Music will fill the air next week, as the 50th anniversary of the Huckleberry Festival gets underway in Jay.

This year's event includes the first RFC Music Fest, at the newly constructed RFC Outdoor Stage, on the Robinett Family Center grounds.

Those concerts, which include a mixture of country and rock, will begin on Friday, June 30, and continues through midnight on Saturday, July 1.

For Jason Robinett, organizer, the 50th anniversary of Huckleberry Festival, seemed like a perfect time to debut a local music festival.

"We've got a pretty good set lined out," Robinett said, adding he used connections within the music business to bring in the acts for the two day event.

For Jay Chamber President Becki Farley, the music festival is a positive addition to the festival.

"We've always had music be a part of the festival," Farley said. "Every year we continue to have the gospel singing and the Huckleberry Jam at the community center."

Years ago, Farley said, the festival drew big names for concerts. She hopes the addition of the music festival will revitalize that tradition.

"We're hoping this gives us some entertainment at night and different things for folks to do," Farley said. "Hopefully every year, this will continue to grow, which will keep people coming back while bringing new people to our community."

The Struggle

The Grove-based band, The Struggle, will appear at the RFC Music Fest at 2 p.m., on Saturday, July 1.

The group includes Adam Smalley, bassist, Patrick Crawford, lead singer and guitarist, and Steve Suttle, drummer.

The three are all businessmen within the Grove area. Smalley owns Adam's Music, Crawford is an electrician, and Suttle owns Monarch Cabinets.

The band formed five years ago. It began with Smalley and Crawford, longtime friends. Suttle joined after the group "went through a few drummers."

Smalley said Suttle became available when the band was looking for a new drummer, so they "snagged him up" and he's been with the group ever since.

The Struggle is a classic rock band. Smalley said concert goers will see a "pretty action packed" set at the RFC Music Fest, filled with a variety of classic rock tunes.

The group derives its name through a unique story.

"We were struggling over our name, as we got started," Smalley said, adding the process eventually led the group to take the name The Struggle. "Finding our right name, it too no brains at all."

About the bands

On Friday, the event go from 6 p.m. to midnight and include Rick Lamb and the Phinaddicts, Read Southall Band and Travis Kidd, with special guest Johnny Dale Roberts.

Robinett said Rick Lamb and the Phinaddicts is a classic rock band, based in Springfield, Missouri, which often plays "trop-rock" or Jimmy Buffett style of music.

Read Southall Band is a red dirt band, while Travis Kidd is a "bluesy southern rock band" with a mixture of other sounds.

Friday's special guest, Johnny Dale Roberts will play between sets, as the bands tear down following their performances. On Saturday, Zachary Hall will do the same.

On Saturday, the music begins at 2 p.m. with The Struggle, a Grove based group that performs a mixture of classic rock. 

Night Train, a favorite casino venue band, will also perform a mixture of classic rock. Robinett said the group is one of the top casino bands within the area. 

Others slated to perform include Bryce Dicus and the Mercenaries, a red dirt/cover band and Confederate Railroad, a band who had multiple hits in the 1990s, will round out the day.

The 80s tribute hair band, Dead Metal Society, will finish the evening following the fireworks display, with an afterparty performance.

Robinett said he expects the fireworks to be "intense," saying he has enough room for 10-inch mortar rounds to be shot off. 

Robinett said this group was requested by fans, as they learned he was putting a show together for the festival.

Throughout the two day event, food vendors will be on hand. Beer will be available, however, Robinett said access will be strictly monitored. 

He hopes the festival will be a success. He's already planning a rock-fest to take place the Saturday before Halloween. 

"This is our community," Robinett said. "We want to be part of it, and give back. 

"We want to help it grow and continue to see where it goes."