WORDS / ANNA VANHORN
Come October 16-18, the hills surrounding Mulberry Mountain will be alive with the sounds of guitars, mandolins, fiddles and upright bass. That’s right, the time for Yonder Mountain String Band’s Harvest Festival is again upon us. Any music lover should be thrilled with this year’s eclectic lineup, but those who prefer a little twang to their music should be extra excited about what this year has in store.
The Roots/Americana genre is not an easy one to describe because it is so multifaceted. Most closely related to folk music, the tunes featured at the fest also employ sounds borrowed from country, blues, zydeco, gospel, bluegrass and rock and roll. Many of the elements that shaped the sound throughout the genre’s evolution took place in the south and in some instances, more specifically the Ozarks. It is only fitting that Harvest Fest will once again be held at Mulberry Mountain nestled in the heart of the Ozark National Forrest.
The theme of the fest definitely leans towards Americana, bluegrass, roots and folk music, but this is not strictly an acoustic string fest. Plenty of today’s modern roots musicians are pushing the boundaries of the traditional genre by incorporating electric instruments, drums and alternative instrumentation. And, while the bulk of the performers do fall into a Roots/Americana category, this lineup also has Jam bands, funk/groove projects, electronica and straight up rock and roll thrown in for lots of variety.
When first started in 2006, this fest was known as the Mulberry Mountain Harvest Festival until 2010, when Yonder Mountain String Band and Pipeline Productions (the same folks that bring us Wakarusa) took the reins. What started as primarily a local event has grown into an occasion that brings in bands and fans from across the nation. With YMSB attached to the project, it’s no surprise that they act as the headliner of the festival.
In addition to YMSB, equally impressive bands such as Trampled by Turtles, Railroad Earth and the Carolina Chocolate Drops share the headlining duties. Other groups that will have fans flocking to the mountain are: Lettuce, The Devil Makes Three, Jerry Douglas Band, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstafunk, Tea Leaf Green, The Jayhawks and a slew of others.
Clearly, the music is the draw for an event of this nature, but it has to be mentioned that this will be the perfect time of year to grab your camping gear and spend a few days off the grid. Located on the Pig Trail (Hwy. 23), Mulberry Mountain serves as the perfect setting for a celebration of this nature. Vast scenic landscapes filled with the colors of autumn, surround the festival grounds providing breathtaking backdrops in literally any direction that you turn. The crisp fall air plays host to warm days that give way to chilly evenings and nights perfect for bundling up and sleeping outside.
While no two festivals are ever the same, those who have had the joy of experiencing Harvest Fest before can tell you that this one is special. Perhaps it’s the laid back nature of the music, the southern hospitality or the incredible beauty of the season and surroundings. But whatever the secret recipe for their success, it’s sure to make this year another that you won’t want to miss. If you haven’t already, make plans now to attend, and as the YMSB Harvest Fest “veterans” say, “See you on the mountain!”
For full lineup, schedule and ticket info, please visit http://yonderharvestfestival.com.