Date: July 30, 2022 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Steph Smith |
A bustling creative community and college-campus charm make these Northwest Arkansas towns a draw
Great food, authentic tunes, and a strong sense of community. What more do you need fora good time? This is the unofficial principle behind Fayetteville Roots Festival, which offers an impressive lineup of music and culinary programming. Founded by musicians Bernice and Bryan Hembree and restaurateur Jerrmy Gawthrop, the event is indicative of the collaborative spirit and creativity in the region.
Like many aspects of the Ozarks, the festival was born from humble beginnings: The Hembrees used to host house concerts for band friends passing through town. One night in 2010 they found themselves overbooked, and Jerrmy offered space at his then restaurant, Greenhouse Grille. “As soon as the weekend was over, we had people coming over saying please keep doing this; this is great,” Bernice says. Now in its 13th year, the Fayetteville Roots Festival boasts a powerhouse lineup of diverse songwriters at multiple venues August 25-27, plus year-round programming at its downtown Roots HQ and in partnership with KUAF.
The word “roots” speaks to the type of music you’ll hear—everything from folk and bluegrass to country, jazz, and more—as well as the kind of food you’ll find at the event. “Right out of the gate, instead of serving typical fest fare, we had local chefs doing all the food,”Jerrmy says. From there, the culinary element of the festival grew to include tastings, lectures, chef cook-offs, and, new this year, chef takeovers that invite local and visiting chefs to collaborate on special once-in-a-lifetime menus at Fayetteville restaurants.
With a $200 price tag on Thursday night’s VIP kick-off party, the team has been mindful of incorporating more accessible elements for the public, as well. For example, Taste & Talk is a free series of moderated conversations at the Fayetteville Public Library with chefs, farmers, and other industry professionals coupled with tastings following the discussions.
“Being able to make things happen and see friends and peers contributing to the fabric of the community here is so neat to see,” Jerrmy says of both the festival and the city’s ability to evolve. “We do love this town. We enjoy every time we’re on the road traveling, and we play music at some really great places, but there’s something special about coming back to Fayetteville,” Bernice says. For a schedule and more information about Fayetteville Roots Festival, visit fayettevilleroots.org. Read on for more of our favorite ways to discover Fayetteville & Springdale.
This year marks Romance Diamond’s (romancediamond.com) 20th anniversary in their Dickson Street location, and to celebrate they’re making the shop better than ever. While the storefront will be closed for a few weeks during renovations, appointments will still be available through their recently opened second location in Rogers as well as by phone. With a mixture of imported antiques, new home décor, tabletop wares, kitchen products, and gifts, a stop at The French Cottage (thefrenchcottageshop.com) is a shopping experience like no other. While this eclectic shop just celebrated its first anniversary, owner Jennifer Bronson’s iteration has a long history with customers in Fayetteville thanks to her mother-in-law’s well-known stores, French Quarter Antiques & Feather Your Nest.
Local Color Studio Gallery in Fayetteville offers art camps for kids as well as display space for artists.
Since opening in the spring, The Boardwalk Food Truck Court has quickly become a staple for outdoor dining in Springdale. Almost a dozen food trucks with rotating schedules make a wide variety of cuisine available seven days a week.
A wall painted by muralist Meg Bourne at Clothe Boutique.
Tickets are now on sale for the 2022-2023 Broadway season at Walton Arts Center (waltonartscenter.org), which kicks off withMy Fair Lady running August 9-14. Be sure to also check the schedule for the organization’s outdoor amphitheater in Rogers, The Walmart AMP, which brings the likes of Dierks Bentley, Incubus, and Keith Urban to the stage in August.