With Folk Festival Out, Stone Bank Plans Virtual Concert From Mountain View

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How do you satisfy your mandolin mania and dulcimer devotion when COVID-19 has canceled the Arkansas Folk Festival for 2020?

If you’re Stone Bank, based in the state’s folk music epicenter, Mountain View, you turn your cabin fever into an homage to “the music that has been synonymous” with the town: Cabin Fever 2020, a virtual concert streaming online at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

The concert, which will be available live at www.cabinfever.stonebank.com and posted later on Stone Bank’s YouTube channel, will feature Dave Smith, host “Ozarks Highlands Radio,” and some of north Arkansas’ finest folk musicians.

Along with Mountain View’s Mark Jones, a regular on the radio program, produced by the Ozark Folk Center in town, the program will include Grace Stormont, Love Holler, the Bow Tanglers and The Gravel Yard Bluegrass Band, not to mention Pam Setser, guitarist Ed Nicholson and mandolin player Stan D’Aubin.

“After the annual Arkansas Folk Festival was postponed and eventually canceled, we decided we had to get creative and try to honor the music that has become synonymous with Mountain View,” said Kevin Compton, chairman of Stone Bank, said in a statement.

Kirby Williams, the former marketing man and now a Stone Bank executive vice president, described how the idea took form. “We have a relationship with Ozarks Highlands Radio, which airs on over 130 public and community radio stations all across the country,” Williams said. “We help sponsor their national broadcast and their weekly broadcast on KUAR, the Little Rock NPR affiliate.”

The one-hour Highlands show features musical performances past and present and tidbits on Ozarks cultural history and traditions.

Daren Dortin, the radio show’s executive producer, helped select the performers for the virtual concert.

“We are soliciting donations to the Committee of One Hundred for the Ozark Folk Center,” said Williams. The committee promotes the Folk Center in its mission to preserve the folk culture of the Ozarks. “Just like other venues and parks, the Ozark Folk Center has had to curtail its season of scheduled concerts,” said Williams. Donations may be made by check to: Committee of 100, P O Box 2111, Mountain View AR 72560. 

Mark Jones is an accomplished claw-hammer banjo player, storyteller and sound engineer with a long history at the folk center. His grandfather was the legendary banjo picker and Hee Haw comic Grandpa Jones. Love Holler is an old-time string band from Batesville comprising twins Emma and Caroline Russell and their dad. The Bow Tanglers are Everett and Emily Elam, traditional Ozark fiddlers and storytellers. Grace Stormont blends folk, old time music and gospel with jazz, appealing to a diverse audience.

Gravel Yard Bluegrass Band, formed in a gravel lot near Mountain View’s square, is a regional favorite; Pam Setser, proficient on guitar and mountain dulcimer, grew up on the Ozark Folk Center stage, playing with her parents. Guitarist Ed Nicholson, who retired as a top public relations official with Tyson Foods Inc., will play with mandolin master Stan D’Aubin, who in his other life is a senior engineer at Bernhard TME in Fayetteville.