Opal Agafia has big plans for this year’s Ozark Mountain Soul festival June 15-17

Opal Agafia has big plans for this year’s Ozark Mountain Soul festival June 15-17

“I don’t like to be put in a box. I like to do a little bit of everything. ‘Ozark Mountain Soul’ to me is just my own flavor of mountain music, country music — blues/roots/gospel — all the genres that are like American music,” says Opal Agafia when talking about what that term means to her during a podcast with What’s Up!

Originally she used “Ozark Mountain Soul” to describe her own music before blessing her own music festival with the title.

“The festival represents multiple genres of music and the Americana roots scene,” she says. “It’s a little bit of everything, which is what I think Ozark Mountain soul is — different artists, a variety of genres and lots of flavors of sounds.”

Ozark Mountain Soul, a four-day festival of music and outdoor fun, returns for the second year June 15-17 to The Farm near Eureka Springs. The singer called into the What’s Up! studio to talk about the festival and share her latest single, “Nobody’s Old Lady,” that was recorded at Crisp Studio in Fayetteville.

Below is a snippet of that conversation that has been edited for space and clarity. Listen to the full interview and the song here: nwaonline.com/611opal/

Q. Tell me about how this festival came about. How did you decide to do a music festival?

A. I wanted to throw a one-day event at The Farm. And I contacted John Walker, who owns the farm over there in Eureka Springs. And he responded with, “You should just do a whole festival.” And I said, “What? In three months? Am I gonna be able to pull this off?” (laughs) And you know, we did, and it was awesome.

Q. Tell me about how the festival has changed since last year. What’s new and what’s coming up?

A. Last year, we had only had two days of music. And this year, we have three full days of music, three nights of camping. You can also arrive on Wednesday, if you want to get four nights of live music, because we do an open mic on Wednesday night. We have [Eureka Springs Adventures at Wanderoo Lodge], they’re going to do kayaks and stand up paddleboard rentals, we’ll have a giant waterslide which we had last year. … I think that this year is going to be extra special because it’s a developing thing. And more people are becoming aware of it.

Ozark Mountain Soul has officially, as of last week, become Hillberry Music Festival’s sister festival, and that’s really big. So we’re offering now a bundle ticket for both Ozark Mountain Soul 2023 and, and Hillberry Music Festival 2023 [in October] And that’s a really big, big step for us.

Q. Tell me a little bit more about the music you have planned. You said the Steel Drivers are one of the headliners? 

A. I’m so excited. I love that band so much. Their songs are amazing. And then we have Vince Herman, who also plays in Leftover Salmon, which is a really well-known band. He has just recorded his first solo album, I think last year and now he’s touring fronting his own band, Vince Herman Band. This will be the first time he brings that project out to The Farm, which is really, really exciting. We also have Arkansauce playing and Aaron Kamm and The One Drops. My band will play two nights — both Friday and Saturday. We also have Dazz and Brie, and Rachel Fields with her group, Brick Fields. There’s so many … Dirtfoot’s making a return to the Ozarks, which was awesome. We have 20 bands total, which is really cool for us. I’m so excited.

Q. Are tickets still available?

A. We have tickets available online currently at opalagafia.com. And then also, you can purchase at the gate upon arrival. We’re not going to run out, you know, this is a new festival. And there’s 160 acres out there. So there’s plenty of room for everybody. We’re expecting a good turnout. And yeah, never too late. We have three-day passes, two-day passes, and one-day passes for Saturday.

Q. Tell me about what you’ve got going on after the festival. I’m sure you’re going to need a good rest!

A. I tell you what, I’m gonna need a little bitty rest for sure. I’m excited. I’m working hard at it. Something really exciting: We just got a manager. So she’s working on getting us on the road more. And we just played Nashville, which went really, really well. I have to say one thing that I’m most excited about is that on July 2 in West Plains, Mo., I’m going to be opening up for Billy Bob Thornton’s band, The Box Masters (at the Oasis). And that’s really cool for me because you know, he’s like an Arkansas hero. …

I have some plans to get down to Nashville and record. I have tons of original material I’d like to get recorded. I’m just trying to figure out what I’m gonna do. But yes, there are plans in the works of getting some new recorded material out.



Ozark Mountain Soul

WHAT — Four days of music, camping and the great outdoors. Performers include Opal Agafia, The Steel Drivers, Vince Herman Band, Aaron Kamm and The One Drops, Arkansauce, Dirtfoot, One Way Traffic, Dazz & Brie, Monk Is King, The 1 Oz. Jig, Brick Fields, Skye Pollard & Family Holler, Front Porch, Grace Stormont, Me and Him, Johnny Mullenax Band, Red Oak Ruse, Sebastien Bordeaux, Magnolia Brown and Michael Schembre’s Hip-Hop Fiddle.

WHEN — June 15-17 (camping available June 14)

WHERE — The Farm, 1 Blue Heron Lane, Eureka Springs

COST — $145 for (Thursday, Friday, Saturday); $135 (Friday, Saturday); $65 for Saturday only. Early arrival on June 14 is $10 per person. Tickets include primitive camping; RV and electrics sites sold out. Personal generators for RVs are allowed.

INFO — opalagafia.com/ozarkmountainsoulfestival


Listen Here!

Opal Agafia talks about Ozark Mountain Soul, creating a festival on the fly and plans for the four-day camping, music and outdoors fête. She also shares her tune, “Nobody’s Old Lady,” with Michael Schembre on fiddle, Doc Hopper on guitar, Garrett Jones on bass and Don Mayall on drums. The podcast was recorded in the NWA Democrat-Gazette studio and the song at Crisp Studios in Fayetteville. You can hear it at nwaonline.com/611opal/

Categories: Music