CARTHAGE, Mo. — The sound
of music — country, western, bluegrass, mountain and folk — will fill
the Carthage square Saturday.
The sounds will be unadulterated. There will be no “ploi-nnngs” of
electric guitars and no thudding “boom-booms” of boosted bass that
shake you to your core. It will be just down-home music played with
guitars, fiddles, dobros, banjos, mandolins and basses.
The eighth annual Carthage Acoustic Music Festival is free to the
public. All you need to take is a lawn chair and an appreciation for
music played and sung as it originally was intended to be played, sung
Six bands have been booked to play for nine hours. H.J. “Jake”
Johnson, who has spearheaded the festival all these years, said the
professional groups start at 1 p.m. and end at 10 p.m.
They include the Farnum Family from Galena, Missouri, a longtime
favorite at Silver Dollar City, who will take the stage at 1 p.m.
On the Edge, based in the Baxter Springs, Kan., and Joplin area, will
play at 2 p.m. and again at 6 p.m. The group features an eclectic mix
of songs and styles, and a female singer who “is really good,”
according to Johnson.
The Vern Young Trio plays at 3 and 7 p.m. The 85-year-old Young sings
mountain and western ballads from the 1940s and 1950s, and is based in
Another Kansas group, the Alferd Packer Memorial String Band, of
Lawrence, will play two sessions — at 4 and 8 p.m. Along with two
fiddlers, a guitarist, a Dobro player and an accordion player, the
band serves up some comedic music featuring kazoos, whistles and
The Fabulous BRD’s are a
local group featuring Bob Novac as lead singer. They have appeared
numerous times at The Woodshed in Carthage, and will play at 5 p.m.
The final group, Baled
Green and Wired Tight, will perform at 9 p.m. The foursome includes
Lee Ann and Jack Sours from Neosho. The group plans to bring along a
caller with the hope of getting the audience to participate in contra
(Civil War-style) dancing in the street. It was a popular activity
last year, Johnson said.
In addition, the Alferd Packer Memorial String Band and the Vern Young
Trio also will play a pre-festival concert at 7 p.m. Friday in the old
Carthage High School auditorium. Tickets for the concert are $8.
One of the best parts of the festival, Johnson said, is the open stage
starting at 10 a.m. Saturday that allows amateur musicians to showcase
“That’s about as much fun as any of it,” Johnson said. “No electric
and no karaoke is permitted. Individuals are given 10 minutes to
perform, and two or more musicians are allowed 20 minutes.”
ArtCentral is sponsoring the acoustic festival this year and will have
a tent displaying artwork by several members. Funding is by the Helen
S. Boylan Foundation, with other considerations provided by the city
of Carthage, the Jasper County Commission and the Mornin’ Mail.
Johnson is owner of Heritage Publishing Co. and editor of the Mornin’
Plenty of shade awaits visitors to the square. I can think of no
better way to spend a Saturday than sitting in a comfortable chair,
listening to some real “folk” music and, when you’re hungry, grabbing
a hamburger or hot dog from the Exchange Club’s concession stand.