Main Stage Performers
Crooked Willow is a Folk/Americana/Roots string band formed in friendship and connected through music, performing everything from a re-imagined cover of a Lady Gaga song through works composed by guitarist Tim Waller. Crooked Willow is made up of Elisi Smith doing lead vocals and performing on the tenor banjo; Dan Driesen on lead guitar; Tim Waller on vocals and guitar; Erik Hanson on bass; Kari Gallagher on fiddle; and Sylva Hanson on washboard.
Raised on Bible Hymns by her preacher father, Dead Horses front woman Sarah Vos’s backstory sounds more like that of an old bluesman from the Mississippi Delta than a young folk singer from Wisconsin. But despite their youth, the Milwaukee-based Americana trio has crafted a timeless sound, informed as much by modern folk as it is by the classics.
Since 1987, John Gorka has been one of the preeminent voices among America’s performing songwriters. Minnesota-based, he has toured widely across North America. His songs have been recorded by, among others, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Nanci Griffith, and Mary Black, and for good reason. John’s songs offer poignant commentary on the world we live in, bridging the gap between the personal and the political.
Kelley McRae & guitarist Matt Castelein have toured coast to coast in the US, played to packed rooms across Europe, sold-out the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, and continue to build a passionate following.
The duo’s repertoire includes haunting ballads, tender love songs, and energetic guitar-driven songs full of hope.
Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys (LLFB), earned their name on a late night at a Michigan Bluegrass festival. A fellow musician there proclaimed, “It’s good to see you Flatbellys out here pickin’ with us Greybeards.” An eclectic Americana band, LLFB developed their sound jamming
at open mics and music festivals around Michigan.
Paul Cebar is a songwriter, singer, guitarist and bandleader, whose music has its roots in African, Caribbean, and Latin American forms, as well as American jazz.
Cebar honed his sound in the mid-1970’s coffee house folk scene in Milwaukee. He was a member of the R & B Cadets, and then further developed his unique style fronting for the Milwaukeeans.
Patchouli is a not-to-be-missed musical duo, featuring the dazzling guitar work of Bruce Hecksel and the lovely voice and radiant presence of Julie Patchouli. Bruce is simply a master on the guitar; watching his fingers moving on the guitar fretboard itself would make a Patchouli performance memorable.
The sound of the Sawtooth Brothers is rooted in traditional bluegrass instrumental and harmony work and is influenced by modern acoustic sounds, blending pop and indie rock sensibilities with heartfelt Americana. They perform in a range of genres and forms, including creative original songs,
hard driving bluegrass, classic country, gospel, and classic rock.
Tom Kimmel, Sally Barris and Don Henry are three of Nashville’s finest singer-songwriters, best known for their compositions (writers for Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Trisha Yearwood, Miranda Lambert, Linda Ronstadt and dozens of others) and outstanding solo work (over a dozen albums among them). But real magic happens when the three unite on stage.
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Bluff Mountain Ramblers
Josh Rabie and Tim Foss play Old-time/bluegrass/country music from the Driftless area of Wisconsin.
The CheezLand Uke Band
The CheezLand Uke Band is a group of people with a passion for playing and learning to play the ukulele. While some members of the Uke Band perform at public events, many of the band’s members are more than happy to share the experience of the weekly Uke gatherings. The group is open to people of all levels of ability. The CheezLand Uke Band is riding a wave of Ukulele popularity that has been growing over the past decade. The Uke is fun. It’s easy to learn. It’s easy to play. It’s small. It’s portable. It’s inexpensive. It’s social. It makes people smile. It’s used to play all kinds of music.
CeAnna will lead a Latin and Salsa dance workshop on Sunday. She has been Latin dancing since 2009, competing in Bachata Latin Dance contests, and participating and leading salsa dance at the Latin Dance group in Rochester, Minn.
Grand Picnic String Band
La Crosse’s old time String band featuring Chuck Lee, Larry Dalton, Barb Dalton, Dave Skoloda, Judson Steinback, and Dan Brodrick.
Elizabeth Ghandour & The Heighburners
Fronted by Minneapolis singer-songwriter Elizabeth Ghandour, who began her musical career in theatre and pursuing opera. Elizabeth stumbled into New York’s folk music scene, her musical ambitions crystalized, and she moved back to the Twin Cities to pursue singing and writing.
Joining Ghandour are Twin Cities banjo player Johnny Kovarik, steel player Josh Braun, bassist Matt Palin and percussionist Jeremy Hauer. Blending the sounds of steel guitar, banjo, acoustic bass and percussion to support beautiful harmonized vocals, The Heighburners strive to modernize American folk music while remaining true to its gritty roots.
The Magic of Isaiah provides a fun, interactive comedy magic show for all ages. The show has plenty of audience participation, comedy and of course that special ingredient: magic. Watch for the Magic of Isaiah in the Children’s area.
Pigtown Fling String Band
La Crosse-based Pigtown Fling delivers a mix of Irish, old time, bluegrass, blues, and swing with Casey Barth on the mandolin, Jessie McDonald on the fiddle, Sherri Byrne on bass, and Barry Byrne on guitar.
Locals may have enjoyed them at the Root Note, the Bodega Brew Pub, or Pearl Street Brewery.
Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter Sarah Streitz brings a unique twist to the Americana label that best describes her sound. Country soul and blue rock-tinged, her songs are raw and honest and she performs with ease and attitude. Sarah will be joined by Park Evans on guitar and Josh Granowski on bass.
Sue Hulsether leads dances from American folk traditions guided by a passion for creating positive human connections. When Sue leads, she weaves dancing, singing and community into a joyful tapestry of music and movement. Under the spell of her energetic flair, warmth and clear instruction, groups of all sorts find themselves on their feet and eager to join in. Sue’s calm confidence manages groups large and small, stemming from years of calling dances and teaching people of all ages.
Since 2003, Sue has worked full-time as a dance caller and teaching artist, calling dances in barns, schools, community centers and parks around the Upper Midwest.
The Wide Awakes
The Wide Awakes (and friends) will be playing music from the movie O’ Brother Where Art Thou—a reprise of a series of O’ Brother Where Art Thou tribute concerts performed last winter.
The Wide Awakes call their sound “Northern Bluegrass.” The band is comprised of Tanner Brethorst, Dave Casey, Alex Meine, Ingrid Ogren, and Chris Peters.