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Harvest Festival - 10/13/2011-10/16/2011: Mulberry Mountain  
Posted: 11 years ago by KindWeb Ed
Harvest Festival - 10/13/2011-10/16/2011:  Mulberry Mountain
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Going to the rolling foothills of the Arkansas countryside is a thrill on its own, even more so when there is bluegrass involve. Yonder Mountain String Band carries on the tradition of collecting their string loving friends for a weekend of knee slapping. Colorful hillside the view from the mountaintop was the backdrop for the entire weekend as the attendees filed in by the carloads for the highly anticipated fall festival. Gusty winds kicked off the weekend blowing in excitement for the music to begin. With headlining bands such as Yonder Mountain String Band, Railroad Earth, Bela Fleck, along countless more memorable appearances and collaborations. With yoga sessions and workshops with a mountainside view, there was more than just a dance that made the weekend. Recycling and garbage programs which created an environmentally friendly weekend. The amenities to Mulberry Mountain included a general store on site, vendors, shower houses, beautiful land to enjoy scenic views which were a package deal on top of the music. Music workshops were held along with question and answer sessions with some of the performing artists. This year also introduced the first annual, Fiddlin' and Pickin' contest. This gathering highlighted the family feel of the south with a child friendly festival including a whole area dedicated to the youngsters. The children's area included tumbling and dance lessons; with Quixotic fusion School of Performing Arts, face painting, art projects and more. Recreational activities including hiking, fishing, canoeing also an onsite disc golf course appeased outdoor enthusiasts looking to combine these passions with their love of music. Bands shaking the hills and a crowd enthused for the weekend began a stomping start to this bluegrass bonanza.

Thursday October 13th 2011
Literally blowing in the attendees with the crazy whipping wind the weekend was off to an unforgettable start. With the unique sounds of the Ben Miller Band hit the stage to kick off the Main Stage music. This band, from Joplin Missouri, mentioned the horrific tornado that just ravaged the area. This was a reminder of the intense weather that has blown in the area. Hyping up the crowd by saying, “We need some brass in this grass,” these guys kicked it up a notch. Washboard bass adding unique twang to the music. The most fascinating draw to this band was the variety of instrumentals used to create music that made you stomp. Their set included a cover of “What’s going on,” along with a version of, “Black Betty.”

The afternoon progressed with music erupting from all four stage areas of the festival. Mountain Sprout busting out the string movements on the main stage. Followed by Matthew and the Atbus, traveling all the way from Europe. Their down tempo mellow afternoon mood music was perfect to break in the day. A swaying crowd moved to the flowing sets of music. Corey Smith came out on stage with his soft rock infused string music. This artist showed his country boy combined with bluegrass talents. Sweet vocals blended with the instrumental talents coming from Georgia to be at Mulberry Mountain for this festival. A proud redneck singer and songwriter, expressing this by performing a song, ”Redneck in Me.” Music just kept flowing throughout the day as the first day was drifting by.

A blanket of fall colors and wisps of clouds closed out the first day transforming into evening. A picture perfect sunset was the sweetest treat as the night Progressed, Todd Snider took to the stage followed by an anticipated performance from Railroad Earth. Opening with guest appearance by Railroad Earth's Violin player; YMSB's Ben and Jeff and Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon and Great American Taxi. Lyrics smooth and fluid to an audience who grasped onto every chord and vocal. Banters of the 15 years Snider has been traveling around the country playing his music for whoever will listen. Silly lyrics and comments kept a crow hooked, “free your mind and your ass will flow.” Covers including a personalized touch were performed. Roars of applause and gratitude from the band to the audience members. Vocals linked the attendees to activities the crowd spent the whole weekend doing; having fun. A very powerful set was just the opening to the evening and the whole weekend.

Yonder Mountain String Band took to the stage for a hyped up bluegrass bash. The energy just flows from this Quartet. With a deafening applause the audience was anxious for this bands first set of the weekend would entail. The set began with “Cuckoo's Nest”, flowing through the first set with, “Dawn's Early Light,” into “Angel.” With silly banters and sounds vibrating the hills combined with the light of the stage competing only with the stars above. The set was what makes this festival such a powerful gathering. Guest appearances by Todd Snider on Guitar and Vince Herman on vocals were a highlight of the set. The crowd belted out along with the band to numbers like; “Looking Back Over My Shoulder,” “Snow on the Pines,” a Talking Heads cover, “Girlfriend is Better.” The perfection of the song choices with this set was a tease for the next two nights that YMSB would be performing. “Good Hearted Woman, ”Traffic Jam” into “After Midnight,” closed out the set. The night was far from over as the main stage shut down for the first night.

After an enthusiastic start to the evening from Yonder, Railroad Earth hit the stage to extend on the bluegrass melodies. The band members have such a powerful presence on the stage. They illuminate the Harvest Tent with their skills.  Opening their set with the number, ”Saddle of the Sun,” then moving through the set with energy and power. The audience moved and stomped through their whole set. Performing songs that was a buildup for the rest of the weekend. The set included; “The Hunting Song,” “Like a Buddha,” “Been Down This Road,” Water Fountain Quicksand, ”Mission Man.” The end of the set dwindled down with a gripping conclusion by this bands mastery bluegrass skills. “Warhead Boogie, ”My Sisters and Brothers,” then the tranquil end with “Jupiter and the 119,” into “Fiddlee.” Railroad Earth was a moving mid-night set for their first appearance of the weekend. The evening was covered by a sky spotted with bright stars as you stepped from the Harvest tent awaiting the next performance. The first day was now over and drifting into the early start of Friday. Split Lip Rayfield closed out the Harvest tent as the crowd lifted into the next full day of music.

Friday October 14th 2011
Awaking to the warm sunshine and the cool mountain breeze was a refreshing start to the day. The beauty of the surroundings and the moments captured with the music were a bright start to the second day on Mulberry Mountain. There was enthusiasm and an anxious feeling in the air for music to begin.

With the mid-day start at the Main stage area; there was plenty to fill the morning with. A stretch and flowing yoga session; Hoop sessions or mellow bluegrass bands kicking off the theme of the festival were all options to make the morning for attendees. The Main stage opened with an upbeat yet relaxed band from Lawrence, Kansas; Dumptruck Butterlips. Most noticeable of this band was the fun vocals that were comical and kept the crowd moving in the sunshine.

As the sun got warmer and the bands kept playing, the crowd was without a doubt enthused for the next performance. Reverend Payton's Big Damn Band came out with a bumping bass sounds and soulful style. The deep