COVID-19 and the C-U Folk and Roots Festival

The C-U Folk and Roots Festival family is highly cognizant of the need for all of us to stay safe and healthy during this challenging time. All upcoming, in-person festival-sponsored events have been put on hold. In the meantime, we also recognize the incredible importance of music and the arts in our lives.

We strongly encourage everyone in our community to find ways to support the musicians whose livelihoods have suddenly disappeared. Watch their shows online and contribute via donate links. Buy their merch. Buy their music! Please also support our local businesses, especially the places that remain open and/or are selling online. Our local festival sponsors and partners include the Rose Bowl TavernPage Roasting CompanyBlack DogIron PostCommon Ground Food Co-op, the Music Shoppe, the Community Center for the Arts, and others.

CANCELED Volunteer Thank You Party

We’re sorry to say the Volunteer Appreciation event we had scheduled for March 23 is being canceled. Folk and Roots is doing our bit to halt community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. We love our volunteers and want everyone to stay well!

If you have the means, think about how you can support our local music and culture scene. Buy local bands’ music online. Any other merchandise you’ve had your eye on, buy it now. Tickets for events next fall? Go ahead and spring for them now.

Musicians and other artists don’t always have much of a safety net. If you value art in your community, invest in art in your community!

The 2019 Festival is a wrap!

The 2019 Festival is in the history books. Thanks for coming out! Even on a cold and rainy Saturday we had great crowds. Huge gratitude to all the volunteers who made it possible. Hey, let’s do it again next year!

Check out Smile Politely’s photo highlights of the festival:
Friday Night Recap
Saturday Night Recap

Huge thanks to the folks at Smile Politely. Seth Fein, Patrick Singer and the entire crew of SP go out of their way to support the Folk & Roots Festival and we appreciate all they do.

More Thanks:

Rose Bowl Tavern

Rose Bowl Tavern

Festival sponsor the Rose Bowl Tavern has been Urbana’s “Home of Country Music” since 1946. Alive as a hub of community and music, including the famous Monday night Urbana Hootenany, this is a friendly spot that boasts “good music, cold drinks, great people.” It’s also one of our major venues for the festival.

Thanks, Rose Bowl! We literally couldn’t do it without you.

Page Roasting Co.

A dark and rich thank you goes out to the newest sponsor of the 2019 C-U Folk and Roots Festival…Page Roasting Co.!

Established in 2017, Page Roasting Company is an artisanal coffee roasting business offering alternating single origin coffees, in addition to a few consistently available blends. 

Page aims to offer members of the community the highest quality coffee possible, manually roasted in small batches and made available to drink and for purchase at many Champaign/Urbana locations. 

Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley at ELLNORA


Folk and Roots fans are sure to appreciate this Grammy-nominated bluegrass duo. Ickes’ slide-played dobro and Hensley’s flatpick guitar style come together in a powerful collaboration.

Krannert Center, Colwell Playhouse
September 7 at 12:30pm.

Tickets and more information are available at the Krannert Center web site.

Welcome Illini Hillel!


Thank you to first time sponsor Illini Hillel. The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life at the University of Illinois, Hillel creates a warm and welcoming community where students from all Jewish backgrounds can meet, explore and celebrate Jewish life.

Urbana Sweetcorn Festival: Folk & Roots Stage

Friday, August 23
5:00 – 5:30 – Paul Kotheimer
5:45 – 6:30 – Emily Anne 
6:45 – 7:45 – Jordan Kaye & the Jordanaires 
8:15 – 9:15 – Chachi & the Bandidos
9:45 – 10:45 – Blues Deacons

Saturday, August 24
8:30 – 9:30 – Jean Rene Balekita and Bomoyi
10:00 – 11:15 – Caleb Cook Band 

Paul Kotheimer is a songwriter, activist, recording artist, and performer of DiY/acoustic, indie rock, and political folk music, performing since the late 1980’s, based in Urbana, Illinois. He is also the founder of DiY/folk & acoustic recording company – Paul’s songs are characterized by intricate, poetically expressive lyrics. Many of his political folk songs adapt melodies traditional to American folk and protest music, adding new lyrics. Part of the vibrant Urbana music scene, Paul is one of the best songwriters in the area. Along with a repertoire of witty and insightful originals, Paul performs classic treasures such as Lydia the Tattooed Lady, made famous by Groucho Marx.

Emily Anne is a local musician (guitar, piano, accordion) and singer/songwriter. She sings with the voice of an angel and the grit of a country girl. Her wide variety of folk originals and country covers will rouse even the most ardent of critics for a boot-stompin’ drinking song or a heart-breaking country waltz. Emily is the co-host of the weekly Urbana Hootenanny, held every Monday night at the Rose Bowl. For this performance, Emily will be joined by multi-instrumentalist Cody Jensen.

Jordan Kaye and the Jordanaires are led by Jordan Kaye. This band offers up a variety of folk music, country songs, jazz standards, western swing and more. One of the best guitar players around, Jordan has been living in Nashville, TN for the last few years. He’s immersed himself into the Nashville music scene and his guitar playing continues to evolve. Jordan still maintains a regular series of gigs in the C-U area, including his longtime “first Friday” gig at the Iron Post. Fronting the Prairie Dogs for many years, Jordan also performed with the traditional jazz band Medicare 7, 8 or 9. Jordan’s interest in music and songs runs wide and deep, from bluegrass to jazz, from country blues to western swing and more. He knows hundreds of jokes, thousands of songs and twice as many guitar chords,

Chachi and the Bandidos, fronted by Marten “Chachi” Stromberg and featuring Everett Elam on guitar, plays country classics and b-sides, RnB hits and deep cuts, soul and rock n’ roll; everything from Willie Nelson to Chuck Berry to Marvin Gaye.

The Blues Deacons have been a mainstay of the downstate Illinois blues scene since 1990. Led by Billy Galt (guitar/vocals), the band also includes Andy Burnett on drums and Beau “Blind Dog” Renshaw on bass. Together, these three veterans form a tight blues machine while retaining a raw, soulful edge. The Deacons have appeared at the House of Blues tent at the Illinois State Fair and they have played many festivals (including the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival), street fairs, small town taverns and roadhouses throughout Illinois. With a huge catalog of material including originals, lesser-known covers, well known classics and modern blues hits, the Deacons serve up a live show that is soulful, bluesy, and a lot of fun.

Jean Rene Balekita & Bomoyi Congolese sing in English, French, Lingala, Kikongo and Tshiluba. Their music is tinged with Gospel and Jazz, all played with solid and infectious African rhythms. The group has toured in Africa, Europe and the United States and now live in Urbana. Jean Rene teaches guitar lessons at the Community Center for the Arts in Urbana. This group performed on the Folk and Roots Stage last year and we welcome their return.

Caleb Cook Band, a stalwart of the local country music scene, is dedicated to providing a good time through the preservation of Classic Country, Roots and Old Time music. Studying the music of the greats such as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Buck Owens, the Caleb Cook Band draws inspiration while composing music in the same timeless style.

Writers in the Round July 13


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Rebecca Rego, Paul Kotheimer, Olivia Tasch at the Rose Bowl Tavern Early show, 3-5 pm. Three songwriters sharing their creative works and stories. Our featured songwriters:     * R. A. Rego (Rebecca Rego of Rebecca Rego & The Trainmen)     * Olivia … Continue reading

Del Rey August 28, 7:30pm

at the Iron Post. Wednesday August 28, 7:30 – 9:30 pm.

Del Rey, a festival favorite, is coming back to Urbana.

“One of the ukulele’s most important players and teachers.” Ukulele Magazine 2016

“One of the greatest modern players of the metal-bodied resonator guitar.” Acoustic Guitar Magazine

“One of the most sublime modern guitarists.” La Hora del Blues Barcelona

$15 at the door