The Jesus Man Gospel Band will open the 2013 Fall Festival Friday night in Van Buren.
The bluegrass gospel band from Fort Smith with a focus on prison ministry will perform from 7 to 9 p.m. at the depot on Main Street in historic downtown.
Members include Michelle Brasher, mandolin; Wendall Brodie, dobro and bass; Lane Carter, guitar, harmonica and vocals; Johnny Clayton, banjo and harmonica; Danny Cross, vocals; Tom Daigle, banjo; Del Hampton, lead vocals, mandolin and spoons; Dan Hill, fiddle; Andy Sudigala, washtub bass and guitar; and Jan Taylor, guitar.
Fall Festival is sponsored by The Old Town Merchants Association.
Arts and crafts booths will line Main Street both Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m., according to Patricia Howard of TOTMA.
Other activities include A&M excursion train rides at 10:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday and the pancake breakfast at 6 a.m. Saturday at the Van Buren Masonic Lodge No. 6 at 18 Fayetteville Road.
Eddy Raven, known for his Cajun-influenced country music, will be the featured entertainer during Fall Festival. Raven, who has been a eecording artist since 1962, will perform at 7:10 p.m. Saturday.
Festival goers are urged to bring their own lawn chairs as seating will be limited for the free concert, Howard said.
Born in Lafayette, La., Raven has charted more than 35 singles in his career, including the No. 1 hits “I Got Mexico,” “Shine, Shine, Shine,” “I’m Gonna Get You,” “Joe Knows How to Live,” “In a Letter to You” and “Bayou Boys.”
Raven had 17 consecutive Top Tens between 1984 and 1990.
He has written songs for a wide range of rock and country recording artists, including Elvis Costello, Johnny Cash, Kenny Chesney, Roy Orbison, George Jones, Toby Keith, Waylon Jennings, Lefty Frizzell, Carl Smith, Heather Myles, Brenda Lee, Don Gibson, Faron Young, Jack Greene, Gene Watson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Lorrie Morgan, Roy Acuff, Jerry Reed, Oak Ridge Boys, Connie Smith and Charlie Louvin.
He recently co-wrote the song “Cabo San Lucas” with Toby Keith that Keith recorded.
”Eddy Raven’s kind of music is rich in lyrical imagery and strong in artistic roots,” said Wes Turner, TOTMA president. “He has been writing and playing a mixture of rock, country, Cajun and blues since he was a Louisiana teenager.”
Opening for Raven will be Hannah Brown at 6:45 p.m. Oct. 12.
Saturday, Country Gospel Connection will play from 10 a.m. to noon, Brittany Hollis from noon to 1 p.m., Bill Flash from 1 to 2 p.m and Rebel Heart from 1 to 3:30 p.m.
Caleb Garrett will be on stage from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Lexi Gartman from 12:30 to 1 p.m. and Willin’ & Able from 1:30 to 3 p.m.