Dustin Bartholomew, Fayetteville Flyer
Since 1990, some incredible singer-songwriters, including well-known names in folk, bluegrass, and blues, have performed acoustic shows for small audiences in an old house venue in downtown Fayetteville called GoodFolk Productions.
Soon, however, GoodFolk will be looking for a new home.
Venue operator Mike Shirkey, who also hosts KUAF’s “The Pickin’ Post” radio show, recently sent an email to the GoodFolk newsletter group hinting at an upcoming move from the current location at 229 N. Block Ave.
From the newsletter:
Trent Wagler of The Steel Wheels band commented recently that playing at GoodFolk fit like a well worn glove…a baseball mitt. Felt real good, he said. Well, now it’s time to move to a new playing field. Yep, the concerts here will be coming to a close this May. All the great memories come flooding back…but more on that another time.
Shirkey told us, however, that GoodFolk could operate at its current location for a little longer than that.
“The last show will probably be an outdoor performance with Slaid Cleaves,” he said. “That’s not ’til June, though, and I’ve got a pretty full schedule until then.”
He said that extensive repairs needed on the old house will require him to find a new place to host the GoodFolk concerts.
Shirkey, who won the 2011 Governor’s Arts Folklife Award for his work at GoodFolk, has hosted shows at other venues before including the Walton Arts Center and the Benton County School of the Arts High School in Rogers.
A new permanent venue could turn out to be a good thing for GoodFolk, but locals accustomed to shows at the the old house on Block Avenue say the intimate atmosphere will be difficult to replicate.
“It is one of the best rooms we’ve ever played in the country,” said Bryan Hembree, guitar player for local band 3 Penny Acre. “The sound is great, and to have 70 people so intent and listening, it’s just incredible.”
Shirkey said the five shows listed on the GoodFolk calendar are set to take place at the current location, as well as any shows added between now and the final show with Slaid Cleaves.
Here’s hoping that the new space will capture at least a portion of the magic that has made GoodFolk such a well-loved venue for musicians, as well as for concert-goers, for the last 22 years.