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Chapter 3.5 | The Rhythms

Music is deeply ingrained in the soul of Eureka Springs.


The town's rich musical heritage, from traditional folk and bluegrass to music festivals, Blues Weekend, Opera, Drumming in the Park and an overall vibrant live music scene that, even still, gives rhythm to our community.

Everyday music fills the air and pulses through the veins of this artistic community. From toe-tapping blues to soul-stirring folk melodies, Eureka Springs has become a haven for musicians seeking a platform to showcase their talents.


This rich musical heritage stretches back decades. It all began in the 1960s when a wave of counterculture swept across the nation, and artists and musicians found solace in the town's bohemian atmosphere. The combination of its natural beauty and welcoming community served as a magnet, drawing in talented musicians who sought a place to express themselves.

Opal Agafia

One of the pivotal moments in Eureka Springs' musical journey was the establishment of the Ozark Mountain Folk Fair in 1963. This annual event, held in the picturesque Basin Spring Park, became a magnet for folk musicians from across the country. It showcased the power of grassroots music, bringing together local talents and renowned performers in an intimate setting. The Folk Fair laid the foundation for the town's reputation as a music destination.


In the following years, Eureka Springs continued to evolve as a hotbed for live music. The legendary Basin Park Hotel played a crucial role in nurturing emerging talent and hosting renowned acts. Its historic Barefoot Ballroom became a stomping ground for musicians, drawing crowds who craved authentic, live performances.


Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony (IPFAC), held its first session in the summer of 1950 and today, IPFAC is what we now know as Opera in the Ozarks at Inspiration Point - an annual summer opera festival and nationally recognized opera training program. Each Summer Season provides opportunities for budding opera performers and the residents and visitors to experience wonderful opera. The Walton Family Foundation recently announced that it will be providing a $34 million grant to support a new theater building for Opera in the Ozarks, funding the design and construction of a facility to attract the best of a new generation of aspiring singers and musicians.


The Auditorium – or as we locals like to call it, The Aud – hosts local, national and international talent spanning a wide variety of genres.

The AUD in Eureka Springs, Arkansas

The first performance in The Auditorium was John Phillip Sousa and his 67-piece band. That performance paved the way for Eureka Springs to present the “stars” of today. Some of the stars that have graced The AUD’s stage include Willie Nelson, BB King, Bo Diddly, Buddy Guy, Merle Haggard, Jefferson Starship, John Hammond, John Mayall, Koko Taylor, Levon Helm, Ray Charles, Melissa Etheridge, Lyle Lovett and Amy Grant, Dwight Yoakam, Ani DiFranco and Arlo Guthrie – to name just a few.


Today, Eureka Springs boasts a thriving live music scene that caters to diverse tastes. The town's numerous venues, ranging from cozy bars and cafes to outdoor amphitheaters, offer a wide array of musical experiences. The historic AUD, with its stunning architecture, provides a grand setting for concerts and music festivals that attract both local and national acts.


The Farm is a campground & concert/event venue about 9 miles outside Eureka Springs, Arkansas.


It sits on 160 acres that backs up to Mark Twain National Forest. They offer year round camping with electric and water hook-ups available. There is general store as well as a shower/bathroom house onsite.


They also have a 3-mile mountain bike course that covers some beautiful, rocky terrain. Note: Beaver Lake, Table Rock Lake and the White River are all within 5 miles of this location. The White River offers the region’s best Trout Fishing and Beaver Lake is well known for its big Striped & Largemouth Bass.


The Farm offers 360 degree panoramic views of the heart of the Ozarks. In addition to being a campground, the venue also hosts multi-day music festivals, concerts, food competitions and more.

One of the most prominent music events in Eureka Springs has always been the Blues Weekend, held annually in June.


While this event did take a hiatus for some time, in 2023, it was revived as The Eureka Springs BluesRock and Funk Festival.


This four-day extravaganza celebrates the soulful sounds of the blues, featuring a lineup of talented artists who bring the audience to their feet. From electric guitar riffs to heart-wrenching vocals, the Blues Weekend transforms the town into a mecca for blues enthusiasts from all walks of life.


But it's not just the big events that make Eureka Springs a magnet for musicians. The town's welcoming community and supportive infrastructure have cultivated a nurturing environment for local talent to thrive. Recently, I wrote a blog-post entitled, Introducing Emo Jamgrass, which features the sounds of local musician Alex Hawf, and his new band, The Alex Hawf Revue.


The rhythmic beats and melodic harmonies echo from every corner of town. Musicians, both seasoned and emerging, fill the air with their passion, creating an atmosphere that is palpable and contagious. There are countless open mic nights and jam sessions allowing emerging artists to share their music with a receptive audience, honing their skills and gaining exposure.


Top locations in Eureka Springs, to experience top notch live music.







Eureka Springs has firmly established itself as a musical haven, a place where creativity and expression are cherished and celebrated. Check out, and join, this Facebook Group - The Underground Music Scene in Eureka Springs.


Chapter 4.5 is our next chapter in this five-part blog-series where we will celebrate our strong sense of community, with residents actively engaging in supporting and nurturing the creative arts. We will certainly take a moment to embrace the inclusivity and diversity which are integral to Eureka Springs' creative community along with the efforts made by artists and organizations to ensure that ALL voices are heard and that the community remains a welcoming space for artists from ALL backgrounds and ALL walks of life.

 

The Soulful Creativity of Eureka Springs is a five-part Blog-Series where we we aim to explore the spirit, heart, and soul of Eureka Springs' culture, delving into the boundless creativity that simply is life here. Beyond its natural beauty, our quaint town is home to a vibrant and wildly diverse creative community that thrives on artistic expression. Please enjoy!❤️

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