Highberry originally began in 2010. It was a 2 day event that included one day at Chris Anderson’s house and the next at Jon Walker’s house (the Walker ranch) . What started as an invite only private party featuring local musical acts from the Northwest Arkansas area quickly grew in popularity.
The name Highberry came from a combination of the High Sierra Festival and Rothbury that typically occurred over the 4th of July weekend. We could not attend either event so we started our own, and combined the names thus the name Highberry was born.
Highberry is hosted by Deadhead Productions LLC. Event organizers and financers include Jon Walker, Chris Anderson, and Isaac Palmer.
2011 – The event was moved to Walker’s 30 acre ranch. The Schwag featuring Melvin Seals (from the Jerry Garcia band) headlined the event as well as some very popular acts from the Fayetteville Arkansas Music scene. It was a special event that really allowed for the bands to connect with their fans over a 2 day period.
2012 – The Schwag again headlined with Melvin Seals joining in once again. The vibe was even more special and the attendance grew to point that made it no longer possible to host Highberry at the Walker ranch. Melvin Seals commented that this was his favorite festival that he played all year long.
2013 – Highberry was turned into a public event. The location for the festival was moved to the Byrds Adventure Center in Ozark, Arkansas. The property sits on 800 acres and is perfect for small-to-medium festivals. The location is literally 7 miles away from the Wakarusa festival location. Byrd’s stage and camping areas are all just steps from the banks of the Mulberry — a floater’s favorite in Arkansas — and the Adventure Center offers complete outfitting services for anyone wishing to float while they’re on site. There is also a General Store on the grounds for guests and visitors who need adult beverages, small grocery or personal items. The 2013 event included Terrapin Flyer (featuring Tom Constanten – keyboardist from the Grateful Dead). It also included some of the top local acts in the area including Aaron Kamm & The One Drops, Tyrannosaurus Chicken, Freeverse, and Friends of the Phamily. Sadly, the Schwag could not headline the event as usual due to the incarceration of Jimmy Tebeau (the bassist for the Schwag). Jimmy was unfairly incarcerated in May of 2013. We impatiently wait for Jimmys return from federal prison with hopes that the Schwag can once again headline our beloved festival.
2014 – For the 5th consecutive year Highberry took place once again. Once again, a record Highberry crowd came out this year’s event. Keller Williams played two epic shows including a “by request” night, playing songs requested by the audience. Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band got the crowd moving. Forgotten Space delivered a delicious amount of the Grateful Dead music we love so much. Bluetech closed out the festival with his down tempo beats. It was a beautiful event full of beautiful people.
2015 – For the 6th consecutive year, the Highberry Festival once again went all out. The event was held at Byrd’s Adventure Center in Ozark, AR. There were 2 nights of incredible sets by Railroad Earth who headlined the event. We once again saw Keller Williams back for his 2nd consecutive year and he helped kick off the fireworks once again. Speaking of fireworks, it was an amazing 20 minute long display!! Other memorable mentions include an amazing set by Earphunk. The Schwag brought the Grateful Dead experience to life once again for their 3rd Highberry. Ott was a crowd please to close down an amazing weekend!
2016 – Highberry 2016 made its debut at Mulberry Mountain and it was one of the most epic events yet. Dopapod kicked off the event into Dopapod, and then the reclusive Buckethead making his first festival appearance in years. Papadosio and Wookiefoot laid it down to round out the night. Saturday night was an explosion of great bands sucjh as Cornmeal, Yonder Mountain String Band, and the up and coming Tauk. Sunday was the grand finale with Keller Williams, Kung Fu, and Forgotten Space.