Girthapalooza Music Festival brings a full day of jamming to the lake

Vicki Wood
Robin Wilson.

A music festival has been taking place outside of Eldon for a few years, and is a hidden gem of local talent, as well as southern artists.

Rob Wilson, the festival’s organizer, and a talented musician in his own right, shares the origins of Girthapalooza and the unusual name. The festival will be held June 5 just outside of Eldon.

Girthapalooza is an annual local music bash hosted by Rob Wilson. He can currently be found playing solo shows as The Acoustic Mayhem of Rob Wilson, as a duo with Randy Jones in RnR, or with his band Weathered Soles with bassist Delbert Rowden and drummer Matt Hill. Delbert Rowden is an accomplished bassist, well known in the lake area driving the string beat for area bands for at least 25 years. Matt Hill, from the long time local HIll family of musicians echoes rhythms dating back through his family’s musical roots prior to the Great Depression, with family members, even a great grandmother strumming guitar as early as the 1900’s in Eastern Miller County. His father, Charlie Hill played with Monte Davidson through the 1970s in the lake area, and recorded with various Ozark artists at Audioloft Recording Studios in Linn Creek.

Wilson has been performing live entertainment for 25 years, yet remained a local mystery until appearing on Baub Eis’ Homegrown Show with his recently finished cd that was featured on KRMS Radio 93.5FM in April with his band Weathered Soles. Sure, he was well known to the fans of various blues and rock festivals popping up in the mid Missouri area, and even down to the Northwest Arkansas region. But these musicfests are usually followed by a regular crowd, akin to “deadheads.” The rest of us remain relatively oblivious to the underground style festivals with multiple bands, tent or RV camping, fire rings, and hanging out in a relaxed environment. Flow artists are usually performing during these events. Wilson welcomes any such artists to Girthapalooza.

What is a flow artist? Pure visual entertainment! Upon research, it's an art that should be exciting to experience.

Poi & Staff spinning, hula hoop (or “hooping”), contact juggling, sphere manipulation and fan dance are some forms of flow art. New props and expressions are emerging all the time as flow artists cross pollinate with martial arts, yoga, circus, belly dance, and beyond. Circus arts at a music show? Sign me up!

Snobby Ostrich.

The name of the festival-Girthapalooza is attributed to Wilson’s roots with local bands. The band that he was in at the time the festival was originally kicked off was named 3 Inch Girth. That group has disbanded, but the title for the festival stuck.

Girthapalooza will be stopping by 11 p.m. out of respect for the few neighbors within earshot. A bonfire and open acoustic jam will finish the night. This year's music will feature The Acoustic Mayhem of Rob Wilson, Jason Kemp, Dylan Kane, Phantom Sam, Weathered Soles, and Snobby Ostrich. Past events have featured flow artists, fire performers, and fireworks. Jason Kemp and Dylan Kane are both performers from Northwest Arkansas, and both present a modern style of blues on acoustic guitar with some electronic piano and haunting harmonica melodies. Dylan Kane is an artist that one could sit and listen to for hours with his solo acoustic guitar and mellow voice.

Dylan Kane reveals an enchanted escape through his art of merging alternative compositions with a heart wrenching, old school blues As a self-taught musician, Dylan Kane showcases his thrilling talent through his versatility, expanding his range from electric guitar to bass, mandolin, piano, harmonica and banjos. The musician continues to experiment with fluid genres with his back-porch-gypsy-rumble-boogie-blues style, writing lyrics that reflect the beautiful voice hidden within our souls.

He matches the diligence of other artists in the industry, such as Nils Fram and Devil Makes Three, through his harmonic revelations and rhythmic sensitivity that expresses how he experiences the world.

The singer-songwriter and musician released his most influential single “Medicine Man” in 2020, and his latest single “Crows Fly In Heaven” is being well-received by his listeners. Written by Dylan Kane at the age of 17, “Medicine Man” depicts the struggles with one’s mental and physical health, including addiction, laced with progressive and ethereal melodies. The artist aspires to continue penning down verses that help his listeners gain hope to overcome their concerns.

Phantom Sam is from Lebanon, with members: lead vocal/guitar, Taylor Addis;

guitar, Josh Carter; drums, Chadwick Maag; bass, Levi Haven.

 Snobby Ostrich appeared recently at a somewhat underground music festival at the 4 Strong Winds Gathering at Versailles.

Admission is free and camping is allowed, although primitive, there are no hookups. BYOB for refreshments, none will be sold on site. No firearms or dogs. Come support local music! Info can be found at facebook/Girthapalooza Directions to the festival grounds are Hwy. 52 towards Versailles. Turn left on Admire Road right after Quaker Industries, turn on Hickernutt Road (second road on the left). Located five minutes from Eldon.