The 22nd Annual Depot Days Music Festival is set to take place Saturday, September 26 on historic Front Street in downtown Newport, Arkansas. Part of the Monster Nights Downtown Entertainment Series, the festival is a showcase of local, regional, and national talent paying tribute to the early history of Rock and Roll. Music begins at 11:30 a.m. concluding at 9:30 p.m. on the Terry Scoggins Memorial Stage in the Front Street Park. Please note that the festival will be following the directives of the Arkansas Department of Health for outdoor events. Masks must be worn while moving about the park but can be removed once seated. Spectators may sit with a family group, but social distancing of at least six feet will be required from other patrons. All events will be held outdoors this year and admission is free.
One of the most electrifying bands in the South, The Memphis All-Stars, generate energy and excitement everywhere they perform. From R&B, to Rock ‘n’ Roll, to any music your ear can imagine, The Memphis All-Stars will keep you on the dance floor all night long. They are truly the definition of “Memphis Music.”
The Zyndall Raney Band features veteran performers playing early rock, old country, blues, gospel, jazz and Big Band numbers. The band includes the George D. Hays Foundation and Music Hall of Fame inductee Zyndall Raney; Doug Greeno, who played in Jackson County night spots since the 1950s, Marcus Grady, lead guitar and vocals; Bill Lewis, bass guitar, and Donna Lewis, vocals; Mike Gio, drums; and vocalist Bill Davis who dresses as a popular 1950s Memphis rock-and-roller.
Guitarist Michael Walker, a Newport native who moved to Dallas in 1989, will share his love for the electric guitar with riveting sounds of blues and smooth jazz. In 2013 Michael was signed to the Spectra Jazz label as a solo artist. He delivered his debut album, “A Smoother You” which earned him praise and respect from his peers in the Jazz world. In 2018 Michael graced released another CD “Daylight.”
Brick Fields recently won The Ozark Blues Society Blues Challenge and went on to represent Northwest Arkansas at the International Blues Competition in Memphis. There, in a field of over 260 performers, they advanced to the semi-finals and, as some say, put them in the top 40 of the best blues bands in the world. Based in Eureka Springs, Brick Fields have also won folk, songwriting and regional music awards.
Founded in 2009, the Side Street Steppers began as a simple duo unearthing rare and popular music from the 1920s and 30s. Dubbed the Golden Age of Gramophone Recording, the Steppers perform on vintage and homemade instruments with back stories about each song. The group has grown into a full-blown Memphis institution who have played over 1,000 shows and released four full-length studio recordings.
The Jimmy Dunham Family has been singing Gospel music for over 40 years. They have travelled throughout Arkansas and surrounding states playing at churches, theaters, reunions, and any place folks want to hear their country-style gospel music with a twist of “Rockin’ Gospel.” The family has become a staple at Depot Days and it is a privilege to welcome them back.
Old U.S. Highway 67, which runs through the heart of Newport and Jackson County, was the home for dozens of roadhouses and nightclubs which hosted early shows by rock pioneers in the 1950’s and 60’s. Music legends such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and Sonny Burgess all frequented the venues along the highway when Rock music was in its’ infancy. Festival goers from Europe, Australia, and all over the U.S. make annual pilgrimages to Front Street to catch a glimpse of living legends from the 50’s as well as younger generations of musicians who were inspired by the elders.
The festival also offers food vendors, crafts, a BBQ cooking contest and much more. Coolers are welcome. Bring your lawn chairs. For more information, find Depot Days on Facebook, visit www.depotdays.org or contact the Newport Area Chamber of Commerce at 870-523-3618.
Get your Depot Days shirt through our online store! Shirts are $15 for adult sizes (Small through 5XL) and $12 for youth sizes (youth XSmall through youth XLarge). Choose from one of two shirt colors. Shirts are 100% cotton but are a Heather 50/50 blend which means they are true to size and should not shrink.
Order by September 9th to have yours before Depot Days! Pick up at the Newport Area Chamber of Commerce or have them shipped directly to your home (shipping fees apply). Shirts will not be available on site during Depot Days. However, the online store will remain open through October 2nd. Get yours today!