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story.lead_photo.caption Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista Mortar tubes sit ready to go with an electronic ignition system wired up.

Bella Vistans packed into a park off Glasgow Road, just below the Loch Lomond dam for music, eats and a fireworks show last Tuesday, July 3.

A glance in any direction could catch kids playing, people dancing or families just relaxing in the surprisingly pleasant weather, complete with cloud cover and the occasional short shower.

In addition to the annual fireworks show, this year saw the first Bella Vista Blues Festival, put on by the Bella Vista Arts Council with financial assistance from the city's advertising and promotion commission, Discover Bella Vista. There was additional assistance from KUAF and the POA.

Dave Barfield, chairman for the council, said this concert was in the works for roughly six months.

Blues was chosen, he said, in part because there's good blues talent in the area but also because it is the quintessentially American style of music. It originated among enslaved Africans, he said, with roots predating the nation's independence. Over the years, he said, blues music has influenced nearly every other popular genre, including jazz and rock and even more contemporary rap and hip-hop.

"It's as American as apple pie and the flag," he said.

The council was able to get two local bands to play at the show, including Bentonville-based band the Downtown Livewires as well as the Cate Brothers, a well-known band that is from the Northwest Arkansas area.

"I think we're going to have some great music," Barfield said.

Roger Thomas, who sings and plays guitar with the Downtown Livewires, said he was excited to play. His band has opened with the Cate Brothers before, he said, and they have an album in the works that should be released in January of 2019.

While some people may think of the blues as slow music, he said, the vast majority of his band's performance is uptempo and lively.

Thomas said he was born and raised in Memphis, where anyone who picks up an instrument invariably plays the blues. He started playing rock, he said, but got more interested in blues as he got older.

The band is comprised of experienced performers and focuses on what he calls legacy blues, though they also produce some original tunes.

"We play 50- to 100-year-old blues," Thomas said. "The audience will get a complete array of blues ... there's nothing like it."

One visiting family, Daniel and Codie Ryan with two kids -- a four-year-old and an 18-month-old, said they were enjoying the music and the show.

"It's really fun," Daniel Ryan said. "I like the music ... it's quite a show."

The Bella Vista family has been coming out to the show the past four years, he said.

Codie Ryan said she enjoyed the show, but it's just another high point in this city.

"I love living in Bella Vista, it's becoming a great family place," she said.

General News on 07/11/2018

Print Headline: Bella Vistans enjoy blues, fireworks, Glasgow glows

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