Music floats: Strings on the Kings brings music festival experience to the river

Music floats: Strings on the Kings brings music festival experience to the river

Just pack your banjo, put on a life jacket and hop in a canoe!

Strings on the Kings returns to Kings River Outfitters for the third year of the festival that combines live music and float trips just 10 minutes outside of the Eureka Springs city limits.

Organized by Bear Morrison of the beloved psychedelic honky tonk band Eureka Strings, the festival amplifies local music, art and vendors with events planned in tandem with float trips on the Kings River.

Chucky Waggs and the Company of Raggs, Front Porch, The Gary Lawrence Show and other well-known regional groups will perform as well as regular street buskers like Rasta.

“I’ve always had as many local artists as I can get,” says Morrison. Joining the lineup will be Minnesota-based musician Charlie Parr, whom he describes as a great songwriter and folk artist with a leaning towards ragtime and old-timey sounds.

Morrison says he’s also happy to introduce festivalgoers to Korean-American blues poet Nat Myers, whose debut album “Yellow Peril” was produced last year by Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach with famed songwriter Pat McLaughlin and blues legend Alvin Youngblood Hart.

“He’s blowing up fast,” Morrison adds.

Meanwhile, Morrison’s band will play two shows over the weekend. Eureka Strings dropped their self-titled, debut album last November. This weekend will be a good chance to catch them before they hit the road for festival season.

In addition to music, Strings on the Kings has something for local art lovers. Kings Rivers Outfitters is owned by a local landscape painter and outdoorsman Ernest A. Kilman. He started his river floating business after helping so many explore the area’s natural beauty as he progressed as a painter — often in a canoe with a paddle in one hand and a paint brush in the other, as the story goes.

While the area offers many natural views for plein air painting during the weekend, Joseph Edwards and the Amazing Easel of the Revolution will take guests on an artistic adventure. There will also be workshops, live painting set to music and poems on the spot from Caitlyn Grcich. Local vendors will also be selling art, clothing and food.

However, Morrison says that the event is BYOB, and that people shouldn’t take glass to the stage area.

Each day festivalgoers may load up in canoes and float down to the stage, Morrison explains. Those who are camping can get out on the water from their campsite. He says there are areas to stand near the stage or that you can listen from the water. A lifeguard will be on duty.

Morrison says the weekend is very kid friendly too.

“We’ll have story time for the kids and kids’ music and kid shows. Then we’re going to have a paper-rock-scissors tournament with prizes for children,” he says.

Kids 13 and younger get in free, but there’s a suggested $20 donation to go towards kids’ activities. For the young at heart, there will be games too, including the annual horse shoe tournament.

Strings on the Kings, Morrison hopes, will provide good home town fun for all who come.

Tickets to the festival are $120 for the weekend, and camping is included. A ticket link and more information on the festival are available on the Strings on the Kings Facebook page.



Strings on the Kings

WHAT — A camping and float festival with live music, vendors, artists, a kid zone and more.

WHEN — May 23-26

WHERE — Kings River Outfitters, 8190 Arkansas 221, Eureka Springs

COST — $120 for the entire weekend, camping included.


FYI — The lineup includes Eureka Strings, Charlie Parr, Brian Martin’s Mess, Chucky Waggs & The Company of Raggs, Moonshroom, Foggy Memory Boys, Skye Pollard, Free Range Strange, Front Porch, Trevor Clark, The Gary Lawrence Show, Cody Perkins, The Squirrels, Crescent City Combo, Dimetrip, Red Oak Ruse, The Shrubs, Dom B Roy, Zac Crow & The No Shows, 1IPlumber, Mowgli Starfos, BC, Aphorize, Garrick Fausett, Alex Hawf Revue, Sarah Hughes, Jenny Dietzel, Rasta, Cousin Payton, Coy Dog, Kim Kutin & Gravy, Nate Hankcock, Mark Jackson III, KC Westphal, Danny Spain Gang and more. Johnny Mullenax is artist at large.



Strings on the Kings Preparty

The Crescent City Combo will perform at 7 p.m. May 19 at Chelsea’s in downtown Eureka Springs. Visit for info.

Categories: Music