Apr 12, 2024 - Things to Do

NWA musicians launch new venue and festival

Illustration of posters and flyers with emojis on them, stapled to a telephone pole.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

If you show up to NWA's newest music festival and don't know anyone, you will by the time you leave. At least, that's what organizers want.

State of play: Fayetteville musicians and husband-wife Dana Louise Idlet and Noah Richmond are ready to debut Old Friend Farms and the Old Friends Music Festival.

The intrigue: The Old Friends lineup features artists of various genres from NWA and around the country. The goal is to keep it intimate — only about 300 tickets will be sold — and for artists to meet each other and connect.

  • The idea is to "blur lines between performer and festivalgoer," Richmond told Axios. "We want everyone to feel like both a little bit."
  • The three-day event May 24-26 includes two nights of camping. It's an unplugged, cash-only, kid-friendly festival with workshops and other activities.

How it happened: Idlet and Richmond bought 120 acres just south of Prairie Grove and spent four years developing it, even living in a van on the land for a while. The festival, however, came together pretty quickly.

  • "Anyone we started talking to about it wanted to be involved somehow, and it's just been impossible to say no to all the goodness coming our direction," Idlet said.

Zoom out: Beyond the festival dates, Old Friend Farms will regularly host concerts, trail-building days, nature walks and weddings.

  • Similar to the vibe of the festival, concerts at Old Friend Farms will be curated "listening experiences" without so much separation between musicians onstage and an audience, Idlet said.

If you go: Get festival tickets and check out non-festival events.

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