Music festivals don’t usually interest me unless a band I adore is playing or it means spending time with loved ones. Luckily, both reasons spurred me to attend the Harvest Music Festival at Mulberry Mountain in Ozark, Arkansas. A lot of music venues are too crowded or too stimulating for my tastes, but Mulberry Mountain had space to spare and plenty to see other than the stages and booths. There was ample parking, lots of open space, and seemingly hundreds of campers enjoying three days of freedom.
After arriving and finding my friends who I’ve known and loved since birth, we hiked a short, but rough trail to a beautiful blue-green swimming hole. I’d previously agreed to jump into the water not expecting the drop to be too severe. However after stripping down to my skivvies(I hadn’t packed a swim suit) and watching my friends jump first, my legs did not want to move off that ledge. It looked to be about 20 feet down and with malfunctioning legs the descent seemed a little dangerous. My friends hollered at me and people near by started a count down, so in the face of peer pressure I jumped. Surprisingly the jump was quite fun aside from a wedgie in the wrong place and a small cut on my toe. The water was just right for the unseasonable warmth. I’m so glad I jumped.
The band was Elephant Revival, a Colorado quintet of folk, gypsy, rock, and alternative music with sound bouncing back and forth between soulful and mellow to funky and upbeat. With instruments that include a washboard, banjo, musical saw and mandolin you can expect to hear music that will delight your senses. Among their dazzling set they played two of my favorite songs “Down To The Sea” and “Ring Around The Moon“. Guest musicians joined them on stage for various songs and they even had some beatboxing thrown in. You’ve got to hear them for yourself; check out their tour schedule to see when they will perform near you.
Many people attended with their finest clothes, dressed up as unicorns, dancing with hula hoops, walking with creatures on their heads, and expressing themselves with an array of happy colors. This played in nicely with the green trees that slowly were turning to autumn colors.
I didn’t want to leave my friends or the beauty of the mountain, but all good things eventually end so new goodness can come our way. Early Sunday morning before leaving I took a solo hike down to the river and came across an unexpected gift. A kid with the same name of a beloved friend walked my way and offered me a fragrant stick of incense. On the way back up we met again and finished the hike up together. Before departing he gave me a book to read and a CD to borrow. I’ve just started the book, a parable of sorts, and plan on listening to the CD once I shut this tablet down. It’s such a joy to randomly meet pleasant people who give without needing to receive. I felt at peace with leaving, though part of that was from a serious lack of sleep.
Did I mention the bands continue to play long after midnight and fellow concert goers continue to play music and set off fireworks until 7am? As they kept me awake for much of the night I reminded myself that these people were not trying to be rude, but only celebrating life and that kept me from opening up my tent flap and yelling at them to knock it off. 🙂
Sidenote: On the road to Harvest Festival, my friend and I stopped at Rick’s Bakery in Fayetteville. They had delicious pumpkin donuts that had actual flavor, not just the expected sweetness of most donuts. Their coffee was good too and if you are caffeine sensitive like me than you know how difficult finding quality decaf can be when you’re traveling. Rick’s is more than bakery, it’s also a funky gift shop with a cafe and clean restrooms. Definitely worth a stop if you’re traveling through.
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