — Alisha Pattillo Quartet

April 23 — The Cocktail Club

April 25 — Randall Shreve

May 1 — Mike Sumler Project

May 7 — Williw Carlilse

May 8 — Route 358

Categories: Music