After Neumeier Death, A ‘Fort Smith Boy’ Steps Up To Help The Peacemaker Festival

Ryan Bingham, Photo courtesy of TB&P.

FORT SMITH, Ark. (TB&P) — The lineup for this year’s Peacemaker’s Festival seemed impressive, but ticket sales are the final arbiter. And the public has spoken. Most VIP tickets sold out within a few hours, setting sales records for the event now in its fifth year. It’s a welcome relief for organizers who just a few months ago were unsure of the festival’s future.

Work began on the lineup around October 2018, said Trent Goins, CEO of Fort Smith-based OK Foods and one of the three principal Peacemaker Festival founders. Jeff Gosey, with downtown Fort Smith food and music venues AJ’s Oyster House and Harry’s Downtown, and Bill Neumeier, owner of Papa’s Pizza and a longtime downtown music and event promoter were the other two.

And then Nov. 19 happened.

Neumeier committed suicide, ending, as his family noted, a decades-long battle with depression. He was 54. Goins and Gosey vowed to carry on the work and deliver a good musical lineup to Peacemaker. While they knew what Neumeier did was key to the success of the festival, they did not fully understand the complexity of connecting with artist agents, discussing fees, scheduling and other matters related to booking talent.

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