FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — The 5th Annual Peacemaker Festival starts Friday (July 26) with performances by big names like Ryan Bingham and Robert Earl Keen.
The venue was almost moved because two months ago Riverfront Park was underwater, but the show will go on as planned.
Preparations are underway in downtown Fort Smith, and the festival was created after an idea was thought up over drinks.
“Jeff Gosey and I and Bill Neumeier were sitting at the bar one day drinking a beer and talking about how underutilized the facility down here is and what a great facility it is and what a great venue," Peacemaker Festival Director Jim Webb said.
Ever since then, Peacemaker’s home has been at Riverfront Park.
Historic flooding in May almost put that in jeopardy.
“I was concerned about two weeks ago," Webb said. "I drove down here, and the water was still lapping up on the grass right here. So, the water has receded a ton, but when I came down a few months ago the water was all the way up to the food vendors parking lot, it was crazy."
According to organizers, the city told them Riverfront Park would be ready in time for the festival.
A promise the city delivered on.
“There were some lamp posts that the city had to remove, but they will be covered, and there will be no issues. So, for the most part, I think we’re all good. It looks good, as you can see, we got the grass back. It’s not just mud and sand. I think we’re good," Peacemaker Festival Vice President Ricky Beauchamp said.
Signs of decay caused by flooding are evident, but organizers say there are no health concerns. The city sprayed the area and say it’s safe to kick off your shoes and enjoy the experience.
“We accept lawn chairs but don’t go crazy with them," Beauchamp said. "Your standard camping-style chair, don’t come in with some nine-foot inflatable chair I’ve seen. For the most part, bring your chair, bring a blanket, relax and enjoy the music."
All profits from the Peacemaker Festival are given back to the community via local non-profits.
5NEWS is a proud sponsor of this event.