Hill slide causes detours for some Wakarusa festival patrons

A hill slide in Franklin County has closed a portion of Arkansas Highway 23 and will affect travel from the north to Mulberry Mountain during the Wakarusa music festival June 4-7.

Patrons must use Interstate 40 to Arkansas 23 at Ozark to access the festival site. That means anyone planning to take the Pig Trail Scenic Byway from Fayetteville must change their route, and take Interstate 49 to Interstate 40 and then Arkansas 23.

A section of road was closed along Fly Gap Mountain north of Cass last week after a slope supporting the roadbed on the east side of the highway slid and caused large cracks to form in the northbound and southbound travel lanes, rendering both impassable.

Officials said there are about 10 cracks in the highway, each about 8 inches wide and possibly several feet deep across 700 linear feet of roadway. With the foundation undermined, officials said, the stretch of road is at risk of sliding off the hillside.

Wakarusa officials said all resources and staff will be moved to the South Toll along Arkansas 23, and the number of check lanes will be increased to accommodate the additional traffic. Organizers are hopeful that the detour will add only 20-30 minutes of travel time for most festival patrons.

Over 140 artists are scheduled to play at Wakarusa this year, including The Roots, Ben Harper, and Major Lazer. See the full lineup here.

Officials said it could be months before the road is open, which means patrons of this year’s Thunder on the Mountain country music festival will likely need to use the same detour to access Mulberry Mountain on June 26-28.