Review: DEFRANCE at Magic Springs Theme And Water Park

What did our critic think of DEFRANCE at Magic Springs Theme And Water Park?

By: Jun. 12, 2024
Review: DEFRANCE at Magic Springs Theme And Water Park
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Article written by Guest Writer Blake Woodson

It was a hot day with the heat index reaching 100 degrees for the kick-off of the 2024 Webmonster Concert Series at Magic Springs Theme and Water Park, 1701 East Grand Ave, in Hot Springs, with Arkansas band de France opening for the Spin Doctors Saturday, June 8. Still, what better place is there to watch an outdoor concert than at Magic Springs? You can play in the water and ride the rides with the wind blowing in your face for hours before the show starts. Then spread out your blanket or sit on your lawn chair on the grass inside the fences of the Timberwood Amphitheater, which Magic Springs had looking like some of the best Arkansas golf courses you can find. It is such an inviting venue to soak up the sun and some amazing music.  

  As hot as it was this second weekend in June, it was about to get even hotter on the Timberwood Amphitheater stage. One of the best bands in Arkansas and the south was about to melt the sunburnt faces of the estimated 1200 music fans who entered the gates for the first show of the season. It was a low turnout, but these music fans were in for a major treat. From the first note from Drew de France’s 1998 Fender Stratocaster that he bought with money made from showing sheep at different Arkansas fairs with FFA in 2001 when he was only 14 years old, the amazingly sweet and sultry sound captivated the audience for the entire set.  

Review: DEFRANCE at Magic Springs Theme And Water Park

For this performance, de France performed three brand new songs that were Billboard Hit quality, that they had never played before. In fact, not only have they never played them live, but they had also never played these songs together as a band before today. Drew de France, frontman for the band, told me earlier when I asked him when do they practice, he said they don’t.  Drew writes the songs, records them, and then sends them out to the band members to learn. Outside of the bass player, Connor “THE Bassist” Roach, who is the face of de France, the band is pretty much a revolving door of some of the best musicians this musically talented state has to offer. For this particular show, there was Joseph Fuller from Benton on Keys (you have to check out his YouTube video called “Orchestra of One” which shows how versatile on almost every instrument and his skillset as being one of the best around at all of these instruments), Mitchell Lowe from Camden on guitar (Mitchell sits in with Christine DeMeo on the regular so chances are if you love music, you have seen him and already know how great of a guitar player he is), and Daniel Curry from Camden on drums (Daniel was sitting in for the amazing Xavier Acklin, the de France regular drummer who had a previously planned family commitment, and didn’t miss a beat, pun intended).  These five where so tight and talented together that I hope it is the same lineup for the Night Ranger show at Magic Springs on August 17. If so, watch out Night Ranger

I have been a fan of de France since I saw them play in 2018 when they opened for Bon Jovi at Verizon Arena, now Simmons Bank Arena, in North Little Rock. They blew me away and since then, I have been fortunate enough to catch de France at other venues and become friends with the band.  Every time I see de France play they impress me more and more. Drew de France started the band in 2015, in the small South Arkansas town of Camden. Since that time the band has played almost 1,000 shows across the world.  They opened for some great bands including Foghat, Bon Jovi, Deep Purple, ZZ Top, Whiskey Myers, Robert Randolph, Shooter Jennings, Morris Day & The Time, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Living Colour and many others.   

Review: DEFRANCE at Magic Springs Theme And Water Park

On this afternoon, they opened for the Grammy Award and American Music Award Nominated Rock Band, Spin Doctors.  Not to take any credit away from this great Rock and Roll Band from the 90’s, but some people thought that de France was “a lot better than the Spin Doctors”.  According to Jimmy LeCompt who, in my opinion, is a music expert, said he was “pleasantly surprised by the opener for Spin Doctors. De France is a local that I had been meaning to check out. I honestly feel they stole the show!” LeCompt has promoted some of the best metal shows in the area and has a famous brother who played for a six-time Grammy Award nominated and two-time Grammy Award winning Arkansas Band.  

LeCompt was in attendance with his son, Craven, who was attending his first ever concert. I asked Craven what he thought, and he said, “Loud!’ 

Review: DEFRANCE at Magic Springs Theme And Water Park

To me it was one of the best sounding venues I had been to in a long time.  I would say it ranks up there, at least on this afternoon, in my top three produced shows.  The production team from Memphis, Pro Show Systems, had everyone sounding perfect.  They will be making all the bands sound amazing this summer. 

Now that I digress, let’s get back to the show at hand. Skarlett and Syla from Grady were attending their first concert and said that de France was “Awesome!” and “VERY AWESOME!” while having de France sign autographs.  Their mom thanked Drew de France for playing “age-appropriate songs.”  They all said that they will be back when de France opens for Night Ranger

Review: DEFRANCE at Magic Springs Theme And Water Park

  To get your tickets for the next de France concert or many of the other awesome bands jamming out at this venue, go to the Magic Springs website at https://magicsprings.com,  to get your day or season passes. Concerts are FREE with one-day admission or season pass! Reserved seating available for an additional fee. Reserved seating does not include park admission. For a full day of fun in the park plus a concert, purchase an all-day ticket. Do you just want to come to the concert? Get your concert ticket on the day of the show at the main gate starting at 6pm for ONLY $39.99 + tax! 

  Here is the 2024 Webmonster Concert Series schedule: 

  June 15 – Tracy Byrd with Big Shane Thornton (Country) 

June 22 – We The Kingdom (Contemporary Christian) 

June 29 – Pop Evil with special guest Drowning Pool (Rock) 

July 6 – Bone, Thugs N Harmony (Rap/Hip Hop) 

July 13 – P.O.D. (Christian nu metal) with The Mendenhall Experiment (Heavy Rock) 

July 20 – Zach Williams (Christian Rock) with Fox & Foal (Christian Folk) 

July 27 – Nate Smith with Tyler Kinch (Country) 

Aug. 3 – Hawthorne Heights and Lit (Rock) 

Aug. 10 – LECRAE (Christian Hip Hop) with Crutchfield (Christian Pop/Rock/Worship) 

Aug. 17 – Night Ranger (Hard Rock) with de France (Southern Rock) 

Aug. 24 – Roots & Boots – Aaron Tippin, Collin Raye, & Sammy Kershaw (Country) 

Sept. 1 – Banda La Chacaloza (Latin) 

Review: DEFRANCE at Magic Springs Theme And Water Park




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