By Jennifer Maxwell
Nashville. Motown. New York. Mountain View? Yep, the small Arkansas town in the Ozarks can hold its own against the nation’s famous music cities.
Traditional music is still alive and well here in the “Folk Music Capital of the World.” People have been creating music for generations by gathering in yards, on porches and in local music venues to “pick” and play off of each other. When the weather is warm, don’t be surprised to hear locals playing in the town square.
Since the 1960s, the Arkansas Folk Festival celebrates the music each spring in Mountain View while the Music Roots Program ensures we’ll hear the melodious sounds for generations still to come. The program connects area musicians with school children to teach them old songs on the traditional string folk instruments.
Where to Hear Music
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You don’t have to go far to find live music in Mountain View, in fact it’s all around you in this Arkansas town. The Ozark Folk Center State Park offers evening shows and special concerts of southern mountain music in its 1,000-seat theater while string bands regularly play at other outdoor stages throughout the park.
If you’re looking for an indoor venue, Mountain View has you covered there, too. Everything from gospel and country to folk and bluegrass is played at Jimmy Driftwood’s Barn, which draws musicians from all over the state as well as local musicians. A spring visit is ideal, especially if you can schedule it to coincide with either the Arkansas Folk Festival or the Mountain View Bluegrass Festival.
While You’re in Town
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A diet of nothing but music might sound great, but at some point, you need to eat, right? Get a slice of pizza at Tommy’s Famous Pizza, or grab a meal at local places like JoJo’s Catfish or Kin Folks Bar-B-Q. Then, head over to the Arkansas Craft Guild, the state’s largest craft cooperative, and its gallery in downtown Mountain View. While downtown, browse the antique shops and music stores—you’re sure to find plenty of souvenirs to commemorate your trip.
Outdoor enthusiasts visiting the town deep in the Ozarks have plenty to cheer about. Try your hand at the treetop adventure park and ropes course in the Ozark Folk Center State Park. Located about an hour from Little Rock, Mountain View gained its name honestly with mountains and rivers surrounding it. In between music sets, visitors can mountain bike nearby Syllamo Mountain Bike Trail, which was recently named a Top 20 outdoor destination by Outside Magazine. The 50-mile bike trail also earned the “Epic Ride” designation from the International Mountain Biking Association, sharing the status with just 36 other U.S. trails. Biking the trail should certainly top every cyclists’ to-do list while in town! Other local outdoor activities include exploring the caves at Blanchard Springs Cavern or fly fishing on the White River.
Music will bring you to Mountain View, Arkansas, but the rivers, bike trails, good food and even greater people will keep you coming back year after year.