FORT SMITH — A torrential downpour caused a 45-minute delay of the second annual Festival on the Border, but it didn’t damper the spirits of some 11,000 fans waiting to get in the concert venue at Harry E. Kelley River Park. Ticket-holders stuck it out, umbrellas in hand, and were rewarded by a gutsy performance by country music star Justin Moore. Stoney LaRue opened up Thursday night’s (Sept. 6) show.
For a second-year event, attendance and involvement showed interest is growing. The festival was created to enhance a sense of community through music and the arts, as well as raise money for charities in the Fort Smith area.
Ten charities will benefit from the revenues generated by ticket and concession sales, with sponsors covering all of the performance and production expenses. Beneficiaries from the 2012 festival are the Arkansas/Oklahoma Alzheimer's Association, the Bost Foundation, the Children's Emergency Shelter, First Tee of Fort Smith, the Gregory Kistler Treatment Center, Good Samaritan Clinic, Helping Hands for Children, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Making a Difference One Kid at a Time and the Donald W. Reynolds Cancer Support House.
Arkansans and Oklahomans alike came out to see Arkansas' own Moore. He grew up singing in church. Moore said he decided to become a singer because he “didn't really want to do real work.”
Boy was he in for a surprise.
“Being an artist is more work than I ever imagined, but I love what I do and I get to make money doing it,” he said.
Starting a family has caused Moore to have to tweak his schedule and his content.
“We did 180 shows last year and are doing 160 this year and hope to do 120 next year. I also have had to make changes in the types of songs I sing and the words I write,” he said.
While Moore’s concert was free (thanks to sponsor Cox Communications), tonight’s (Sept. 7) show featuring .38 Special has a minimal ticket price of $15 at the door. Gates open at 5 p.m. with opening act Durham scheduled to perform at 7 p.m.