Chamber Announces Exciting News for Portfest Festival


The Newport Area Chamber of Commerce and Portfest Directors have exciting news for festival fans in Northeast, Arkansas. A revamped Portfest Festival will be coming to Jackson County on the second weekend of June 2017. The Portfest Directors, along with other volunteers, sponsors and representatives from the community, will be working over the next 18 months to develop a brand new look and feel for Portfest. Anticipated improvements include looking at a wider range of events, a broader reach with a variety of music and increased family entertainment options.

“When we learned that Riverfest, the state’s largest festival, was moving to the weekend that Portfest has traditionally been held, we knew that some changes would be required. We felt that this was a good time to re-invent the festival with input from the sponsors and the community,” stated Julie Allen, director of the Newport Area Chamber of Commerce.

The group will gain input from the community that includes online surveys. Everyone is encouraged to participate in the survey, which can be found on the Portfest Facebook page or by clicking this link.

The Newport Area Chamber of Commerce and the Portfest Directors plan to unveil the new Portfest at a public event in late summer or early fall of 2016. “This planning year is going to allow us to create an exciting new atmosphere for Portfest,” explained Mayor David Stewart. “The festival has been a huge benefit to Newport and Jackson County, both from an entertainment and economic perspective. We look forward to making improvements that will extend those opportunities well into the future.”

Many loyal Portfest sponsors have agreed to continue their financial support during the planning year to both fund planning activities and to create the seed money for the re-inauguration of the festival in June of 2017.

“We are so appreciative of our sponsors that want to ensure the best possible festival for our community,” shared Melissa Watson, Portfest Treasurer. “Their continued support for this planning year and beyond shows how much community backing we have for Portfest. We can’t say enough about how much they’ve encouraged this process so that the people of Jackson County and northeast Arkansas can have a truly amazing festival.” The sponsors that have agreed to fund Portfest during the planning year so far include Arkansas Steel Associates, Merchants & Planters Bank, Unity Health Harris Medical Center, ASU-Newport, C&C Distributors, Geroge Kell Motors, Harris Ford, George’s of Newport, Lindley Health & Rehab, Jackson’s Funeral Home, CenterPoint Energy, Dillinger Funeral Home, FutureFuel Chemical Company, Iberiabank, Southwest Steel Processing, Hedge’s Portable Toilets, Shelter Insurance and R&D Fire Protection.

The Chamber urges members of the community to get involved in the process by taking the survey and letting their voice be heard. Chamber President Robert Summers said, “We are dedicated to making Portfest a more unique festival experience that will appeal to the broadest audience possible. Our plan is to develop an event that has something for everyone in our community. If we are as successful as the original founders of Portfest were, then we’ll look back 35 years from now and know we made some great improvements to the festival.”