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Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Free Range Conversations Episode 2: Boultinghouse Uses Music City Connections to Revive Rison Festival

By meerna Jul11,2024
Free Range Conversations Episode 2: Boultinghouse Uses Music City Connections to Revive Rison Festival

RISON — When the Rison in the Fall festival began to fade and was in dire need of a new lease on life, Douglas Boultinghouse used his connections in the Nashville music scene to transform the event into one of the region’s premier festivals.

Boultinghouse joins Roy Phillips, one of the original creators of Rison in the Fall, to discuss the sea change that event brought about in this episode of the Cleveland County Herald’s Free Range Conversations podcast.

Free Range Conversations can be streamed on most podcast platforms, including Spotify, Apples and more. People can also listen online via a link at clevelandcountyherald.com. Rison in the Fall began in 1990 as an event to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the city of Rison. Phillips said he helped then-Mayor Bill Ripling and others create the event.

“Everyone loved it so much they wanted to do it again the next year,” Phillips said.

Since the centennial celebration can only happen once, Phillips said a contest was held to name the festival with the goal of making it an annual event. The name chosen was “Rison in the Fall.”

After nearly 30 years of running the festival as essentially a barbecue cooking competition, Phillips began to notice a decline in attendance and participation. That prompted him to recruit what he calls “younger blood” to shake things up.

In 2019, Phillips approached Boultinghouse about taking over the organization and transformed the festival into a music festival, leveraging his contacts in Music City.

Boultinghouse, who is a graphic designer and the Herald’s circulation manager, said he has attended many festivals throughout the state and in other states, especially in Tennessee. He saw other small towns doing similar things and took on the task of organizing one of those music festivals here in Rison.

“I feel lucky to have been able to attend so many events and connect with so many people over the last 15 years,” he said.

By networking with artists, managers, and agents, he managed to attract Twitty and Lynn (2019), Julie Roberts (2021 and 2022), and David Nail (2023).

“A lot of work and time goes into creating this festival,” Boultinghouse said. “This podcast will give us a behind-the-scenes look at how some of the pieces come together for me and the Rison Shine volunteer team.” Listeners will learn how Boultinghouse’s background in graphic design and public relations for Roberts and other artists led her to come to Rison twice to help build the festival, working on events with legends like Reba McEntire, and the lasting impression this year’s guests Charles Esten and Rissi Palmer left on her years ago.

Boultinghouse also shares information on each of the artists scheduled to perform at this year’s festival, including Esten, Palmer, BIAS, Marybeth Byrd and Last Call.

Free Range Conversation will air new episodes every Wednesday.

By meerna

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