Tucked away in the lush and picturesque Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas, Eureka Springs has been a go-to vacation destination for almost two centuries. Upon arriving, you’ll realize why Eureka Springs is regularly ranked among the top American cities for artists, vacation goers, and weddings. The vibrant wilderness, combined with the historical architecture and locations, make for an unforgettable visual experience. In fact, the entire downtown area is steeped in such a rich history that the whole area is on The National Register of Historic Places. Things to do in Eureka Springs are more numerous than the historical locations. You’ll find unique restaurants, museums, art galleries, marketplaces, art emporiums, boutique shops and plenty of live entertainment. Eureka Springs is also a magnet for great festivals and events, covering themes such as blues music, jazz music, holiday celebrations, opera events, arts and antique shows and so much more.
One of the newer events making waves in the community is The Ozark Mountain Music Festival. Only in its third year, the festival has a dedicated following and feature music acts from all over the region. The festival is held at the beautiful 1905 Basin Park Hotel and spreads out over the first and sixth level. On the sixth level is where the party really gets started with the entire floor being dedicated to the festival. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a drink, meet new people, and listen to great original music from the region. The opening night of the festival features a unique and extremely enjoyable “Group Jam”. Artists and attendees alike are encouraged to take to the stage and to jam with each other. This is truly a great time for everyone involved. If you're a fan of live music, beautiful surroundings, fun activities, and meeting new people, then this is the ultimate music festival for you. ResortsandLodges.com interviewed Amanda Haley, Excutive Assistant and Director of Digital Marketing for the 1905 Basin Park Hotel and the 1886 Cresent Hotel & Spa, to talk about this great winter event.
RAL: Tell me a little bit about the event.
AH: We started in 2014, so this will mark the 3rd year of the festival. We attract people from all over the area and the festival has been gaining popularity each year. We are expecting to attract over 250 people this year to our fun and unique winter music festival. As far as the demographics go, we mainly see couples, singles, and groups of friends.
RAL: What makes the festival unique?
AH: The fact that it's an indoor music festival held in January is definitely unique. This is a time of year when there’s not a whole lot going on musically in the Northwest Arkansas area. All artists are selected from the nearby surrounding areas: Tulsa, Kansas City, Springfield, Fayetteville, etc. Eureka Springs is a pretty unique spot to visit by itself. Set in the Ozarks, the entire city of Eureka Springs is on the national historic registry of historic places. It’s a fun destination to visit for families, couples, outdoor enthusiasts, and weddings.
RAL: Walk me through a typical day at the festival?
AH: You're in an intimate environment, at the six-story 1905 Basin Park Hotel in the middle of downtown Eureka Springs. Music is all around throughout the hotel. Bands are performing on the 1st floor and in the 6th floor ballroom throughout the afternoon and evening. Thursday night kicks off the festival with "Friends of the Phamily" and music goes until midnight with an encouraged Midnight Jam for anyone who brings an instrument. Lots of people stay at the hotel, so throughout the weekend you will run into familiar faces of festival goers and have the chance to meet members of the bands as they go in and out of the hotel. As the evening goes on, the music gets more and more lively.
The 6th floor is really where the party is. The whole floor is dedicated to the festival with a large foyer area for drinks, merchandise, and hanging out. As you head to your left, you’ll see the Barefoot Ballroom, which can fit up to 250 people with wooden floors, a stage, and stained glass windows surrounding the entire room. The Basin Park Hotel has always been on the cutting edge of great music events, from the Eureka Springs’ Blues Festival, to when Levon Helm reunited ‘The Band’ to play a ten-year reunion show in our Barefoot Ballroom. Also on the 6th floor is the Lucky 7 Billiards and Bar, where attendees can lounge around in sofa-style chairs, play pool and other games as well as get specialty drinks. People come in causal to eccentric outfits and stomp and dance throughout the night. The hotel has a restaurant on the 1st floor, Balcony Bar and Restaurant, that overlooks downtown and serves food from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm. Late night pizza is available until 11:00 pm during the festival.
RAL: Tell me about the local lodging situation.
AH: Since the festival is at a hotel, the 1905 Basin Park Hotel offers two- and three-night lodging packages. Details about these offers can be found on the festival page. In addition, the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa is not far away and offers excellent accommodations and amenities. Try making your reservations in advance because our two hotels (Crescent & Basin) are typically sold out during this event weekend.
RAL: What does the event mean to the community?
AH: It's creating an event that normally would not exist in January (off season for Eureka Springs), so local businesses such as restaurants and hotels can hopefully gain some business as the festival grows from year to year.
RAL: Why should people come to The Ozark Mountain Music Festival?
AH: It's an easy getaway during the winter season, which can be a time when you feel like you need to get out and do something. Music brings people together and that's what we want to create. Having the festival event in downtown Eureka Springs allows people to have fun in an intimate environment and hear many bands across the weekend that you normally wouldn't get to see all together in one location.
For more information about The Ozark Mountain Music Festival, please visit their website.