“We’ve been going at it for 15 years, and each year grows a little bigger and gets a little better and more organized. So yeah, we’re ready to do it.”
That’s Jeanette Bair of the Rock House Center for the Arts in Reeds Spring, MO, as she and her staff gear up to host the Rock House’s 15th Annual Summer Music Festival on Saturday June 1st. Gates open at 1:30, and the music starts at 2:15 pm at Flavie Lear Field, Reeds Spring’s municipal soccer field complex. The festival grounds at 22601 Main Street in Reeds Spring provide plenty of grassy area and plenty of parking space as well for the family friendly event. “We started (the festival) at the Rock House 15 years ago—and it outgrew our back yard,” says Bair. Lear Field is only about two blocks from the Rock House, near Reeds Spring City Hall. They plan for the event to run until 11:00pm.
Jeanette Bair purchased the zebra-rock structure (hence the name, “The Rock House”) a number of years ago. “We became a non-profit about six years ago, but we have been hosting house concerts—first at my art gallery and second at the Rock House—for 30 years. So we are well established. We’re all passionate about supporting the music not only in our area, but the music that comes through town.”
The Rock House conducts a singer-songwriter contest every year. Jeanette Bair explains, “We always kick off our festival with our singer-songwriter, who this year is Andy Haut of Springfield, Missouri. We get entries online, videos, audio. And I send those out to a panel of judges all over the country. They narrow it down to three.” Those three musicians compete at the Summer Music Festival, and the first-place winner gets to open the Festival the following year. Andy Haut was the winner in 2018, so he’ll be up first at this year’s event.
A half dozen regional favorites are featured during this year’s Festival, all of them bands. (Usually there are solo acts mixed in, but Andy Haut is the only solo performer.) They include Signal Ridge, a Lawrence, Kansas-based bluegrass group; the Creek Rocks from Springfield—Cindy Woolf and Mark Bilyeu—who will be joined by Jay and Mike Williamson; National Park Radio, the “modern-folk” bluegrass band from Harrison, Arkansas; Violet & the Undercurrents, an all-women group from Columbia, MO; and Kyle Reed & the Low Swinging Chariots, a New Orleans jazz-style ensemble from Norman, Oklahoma. Randall Shreve & the DeVilles will close the festival; Jeanette Bair calls them “theatrical and musical at the same time.”
There will be a variety of food vendors, Arts and Craft vendors, Beer vendors and a variety of drinks (alcohol and non-alcohol) for purchase on site. Bring your own lawn chairs and sunscreen and spend the day. There’s also a kid’s area, including a puppeteer from Oklahoma, Joann McMillan, who operates two programs featuring her puppets: Joann McMillan's Flying Heart Theatre, and Miss Fay's Touring Historical Marionette Theatre. Says Jeanette Bair, “She brings these beautiful puppets—the kids can all parade around with them.”
Advance tickets are available online at www.rockhousecenterforthearts.org before midnight TONIGHT (May 31) for $25; they’ll be $30 day-of-show, June 30, and at the gate. Kids 12 and under get in free.
For information call (417) 272-8386.