The pandemic brought hard challenges to both artists and the venues who present them. The Friends of Historic Boonville and the Big Muddy committee simply couldn’t reconcile to a second year’s cancellation, but it is still with some trepidation that we target the festival to this fall, indoors in historic Thespian Hall. The festival will still feature a tribute to co-founder and beloved musician, Cathy Barton Para.
In early March 2020, we were somewhat surprised to consider cancelling the festival for the first time ever, but the decision quickly became more obvious as the year unfolded, considering the tight indoor seating of 600 and the average age of attendants. We thought surely it would be over in a year and simply planned to book the same festival roster and program for April 2021. As the year was ending our confidence dissolved, and during committee Zoom meetings we discussed possibilities of an outdoor festival in the summer as well as a return to the hall in the fall. We now more confidently keep our fingers crossed. Thespian Hall has always been the prime reason for doing the festival. Readers of Missouri Life magazine last year voted the Big Muddy their favorite music festival, and we are committed to bringing it back for years to come.
Times were not kind to the festival roster, however. Life happens, thankfully, and schedules have shifted like the currents in a river bed, and that leaves us in the process of putting together a new program. David Lynne Grimes, an old friend of Cathy’s, Dave’s and Bob Dyer’s, will be able to come as planned, bringing his sweet voice, inventive guitar mastery and his mercurial rapport. Still planned as well is a musical revue of the show “Gumbo Bottoms,” for which Cathy wrote the songs in collaboration with Meredith Ludwig. It will feature as many cast members of the show as possible. Returning from 2003 is “Harmony”, a trio from Mountain View, Ark., which includes Robert and Mary Gillihan, two of the first people Cathy got to know when she started spending so much time there in the early 1970s. Plenty of friends out there are happy to make a musical tribute to Cathy. Other performers will be announced soon.
the Soundings and the schedule are to be announced.
Archives of previous festivals