BY MELANIE BUCK –
The 40th annual Lum & Abner Festival will be hosted at Janssen Park this Friday and Saturday, June 2nd & 3rd, and country super group Ricochet will headline the event, with many other bands entertaining the crowds throughout both days of Mena’s premier festival. All concerts are presented to the public free of charge and all will take the Aleshire Electric Entertainment Stage in the center of Janssen Park, next to the historical log cabin.
The music will kick off on Friday at 12:30 p.m. with the Rose Family Band, a popular local Southern/Country Gospel group, comprised of multiple generations. The Rose Family Band has had gospel music in their family for more than 60 years.
At 2:30 p.m. on Friday, you’ll find Stella Dee, a local act including Laura Lawson and Jeri Dee Amason, both with powerful voices set to impress. Richie Owens will follow the ladies at 4:30 p.m., bringing his one-of-a-kind high-energy show that includes southern rock and country music.
The always popular Lana Gail and Gail Force will take the Aleshire Electric Entertainment Stage as the night’s opening act at 6:30 p.m. on Friday night. The group has entertained crowds across the world, and you are certain to enjoy their upbeat treatment of songs from yesterday and today.
Following the local acts, Ricochet is set to take the stage at 8:30 p.m. The band’s top country hits include “What Do I Know” and “Daddy’s Money.” Their distinctive musical style and intricate harmonies have made them one of the most popular vocal groups in country music. Since forming in 2004, Ricochet has won several distinguished awards from the Academy of Country Music, Billboard Magazine, and the Country Music Assocation. Known as the “hardest working band in country music,” Ricochet logs thousands of miles each year touring the United States and abroad, thrilling fans of all ages.
The music continues on Saturday, June 3rd, with Gatling + Hoffpauir, a popular local country/folk/blues musical duo, at 12:30 p.m. The Leon Page Band, a local country group, will take the stage at 2:30 p.m. and will be followed by Highway 31, a bluegrass band, and festival favorite, at 4:30 p.m.
Saturday’s opening act will be Fort Smith-based band, The Warewolves. They play a guitar-driven combination of red dirt, blues, country, and jazz, shaping a genre all their own. Tom Ware, leader of the band was a founding member of the band Razorback and helped lay the groundwork of the emergence of country/rock in the Nashville music scene in the 1980’s.
The final headliner of the festival will be The Crumbs, a bluegrass/folk trio based out of Fort Smith. The Crumbs’ unique mix of Americana, bluegrass, and modern folk music has been described to harken “back to the times when the iron men played wooden instruments.” A few of their musical influences include The Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Wood Brothers, The Del McCoury Band, and Steve Earle.
If you are looking for more than just musical entertainment, don’t worry, the 40th annual Lum & Abner Festival has something for everyone. To see what all is in store, check out the special Lum & Abner section in this edition of the Polk County Pulse. There, you will find events, times, locations, and more.