The Set List
By Brian Washburn
Bikes, Blues & BBQ is this week … as if you already haven’t noticed the hundreds of motorcycles traveling the highways and Dickson, the sweet smell of barbecue drifting its way through Fayetteville and the smooth sound of the blues entering the ears of all that will allow it this week. This is the week most Northwest Arkansas residents look forward to all year, along with many visitors who make the trek from all over the nation to our little nook of the country for a great week of, you guessed it, Bikes Blues & BBQ.
But while the festival will prove to be a fun time by all those who will allow themselves to have a fun time (trust me, there are those who loathe the event and attempt to make their way out of town, which is a bit understandable), it can be vastly improved. I mean, take a look at where we are. Fayetteville, Ark., home of the University of Arkansas, filled with almost 20,000 college students roaming campus and Dickson Street. I think it’s time to make the annual tradition of Bikes, Blues & BBQ a bit more modern, if I do say so myself.
While I do commend the festival concert committee for getting bands that probably do appeal to their core audience, they forget the thousands of college kids who would love to see a few modern bands playing the festival. In the past couple of years, ZZ Top and the Allman Brothers have been extremely commendable selections that fit the occasion and multiple audiences. However, what would it have been like if they had gotten modern rock phenoms Kings of Leon to play the festival last year? It would have been difficult to get them this year considering KOL’s recent success and their jump in asking price. But they are not the only modern blues/southern rock band available. In fact, the festival organizers did a good job of scheduling popular modern acts like Benjamin Del Shreve and the Kory Montgomery Band (who is one of the most talented blues musicians in Arkansas).
The Bikes, Blues & BBQ festival will happen this weekend all over Fayetteville. Blackfoot and Molly Hatchet will be performing at The AMP Thursday, while The Marshall Tucker Band and Oreo Experience (a Jimi Hendrix cover band) will be performing at the same venue Friday. But for a real down home feel of the local Fayetteville music scene, check out the Walton Arts Center parking lot and the Randall Tyson Track Center, both of which will see performances by Fayetteville stalwarts Big Uns, Joe Giles and the Homewreckers, Benjamin Del Shreve, Kory Montgomery, Mo Brothers and the Eoff Brothers among others.
With the economy, it might not have been feasible this year for the biggest festival of the year in Fayetteville to bring in big name modern bands, but it would be a nice change of pace in the future, as well as draw in the thousands of students venturing to get their share of Bikes, Blues & BBQ.