Maramec Spring Park is starting a new Summer Concert Series and it will officially kick off on Saturday, May 29, when the Short Round Stringband takes the stage from 6 to 8 p.m. in front of the historic Maramec Iron Furnace. Admission will be $20 per car, or free for those with a season pass.
“It will be something exciting and new,” said Wes Swee, assistant regional manager for the James Foundation, which operates the park. “I don’t think we’ve ever had an independent concert like this.”
The park will be setting up a concert stage directly in front of the iron furnace and there will be some limited seating at picnic tables in the area. Those planning to attend are encouraged to bring their own chairs.
“Everybody likes to come here to fish,” said Swee,” but we have a lot more to offer—history, hiking, and more. With the Summer Concert Series, we are trying to expand our audience a little more. The park is a perfect venue and we can do more than one big event a year.”
The Short Round Stringband is made up of members from across Missouri and one from Kansas. Members Kelly Wells and Ryan Spearman are from St. Louis, while Betse Ellis and Clark Wyatt come from Kansas City. Chris DeVictor is the band’s fifth member.
Spearman was a founding member of High on the Hog, and Ellis co-founded The Wilders, both roots bands with years of touring and multiple albums. With deep connections to old-time, country and Ozark tunes and songs, Short Round Stringband takes you on a moving journey through the sounds and stories of the American experience. Their hard driving fiddle tunes will get you out of your seat. Their vocal duets will bring a tear to your eye, and their song arrangements and presentations showcase a passion for the depth of tradition with a look to new creative paths. And in between all of that, you’ll laugh at their madcap humor.
“We recently played the Peaceful Bend Folk Festival near Steelville, and we are so excited to come back to the area to play the first concert of the new series at Maramec Spring Park,” Ellis said. “Our band plays good old time music and it’s good for dancing, singing along and merriment. With fiddle tunes, songs, and a bit of spontaneous comedy, it’s a fun time for everyone.”
Band members have graced such stages and festivals as Celtic Connections (Glasgow, Scotland), High Sierra, The Shetland Folk Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, The Northwest String Summit, Wintergrass, John Hartford Memorial Festival, Fayetteville Roots Festival, Grey Fox Festival, Wakarusa, Austin City Limits Festival, Hamawe Roots Festival (Belgium), Walnut Valley Festival, New Orleans Jazz Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Telluride Jazz Festival, The Sheldon Concert Hall (St Louis, MO), The Fox Theatre (Boulder, CO), and Carnegie Hall (Dunfermline, Scotland).
Swee says the park will host at least three more concerts, with dates to be announced. Refreshments will be available at the concert from Stumpwater Food Truck and Therefore Pizza, while Meramec Vineyards will offer wine and beer.