Ronnie Hawkins to be honored during Fayetteville Roots Festival

Ronnie Hawkins

Photo: Tabercil, CC BY-SA 3.0

A rock and roll legend will be back in town for a homecoming of sorts at Fayetteville Roots Festival this year.

Former Fayettevillian Ronnie Hawkins, the artist and rock and roll pioneer known for his own work as well as for being the band leader that put together the group of musicians that would eventually become The Band, is set to make multiple appearances during the event.

According to a post on the festival Facebook page, Hawkins will appear at a public reception set for 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 23 at the Fayetteville Public Library. Later that evening, he’ll be honored on the main stage at the Fayetteville Town Center with the “Crazy Chester Award.”

Hawkins was born in Huntsville, Arkansas, and lived in Fayetteville for a number of years. While at college at the University of Arkansas, Hawkins formed his band, The Hawks, who became popular in Fayetteville and around the state. He eventually moved to Canada, but the musicians he left behind – Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson, Garth Hudson. Richard Manuel and Rick Danko – became one of the most beloved groups in rock history.

He was also the owner of the legendary Rockwood Club in south Fayetteville that is currently undergoing renovations to be re-born as a music venue.

The Hawks: Levon Helms, Will Pop Jones, Rebel Payne, and Robbie Robertson.

Photo: Courtesy, Hawk Productions

Hawkins’ appearance at the festival on Friday night coincides with performances by fellow local legends and longtime friends The Cate Brothers, and Amy Helm, daughter of his friend and former bandmate, Levon Helm. We predict a pretty magical moment that evening. Helm will perform at 6:10 p.m., and The Cate Brothers go on at 7:35 p.m. Hawkins will receive his award at around 8:35 p.m.

Fayetteville Roots Festival gets underway Wednesday night with a chef dinner in Bentonville. Fayetteville events begin Thursday at Pratt Place Inn, and run through the weekend at various locations around town.

For more info, including a full schedule of events for this year’s festival, visit