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Smoky Hill Museum
Santa Stash 2017

40th Smoky Hill River Festival Revealed

Todd Pittenger - April 5, 2016 11:38 am

It is a landmark year for the arts in Salina. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Salina Arts and Humanities organization, the 40th anniversary of  the organization’s premier event the Smoky Hill River Festival, the 30th anniversary of the Smoky Hill Museum, which is where the organization is located.

Organizers Tuesday morning unveiled some of the plans for the 2016 Smoky Hill River Festival. The annual celebration of the arts this year is June 9th – June 12th in Oakdale Park.

Salina Arts and Humanities Director Brad Anderson gave all of the credit for the continued success of thee vent to the “seven staff members, twenty-two committees, and over 2,000 volunteers who work together to pull it off.”

The popular Festival Jam will get things started Thursday night. The Big Band Dance will be back again as well, Friday night inside the Bicentennial Center.

Along with the mainstays, there will be plenty of new things this year.

Arts Education Coordinator Stacy Ash tells KSAL News is excited about the entertainment this year. She tells KSAL News that the headliners won’t disappoint. They include:

  • Friday night Reckless Kelly – Led by brothers Willy on vocals and guitar and Cody Braun on vocals, fiddle, mandolin and harmonica, this band clearly loves their craft and brings that to the stage. As an alternative country-rock outfit, Reckless Kelly delivers a high energy live performance that will knock your boots right off with their heartfelt, outlaw country sound dashed with a hard-hitting rock-n- roll flavor.
  • Saturday night The Rocketboys – The Rocketboys sound reflects the Texas landscape from which they hail: vast yet sparse, desolate yet rich and abundant. Familiar lyrical themes of romance and love are often eschewed in favor of songs of brotherhood, family, life, and death. The band has a dynamic musical array, from guitar and keyboard-rich anthems to gentle, ethereal whispers. Hit TV shows like (Glee, and One Tree Hill,) have channeled the bands thematic energy. Reviews often highlight the bands parity to textural acts such as Band of Horses and Death Cab for Cutie while retaining the mass appeal of Coldplay, and The Verve.
  • Sunday final act SUNU – Since 2007, the outstanding musical outfit known as SUNU has been consistently delivering what is described as A wall of drums, horns, and funk. Employing West-African percussion such as djembe and dunun, combined with a trio of powerhouse horns and a driving rhythm section, allows the band to mix elements of Afrobeat, funk, jazz, and R&B. This potent stew of pure soul keeps SUNU regarded as one of the most in-demand acts in the Lawrence and Kansas City areas.

Ash says that food this year also won’t disappoint. New food for festival goers to sampe will include:

  • Chicken and Waffles
  • Fried Oyster
  • Turkey Strawberry Sliders
  • Fried Cheese Curds
  • Grilled Pork Mac n Cheese

There will again this year be a medallion search in the days leading up to the festival. It will begin on Friday, May 27th, with an event and concert during the noon hour from Lawrence band Truckstop Honeymoon at the Eric Stein Stage in Oakdale Park where the first clue will be released.  After that, two clues will be released daily, at 7:30 in the morning and 5:30 in the evening, until the medallion is found.

Smoky Hill River Festival Buttons go on sale May 1st. They will be sold online, and in multiple cities around the region including Salina.

Online: Smoky Hill River Festival

Doug Clemens

April 6, 2016 at 7:58 am

All well and good but the entertainment is not even close to the entertainment when this first started when top name groups were featured. This brings up another matter of where is all the money going that is collected? I have not seen any complete accounting being published. You only see a couple of statements from the head of the arts but no accounting for every penny made or spent. All of a sudden the monies spent on top name groups is gone and groups that hardly anyone has heard of is replacing them at a great lesser cost. So where is that money going? Or a better question whose pocket since there is no accounting.

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