All Images: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press.
By Herb Ryan
Custer, SD – Last year after the well attended “Firefall ” concert on Pageant Hill, organizer and local musician Van Arp and his wife Rose McMackin knew that the following year would be bigger and better. The plan for the Southern Hills Music and Art Festival grew and shrank as money and ideas were tossed about between Van Arp and second year partner Kevin Teasley. Van and Rose share the lead singing in their band ” Pleasant Valley Sunday” and are both active in the Custer City and Custer Area Arts Council 2016 Summer Music Series.
Arp and Teasley both emphasized “that without the support of Custer City, the neighbors surrounding Pageant Hill, all 27 Bands that entertained pre-concert Saturday afternoon and countless festival workers and volunteers, the event would not have been possible.”
After a cold chilly Friday night opening For Brule’ and Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., Saturdays weather was most perfect, warm, sunshine and very little wind. The arts and food fair went off without a hitch and with 27 musical groups, pizza, walking tacos, mexican food, exotic meats, kettle corn beer wine and soda – a car show and that music all afternoon on four different stages, what more could you ask for.
The Spearfish band Max Temple pumped up the crowd for Eddie Money who bounced on stage and electrified the audience for the next hour and change. Typical of South Dakota, the audience came drifting in slowly and as night fell, a flood of people arrived, filling seats, bringing blankets and chairs and ready to rock and roll all night long. Arp and Teasley did not have to say a word once Money started playing, the smiles were huge, obvious relief that an event of this caliber had been pulled off in South Dakota knowing the Southern Hills Music and Art Festival would be back next year.