CONWAY, Ark. (April 7, 2022) – After two years of a hybrid festival, Toad Suck Daze returns to downtown Conway in 2022 for a traditional, three-day event in its 41st year. Presenting sponsors Crain Hyundai and Crain Genesis of Conway, and Gainwell Technologies announced entertainment, programming and more than $40,000 in charitable contributions April 7.
Nashville-based, chart-topping songwriter Adam Hambrick was announced as the festival’s new creative director.
“Two years without a traditional festival gave us an opportunity to reimagine not only how we wanted to come back, but how we want to move forward,” said Conway Area Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Brad Lacy.
“Toad Suck Daze will still offer everything visitors love and expect. But we’re serious about building a foundation for and celebrating creative culture. Adam’s talent, connections, and love for Arkansas made him a perfect fit for this new role.”
In his role as creative director, Hambrick will advise on a number of cultural facets of the festival including boutique vendors, live music performances, and strategic partnerships.
“The word that I kept coming back to as I began working with the festival is ‘craft,'” Hambrick said. “As you’ll be able to see with some new additions this year, we have prioritized experiences that are craft-centric. Arkansas appreciates things that are well-crafted, and as we go forward, they are going to appreciate Toad Suck Daze for just that reason.”
A University of Central Arkansas alum and native of Arkansas and Mississippi, Hambrick moved to Tennessee in 2013. During his time in Nashville, Hambrick has written two No. 1 country radio hits — Dan + Shay’s “How Not To” and Justin Moore’s “Somebody Else Will” — had his own single “Rockin’ All Night” land on the Billboard Hot Country top 40, performed on ABC’s The Bachelorette, taken the stage at The Grand Ole Opry and has written songs recorded by some of Nashville’s biggest stars.
Friday night entertainment will feature country music group Josh Abbott Band. Two of their projects, Small Town Family Dream and Front Row Seat, scored top 10 debuts on the Billboard country albums chart, while five titles cracked the Billboard country singles lists, including a pair — “Oh, Tonight” with Kacey Musgraves; and “Wasn’t That Drunk,” with Carly Pearce — that represented the first chart appearance for the current female country stars.
Saturday night brings the Emmy Award-winning, Americana act Drew Holcomb to Conway. Holcomb and his band, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, have sold over 150,000 albums to date and played over 2,000 concert dates in 7 countries. Their latest album, Dragons, debuted at #1 Billboard Americana/Folk Albums, #1 Amazon New Albums, and #1 iTunes Singer-Songwriter Chart and led to a career spanning feature in which Rolling Stone declared Holcomb as “One of Americana’s Most Popular Stars.”
All festival entertainment is presented by Cherokee Casino & Hotel Roland. The Conway Convention & Visitors Bureau is this year’s main stage sponsor.
Toad Suck Daze Announces Partnership with Nashville’s Iconic Bluebird Cafe
One of the most celebrated live music venues in America is partnering with Arkansas’s largest festival.
“Toad Suck Daze presents The Bluebird Cafe” will take place on Thursday, April 28 at The Brick Room in downtown Conway. The songwriter show will serve as the climax to a two-day Toad Suck Daze Writers Retreat hosted at the University of Central Arkansas. The festival will also host a screening of the 2019 documentary “Bluebird” followed by a Q&A with longtime Bluebird Cafe GM Erika Nichols who is featured prominently in the film.
“Toad Suck Daze is the biggest festival in the state. That means Toad Suck Daze is no longer just Conway’s festival. It has the chance to become Arkansas’s festival. I believe my role is to think big, think creatively, and to build experiences into the weekend that will bring people back year after year” said festival creative director Adam Hambrick. “Through our partnership with Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe, we are showcasing the craft of songwriting, which of course is closest to my heart. We’ll be bringing some of the magic of The Bluebird Cafe to central Arkansas.”
The Bluebird Cafe is one of the most iconic music venues in America, known as a listening room where original music is performed by the writers themselves. Over 70,000 people visit The Bluebird Cafe every year — making a pilgrimage to occupy one of the 90 coveted seats at two daily shows.
To celebrate their 41st anniversary in 2022, for one night only, the Brick Room will be transformed into a Bluebird Cafe Songwriter’s Night. Attendees will hear four accomplished Nashville songwriters play the same songs they regularly play on the Bluebird stage in Nashville: Adam Hambrick, Kelly Archer, Andy Albert and Gordie Sampson
Tickets to the April 28 show are $50 and extremely limited. For information about reservations email Celeste.Suitt@ConwayArkansas.org.
Market at Parkway Crossing Brings Local Products, Experiences to TSD Shoppers
Visitors who come to Toad Suck Daze for shopping this year will notice an exciting new option — The First Arkansas Bank & Trust Market at Parkway Crossing is an immersive, outdoor, open-air market concept featuring locally-sourced products. Similar to markets in large cities and across Europe, the market will offer baked goods, canned and jar goods, fresh produce, meats and cheeses, unique artisan items and other foods.
Owner Roby Brock said that the market will provide a different environment to discover new products from across Arkansas.
“We’re excited about participating in Toad Suck Daze this year,” Brock said. “Conway is a vibrant, growing city and we hope to give residents and visitors some fun activities and original products in a one-of-a-kind atmosphere.”
In addition to approximately 2,000 square feet of tented retail space, The Market at Parkway Crossing will host programming that includes artists and artisans, craft brewing and food demonstrations, yoga classes, “how-to” workshops for kids and adults, and much more.
Toad Suck Daze regularly hosts more than 50 arts and craft vendors. Festival creative director Adam Hambrick says that the market is a progression of that tradition.
“Craft vendors have always been a big draw for Toad Suck Daze. They truly shape the atmosphere of any festival like ours,” said Hambrick. “This year First Arkansas Bank & Trust and The Market at Parkway Crossing are helping us raise those expectations for future festivals. We want visitors to not only leave with thoughtfully prepared or grown products. We want visitors to leave feeling proud of Arkansas’s talents and creativity.”
Toad Suck Daze Tinkerfest Activities
Established in 2018 in partnership with Acxiom, the Museum of Discovery, and the Conductor, Toad Suck Tinkerfest provides hands-on, educational activities that incorporate the elements of the STEAM educational curriculum: science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
Presented by Acxiom, this year’s Tinkerfest area will take up two city blocks and include these attractions:
- Museum of Discovery “Awesome Science” shows, Conway Symphony Orchestra “Instrument Petting Zoo”
- PBS Kids characters, sponsored by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield
- And dozens of other educational and fun stations.
The committee also announced more than $17,000 in scholarships to 13 Faulkner County students, a $20,000 contribution to the Conway Downtown Partnership to pay for 250 “hanging baskets”, and continued support of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.
Toad Suck Daze will take place April 29 through May 1 in downtown Conway. Toad Suck Daze is presented by Crain Hyundai and Crain Genesis of Conway, and Gainwell Technologies. For a full schedule of festival entertainment and other attractions, visit ToadSuck.org or Facebook.com/ToadSuckDaze.
About Toad Suck Daze
For more than 40 years, a central Arkansas festival with a quirky name has contributed more than $2 million to scholarships, scholarship endowments, preschool funding, and arts education. As Arkansas’s largest festival, Toad Suck Daze attracts more than 100,000 festivalgoers of all ages to downtown Conway the first weekend of May for national and local musical entertainment, food-on-a-stick, retail and arts-and-crafts vendors, and most notably, the World Championship Toad Races. For more information about Toad Suck Daze, visit toadsuck.org.