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Great River Folk Festival

40th Annual  ::  August 28 – 30, 2015  
Riverside Park  ::  La Crosse, Wisconsin


Watch for more 2015 Performers!

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Beth Wood and David Stoddard

Beth Wood is a modern-day troubadour and believer in the power of song. Her exceptional musicianship, crafty songwriting, and commanding stage presence have been winning over American audiences for eighteen years. Beth's music is soulful, organic, intelligent, barefoot, and high-energy – an invitation to joy.

Wisconsin native David Stoddard is a song writer, teacher, radio host, and nonstop, passionate promoter of independent music. He writes songs that examine the human condition. Sometimes, a little too closely. (Read More. . .and sample videos)

The CheezLand Uke Band

Cheez Land 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.

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Cory Chisel

Cory Chisel is an old believer. You can hear it in his music – there’s a wisdom beyond his years in that voice. You can see it in his story – the son of a preacher, sheltered from pop music, raised on hymns and Johnny Cash. “Mom played piano and organ, my dad did the preaching, the thing that my sister and I could add to the service was to sing.” As fate would have it, the kid was born to do it.
(Read more. . .)

Derek Olson

Derek Olson

Derek Olson is a songwriter from New Lisbon, Wisconsin. He won the 2014 Great River Folk Festival Song Writing and Performance Contest.

Don Harvey

Don D. Harvey

Don is an entertainer with acoustic guitar, harmonica and vocals. His style has been called everything from Contemporary Folk, Jazz, Acoustic Rock, Reggae, Blues, to Country and Singer/Songwriter. He can wow an audience with his miniature harmonica, wild and lively whistling , or quirky dance.

Don is an award winning songwriter who performs as a solo artist and also plays with the “Ultrasonic Duo.” He is also a former High School teacher and coach.

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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.

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Jillian Rae

Jillian Rae is a multi-talented violinist, lead vocalist, and songwriter whose creative and dynamic style of violin playing, along with her lifelong experience as a performer, lend her an assured stage presence. She has an innate ability to create hook-laden tunes affirming the positives of life in the face of struggle and disappointment. (Read More. . .and sample music)

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Luray is banjo-inspired indie rock fused with classic country and folk, created by Shannon Carey. Live, Shannon Carey is joined by multi-instrumentalist Sarah Gilberg on guitar, keyboard, and backing vocals and Wilfredo Morales on upright bass.
(Read more and sample music)

One Less Guitar

One Less Guitar

Ron Reimer’s accordion-based, guitarless trio featuring Ron on accordion, Sally Reimer on drums, and Terry Grosskopf on bass. One Less Guitar will be providing the dance music for the Winona International Folk Dancers.

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Peter Ostroushko & Dean Magraw

Peter Ostroushko has come to be regarded as one of the finest mandolin and fiddle players in acoustic music. Composer, arranger, producer, guitarist Dean Magraw has collaborated with some of the finest musicians in the United States, Europe, and Japan.
(Read more. . .)

PigTown Fling String Band(13K)

Pigtown Fling String Band

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.

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Runaway Dorothy

Folk band Runaway Dorothy’s sensibility is both rustic and refined – mining folk, country, and alt-country with a songs-first restraint as to leave ample space for the group’s captivating storyteller lyrics, mesmerizingly melancholy vocals, and achingly beautiful harmonies.
(Read more. . .)

Seasaw (13K)


Located on the edge of the Midwestern landscape, Seasaw is the alliance of two souls that push and pull in combination to produce a sound that is charismatic and powerful, yet deceptively simple. Bandmates since 2010, Meg Golz and Eve Wilczewski take turns leading and following in the musical spaces they have created. Residing in Madison, WI, Seasaw blends a compelling arrangement of instruments with distinct harmonies to create a charming and innovative folk-pop sound.

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String Ties

String Ties calls the hills of the upper Mississippi home, blending Bluegrass, Old-time Country, Swing, Gospel, and Folk into an engaging version of acoustic music – evoking nostalgia, love lost and found, moonshine hills, and sturdy shoes on a barn-dance floor. (Read More)

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Susan Werner

Susan Werner, no stranger to the Great River Folk Festival, is equally at home in a folk genre and in jazz and standards. A gifted songwriter, she brings a high level of energy to each performance. The Washington Post wrote of her, “Werner continues to compose sharp, funny, compassionate lyrics, a gift rare enough to set her apart,” while the Philadelphia Inquirer noted,“"The classically trained and jazz-inspired singer is redefining the genre and winning admirers around the country.”

Them Coulee Boys

Them Coulee Boys

Them Coulee Boys are a folk/bluegrass band from the north woods of Western Wisconsin. Drawing their sound from The Avett Brothers, Bob Dylan, and whatever other records they find in their garage, TCB has a unique sound. Tight melodies, string picking, and a sense of fun drive TCB to put on the best show they can, wherever they go.

Tim Jenkins

Tim Jenkins

Highly regarded dance caller.

Winona Internatonal Folk Dancers

Winona International Folk Dancers

For 33 years, the Winona International Dancers have revived traditional folk dances from all over the world; by one estimate, they have taught more than 1000 dances. The Winona Post quotes one dance attendee as saying “It’s so much fun. You can travel the world without leaving town, or when you travel the world, you can impress the locals with dances from their country.”

The Post concludes: “It is easy to imagine entire villages of folks gathering to dance the same steps the group traces across the floor. It is hard not to smile, too, imagining the excitement Kujawiak, a Polish flirting dance, would bring young Poles, or envisioning generations of Turks bending low and clapping hands together in an old-time wedding dance.”

Festival Sponsors

Peoples Coop Logo(19K) Viterbo-vert_color_150 (6K) PearlStreet_150 (14K) WPRlogo_color_150 (17K)
People’s Food Co-op
La Crosse, WI
Rochester, MN
Viterbo University
La Crosse, WI
Pearl Street Brewery
La Crosse, WI
Wisconsin Public Radio

Major Sponsors

Rick-Thompson-Drywall-Logo_100 (18K) Hanson and Associates elmaro-2_100 (12K) LaCrosse Radio Group
Win Craft Channel 8 Wettstein Brothers Electric Queen-logo_100 (9K)
Pettibone_RV   Driftless Chiropractic Logo ufah (3K) grfa (5K)