Friday, October 19, 2012

Fourth Annual Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, Folk and Roots Festival November 2-3

Urbana, Ill. (October 4, 2012) – Now in its fourth year, the Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots Festival (CUFRF) is coming to Downtown Urbana on November 2-3.

“Each year, the festival has gotten bigger and bigger,” explained Brenda Koenig, chair of the CUFRF steering committee. “The fall festival is a culmination of a year’s worth of planning by our committee and a number of concerts that have brought national and regional performers to the community. The annual festival is entertaining, hands-on, and accessible, which is what folk and roots music is all about.”

This year’s festival will host over 80 performers, artists, and storytellers celebrating American roots music, dance, and stories. This year's festival activities will also include jam sessions, dances, workshops, sing-a-longs, storytelling, and family activities.

“Champaign-Urbana is already a rich musical environment,” said Ed Hawkes, one of the organizers. “The Folk and Roots Festival brings in well-known national and international performers and it celebrates our local music scene as well.” A plethora of performers includes a turn-of-the 20th Century mandolin orchestra, folk, blues, and bluegrass, Klezmer music, and Irish fiddle music can be enjoyed within a few blocks of each other.

The Charleston, Illinois band, Resonation Station, will kick off the festival on Thursday, November 1, at Krannert Center’s UnCorked, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Singer-songwriter Robby Fulks heads the list of featured acts at this year’s festival that includes the Freighthoppers, Storyteller Mike Anderson, Canada’s Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra, Devil in the Woodpile, John Lilly, Blind Boy Paxton and Brandon Bailey, Mugdock Pipers, Red Tail Ring, Irish fiddler Rose Duffy, harmonica master Deak Harp, The Curses (jug, swing, blues), and The Blue Ribbon Revival.

A number of area artists performing at various venues include members of the Champaign-Urbana Singer/Songwriter’s Collective, Black Coffee Fridays, David Howie, Kevin Elliot, Almost “A” Quartet, accordianist Jay Landers; plus, a Nightjar Productions showcase with Gloria Roubal, Justin Rondin, Midas the Crow and Vivian McConnell, the Mugdock Pipers, The Shanties (Celtic), The Stay Gold Boys (rockabilly), The Young & Fretless, Emily Otnes, and Margaret O'Brien.

On Friday and Saturday, there will be a variety of jam sessions throughout the day. Bring your uke and jam with the Homebrew Ukulele Union. Free public workshops, sings, storytelling, and art sessions are also scheduled throughout the festival including instrument "how-tos", children’s activities, sing-a-longs, and community jams in a variety of styles. Scheduled dances include contra, Cajun, square, and folk styles.

A festival wristband costs $25 (children 12 and under are free) for access to all performance venues and activities. Tickets for single events, including dances, can be purchased at the door of the individual venues. Wristbands are available at Heartland Gallery and the CUFRF booth at the Urbana Farmers’ Market on Saturdays through October.

Visit for a complete schedule of events and performances, to purchase a wristband, to become a sponsor, or volunteer during the festival. The C-U Folk and Roots Festival is a not-for-profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to the promotion of accessible art forms and community building in East Central Illinois. In addition to many area sponsors, the festival funded in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council and the City of Urbana Public Arts Commission.