WATCH | Valley of the Vapors: Organizers eye changing dates

Local band Cosmic Cream kicks off Saturday's performances at the 19th annual Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival at Cedar Glades Park. - Photo by Lance Brownfield of The Sentinel-Record.

The 19th annual Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival has come and gone on possibly the busiest weekend of the year for Hot Springs.

Taking place March 17-19, the event was just another draw to the city as the annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade, spring breaks and mountain bike racing on the Northwoods Trails all coincided to fill the streets of Hot Springs.

Event organizers at Low Key Arts say that while the festival was a success, they are considering the possibility of moving the event to another date next year. To ensure festivalgoers get to enjoy the nice springtime weather at Cedar Glades Park and to not compete with the parade, the group is looking to push it back a few weeks.

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"This arrangement has almost just become tradition," said Sonny Kay, executive director at Low Key Arts. "That VOV and the parade kind of go hand-in-hand. It worked when VOV was in town."

Since relocating from their old building on Arbor Street, Low Key Arts has held the three-day event in Cedar Glades Park for the past three years. This leaves them at the mercy of the unpredictable Arkansas weather and puts them a little farther out of town.

Billed as a stop for bands on their way to the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, rescheduling might also affect the typical lineup.

"We are really concerned with maintaining the quality of what we do and having it be enjoyable," Kay said. "We don't want it to feel like you have to endure it."

This year's acts included two Arkansas-based bands, Modeling from Fayetteville and Cosmic Cream of Hot Springs. Attracting bands from across the United States and Canada, the most distant band to make an appearance, The Foreign Resort, hails from Copenhagen, Denmark.

On top of days worth of independent music, the festival also boasts art, vendors, food and workshops.

As the parade just wrapped its 20th annual outing and VOV looks to celebrate two decades next year, the board of Low Key Arts has to make a decision whether or not they will change the dates, Kay said.

With some of the board members working for Visit Hot Springs, the organizers of the parade, Kay said they don't want the festival to "suffer at the expense of the parade or compete with the parade."

"I would say arguably that the parade and VOV are two of the most iconic things in Hot Springs on the calendar," he said. "And for one to effectively compete with the other, or ineffectively as the case may be, seems unnecessary. So, the time might be coming for a change in that equation."

  photo  Living Hour, a Winnipeg-based band, takes the stage on Saturday, March 18, as seen from the sound and video booth. - Photo by Lance Brownfield of The Sentinel-Record.
  photo  Sonny Kay, executive director of Low Key Arts, discusses the 19th annual Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival. - Photo by Lance Brownfield of The Sentinel-Record.