El Dorado’s downtown arts district announces fall season lineup

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 182 views 

Murphy Arts District (MAD) in El Dorado has announced its fall lineup, including a wide range of musical acts and other performances through the end of the year.

The multi-venue arts district will have its grand opening Sept. 28-Oct. 1, with previously announced acts that include Brad Paisley, ZZ Top, Migos, Ludacris, Train and Smokey Robinson.

“I work with artist management teams around the country,” Mark Givens, vice president of entertainment and talent relations at MAD, said in a press release. “We’re looking for acts and headliners that people will respond to and may not have had the opportunity to see.”

A schedule of planned performances for October-December follows.


  • 5: Selah and Crabb in World Vision presents: “Your Love is Unbreakable Tour.” Selah is a contemporary Christian vocal trio that has sold more than 4 million albums, according to MAD. Jason Crabb in 2010 won a Grammy Award for Best Southern/country/bluegrass/gospel album. He has received nine Gospel Music Association Dove Awards and is the former lead singer of the Crabb Family group.
  • 20: Jerry Douglas presents the Earls of Leicester. The performance will feature Douglas, in addition to award-winning singer-songwriter, Arkansas native Shawn Camp, along with Charlie Cushman, Jeff White and Barry Bales. Douglas has won 14 Grammys, three American Music Awards, three Country Music Association Awards, 27 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, and honors in the National Endowment for the Arts and The Country Music Hall of Fame. James Taylor called Jerry Douglas the “Muhammad Ali of dobro players,” according to MAD.
  • 21: South Arkansas Orchestra presents Abbey Road featuring Jeans & Classics. The South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra is a 70-member professional orchestra that is widely recognized for its quality of music performances and programs. The orchestra will be performing alongside the Canadian rock band Jeans & Classics in performing all the songs in Abbey Road by the Beatles.
  • 28: Legends of Funk featuring Zapp with special guest Dazz & Brie. Known as the forefathers of G-Funk and West-Coast rap, Zapp was a mainstay on the rhythm & blues charts throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, according to MAD.


  • 1: The Beach Boys 2017 Wild Honey World Tour. The Beach Boys have sold more than 100 million records worldwide and are listed as #12 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 2004 list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time,” according to MAD.
  • 4: The Molly Ringwalds. The Molly Ringwalds, and ‘80s tribute bands, is known for its 1980s-era costumes, “state of the art production and world-class musicianship,” according to MAD.
  • 9: An Evening with Barrett Baber. Singer-songwriter and Arkansas native Barrett Baber finished third on NBC’s “The Voice” in 2015. MAD described the show as an “intimate performance with Barrett interacting with the crowd in a storytelling, acoustic setting.”
  • 9-12: El Dorado Film Festival. Events surrounding the El Dorado Film Festival will be split between the South Arkansas Arts Center and MAD. Now in its fourth year, the festival will showcase more than 50 films from throughout the world, according to MAD.
  • 10: The Legendary Pacers Band. Formed in 1955, The Legendary Pacers Band had five singles released through Sun Records. It was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame, the Arkansas Walk of Fame in Hot Springs and the Arkansas Entertainers Hall Of Fame.
  • 11: Dennis Quaid & the Sharks. Dennis Quaid has starred in Hollywood movies including “The Rookie,” “The Big Easy,” and as Jerry Lee Lewis in “Great Balls of Fire.” He has also been performing with his band the Sharks for the last 17 years.
  • 17: Incredible! Acrobats of China featuring the new Shanghai Circus. Presenting the award-winning Jinan Acrobatic Troupe, the Acrobats of China is “known for its cool precision, playful fun and daring feats of human performance art,” according to MAD.
  • 18: The 2017 Rockin’ Roadtrip Tour, featuring Fuel with special guest Dishwalla & Marcy Playground. Three ‘90s bands that “dominated the airwaves during the post-grunge era, selling millions of records (and tickets) along the way,” according to MAD. The bands will perform some of their greatest hits.


  • 9: Phil Vasser & Killie Pickler – A Christmas Tour. Country music artists Phil Vassar and Kellie Pickler will team up for this performance, which includes a new Christmas single, a duet called “The Naughty List.
  • 17: A Home Free Christmas. The country group Home Free won NBC’s “The Sing-Off” in 2013 and has since sold 250,000 albums, racked up more than 160 million YouTube views, according to MAD. Its new album debuted at No. 4 on Billboard magazine’s top country songs chart.
  • 31: A MAD New Year’s Eve with Windstorm. Windstorm is a Louisiana-based music group that “plays a wide range of soul, blues and R&B, infused with the pulse heightening beats of pop, hip hop and old-school funk,” according to MAD.

Run by the nonprofit El Dorado Festivals & Events, MAD has been in the works for six years. Its first phase, which cost $54 million, includes an outdoor amphitheater that seats about 8,000, a 2-acre children’s playground and splash pad, a 2,000-seat music hall, farm-to-table-concept restaurant and 200-seat cabaret theater will all open to the public Sept. 28.

The team plans soon to start raising tens of millions of dollars for Phase II, which will include a renovated 1920s era theater and an art museum.

Establishment of the entertainment district was largely driven by private investors, including the town’s three publicly traded companies, Murphy Oil, Murphy USA and Deltic Timber Corp.