Don't you love it when you stumble upon events that you couldn't have planned for? Those are always the best when they find you.
That's what happened when Hip-Hop Heavyweight J. Skinner went exploring and found himself smack dab in the middle of something awesome.
Words & Photos by J.Skinner
7th annual Block Street Block Party - May 21st - Fayetteville,Arkanasas
Over 40 bands on six stages, 150 local arts, crafts, business and non-profit booths, a dunk tank, bouncy castles, multiple local beer gardens, food trucks, and tons of other activities? Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon this gem nestled away in the beautiful Ozark Mountain city of Fayetteville for the 7th Annual Block St. Party!
The sunny and 75º weather could not have been more perfect for the and it was clearly the place to be as the streets were flooded with an estimated 12,000 patrons eager to check out offerings from local vendors that stretched up and down both sides of several city blocks.
As soon as I learned that downtown Fayetteville was home to Block Street Records, I knew where I would make my first stop. From the moment I walked through the doors of the locally owned independent record store, I knew that I had made the right choice. Owner Wade Ogle's love for music was apparent as I dug through the crates of rare vinyl that the shop specializes in. Wade later explained that the record store was his passion project after owning and operating JR's Lightbuld Club, a harolded local venue with over 25 years of rich live music history.
As much as I wanted to spend all day crate digging, I knew there was a lot more to see and my growling stomach was a clear reminder that I hadn't taken the time to eat before making the trip to Northwest Arkansas for the street festival. The hunt was on and I was determined to find the best of the best and the choices were plentiful. As I made my way through the swarms of people, I took note of the music that was accompanying me on my journey as it emanated from one of four stages, and thought to myself it was the perfect playlist for my mission.
I was soon awaken from my trance as I was greeted by a delicious aroma that stood out amongst the rest. I quickly pinpointed the source as my eyes located an especially long line in front of local food truck, Frickin Chicken. I have stood in some pretty long lines for fried chicken in my day and I was prepared to do it again here. To my delight, owner Clayton Scott and his crew were cranking out orders and the line dissipated much quicker than I expected. Even though they were swamped, Clayton made a point to come and speak with me about his business. I was blown away when I learned that his food truck had operating for only 9 months before converting to a brick and mortar and has seen continued success for the last 3 years.
Once I finished my meal (chicken, waffles, and fries) I turned my attention to the street vendors to see what more I could find. After a quick visit with May Bell Music, Bunlimited, Written, and our old friends at Rock City Kicks.
I decided to check out Silver Lining Street Boutique, a local pop-up shop specializing in funky, high-end women's street fashion. Owner; Lynna Dempsey, not only had a great eye for fashion, but was also very gracious and took several minutes to discuss her business despite being overrun with eager customers. She explained that having a mobile retail location allowed her to stand out from competitors while combining her love for travel with her passion for fashion.
After meeting hundreds more vendors I was ready to finish out my day with some live music. I made my way over to George's Majestic Lounge where Memphis based hard rock band Devour the Day were set to close out the day's festivities with a headlining performance.
Devour the Day took the stage to chants from a raucous crowd that was ready to rock and they were happy to oblige; opening with S.O.A.R. before leading into breakout single, Good Man. They continued to rock the crowd with offerings from both of their studio albums Time & Pressure and S.O.A.R. Before frontman Blake Allison took to the crowd with his signature stage dive and surf to conclude their performance.
You and Not Me
Block Street Block Party 2017 was a massive success and I am glad that I was able to take part in the festivites. This isn't an event that was on my radar going into Sunday but I assure you I will be putting BSBP 2018 on my calendar.