The third annual Great Unknown Festival, October 8 and 9, is shaping up to be one of the best festivals of the season. In a time with an abundance of festivals, most of which have quality acts, you have to have a unique twist to make an impression. The guys at Pipedream Productions have done an excellent job in setting the Great Unknown Festival apart from the rest. The lineup is a diverse multi-genre mix of music--jazz, funk, bluegrass, electronic, rock, folk, reggae, and hip-hop are all represented. Acts include Stockholm Syndrome, Grease Factor, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Melvin Sparks, and Mountain of Venus.

As it outgrew the original location last year, the party this year will be held on the banks of the Kings River outside of Eureka Springs Arkansas. Still in the Ozark Mountains, and still less than an hour from Fayetteville, the new location will capture the musical allure for which these hills are renowned. The benefits of the new location include a larger area, river access (with canoeing, kayaking, and fishing), close proximity to the mountain retreat of Eureka Springs, and the ability to play music until the sun comes up.

Jerry Joseph with Stockholm Syndrome
By Jake Krolick
In true Great Unknown fashion, this year's lineup is unique, as it includes some of today's greatest players in slightly obscure bands. The Stockholm Syndrome will headline. A conception of Jerry Joseph and Dave Schools, this band has created a lot of buzz since their first show back in May. They have proven themselves with a worldwide tour and the release of their debut album Holy Happy Hour. Joining Jerry and Dave are Eric McFadden, Wally Ingram, and Danny Dziuk.

Another notable band is the Grease Factor. Jeff Sipe (aka "Apt Q-258") fell in love with the Great Unknown Festival when he played the fist one, and vowed to be a part of all future gatherings. This year he brings his team of power players, billed as the Grease Factor. Not even a year old, this band has been blowing minds across the country. Shane Theriot (Neville Brothers), Johnny Neel (Allman Brothers, Blue Floyd), Derek Jones (Nickel Creek), and Count M'Butu (Aquarium Rescue Unit), join Sipe (ARU, Leftover Salmon) in creating amazing improvisational music. About 60 percent of each show is music created on the fly, and with the talent of each player, the end result is spectacular. Col. Bruce Hampton has billed it "a deep funk and southern soul experiment from planet jazz."

Adding to the lineup of supergroups is the Unknown Allstars. This band was put together by Pipedream Productions and includes true world-class talent. Jeff Sipe and Count M'Butu will handle the percussion, with Bobby Vega (Sly and the Family Stone, Tower of Power, KVHW) bringing his bass to solidify the rhythm section. Vega is no stranger to the hills of Northwest Arkansas--he's been respecting this musical vortex since he first played the area with Zero over eight years ago. The distinguished gentleman (Grammy award winner) Leo Nocentelli (original Meters) will be featured on the guitar and Bernie Worrell (Parliament, Talking Heads) will round it out on the keyboards. There will also be plenty of special guests making it a true Unknown Allstars jam.

Emmy Award winner Jim Hinde will be the master of ceremonies, and the rest of the lineup will include Melvin Sparks Band, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Brothers Past, Addison Groove Project, Moonshine Still, Speakeasy, Mountain of Venus, Eckobase, Flipoff Pirates, Shanti Groove, Future Rock, and Bockman's Euphio. This genre-crossing lineup will be sure to keep your attention as the day turns to dusk, and the night turns to dawn. Remarkable food, interesting exhibits, and late night parades will be added bonuses.

Advance tickets can be purchased right here on JamBase, and more information can be found at

Michael Saba
JamBase | Arkansas
Go See Live Music!

[Published on: 8/31/04]

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