The C-U Folk and Roots Festival is thrilled to announce that Robbie Fulks, headliner at our very first festival in 2009, will return to headline the 10th anniversary festival. Robbie is a singer, recording artist, instrumentalist, composer, and songwriter. His most recent release, 2017’s Upland Stories, earned year’s-best recognition from NPR and Rolling Stone among many others, as well as two Grammy nominations for folk album and American roots song.
Robbie brings with him two venerable icons of roots music, Linda Gail Lewis and Redd Volkaert. Linda is the little sister to musical genius, Jerry Lee Lewis, and was raised on rock’n’roll-pumping piano and country. A professional musician since fifteen, she continues to tour, sharing her high octane live show with music fans around the world.
Redd is one of the top Telecaster guitar slingers in the country and the winner of the 2009 Grammy for best country instrumental. He played as part of Merle Haggard’s band in the late 1990s and early 2000s and has jammed with a who’s who list of country greats over the years.
And that’s not all! In honor of our tenth anniversary festival, we’re bringing back a few festival favorites.
Although still in his 20s, Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton has earned a reputation for transporting audiences back to the 1920’s and making them wish they could stay there for good. Often described as “one of the greatest multi-instrumentalists that you have not heard of,” he is well-known to CUFRF audiences from his two previous appearances at the festival. Paxton sings and plays banjo, guitar, piano, fiddle, harmonica, Cajun accordion, and the bones (percussion), and he mesmerizes audiences with his humor and storytelling. According to Will Friedwald in the Wall Street Journal, Paxton is “virtually the only music-maker of his generation … to fully assimilate the blues idiom of the 1920s and ‘30s.”
Featuring Ellen Stanley on banjo and vocals, Mother Banjo is a New England-raised, Minneapolis-based songwriter. Called “an outstanding poet” (Inside Bluegrass), she was a Midwest Finalist for the prestigious Mountain Stage NewSong Contest and has been featured nationally on SiriusXM Radio and CMT.com. An engaging live performer, Mother Banjo weaves humorous stories with fun covers and her own original material, earning the praise of songwriters like Josh Ritter and John Gorka.
Keep an eye on our 2018 Performers page for new bookings!
The Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots Festival is an all-volunteer-run, grassroots festival that brings together national, regional and local artists and folk organizations for over 80 high-quality folk performances and participatory activities throughout downtown Urbana. The festival includes performances, dances, instructional sessions, jams, song-circles, family activities, storytelling, instrument-making and much, much more! The festival has a particular interest in evolving and unique forms of folk music and art, especially forms that break down barriers between audience and performers, while also providing the occasion to preserve local traditions and histories.
Stay tuned to this site and to our Facebook page for news of year-round festival happenings. As always, you can reach us on our Contact Us, Volunteer, and Sponsor pages. And if you aren’t already signed up for our newsletter, fill out the form at the bottom of this page.