Friday Night: Bagpipers Welcome, Singalongs, and Other Free Stuff!

Did you know that some of the festival events are free? There is no cost to experience the thrill of the Highland Bagpipe, for example, as the Mugdock Pipers offer a traditional welcome to all, 6:00 pm Friday night at Sipyard. (But let’s face it…bagpipe…you’ll probably just need to be in the general vicinity!)Paul Hinson on bagpipes

Stay on at the Sipyard for Chanty Sing with Chris Maden at 7:00, then Folk Singalong Favorites with Hilary Valentine and Rebecca Grosser at 8:30.

Sam Payne and Cody Jenson will be performing at a free Family Event at the Urbana Free Library. That’s from 6:30-7:15.

Check out the full schedule for more! All Friday night Sipyard events and all events before 5 pm on Saturday are FREE.

Ginny O’Brien

Ginny O'BrienGinny O’Brien has been singing with kids most of her life, as a camp counselor, songleader and teacher. You will find her these days playing her guitar and singing with children at storytime at the Champaign Public Library.

Come join us for an interactive half hour of singing and fun!  

( Program will be designed for ages 3 to 9 years old, and for the Young at Heart )

Thunder Medicine

Thunder Medicine

Thunder Medicine

As part of Native American Heritage Month, the Native American House at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is sponsoring a very special performance at this year’s C-U Folk and Roots Festival. Regina Tsosie (Navajo) and Larry Lockwood (Northern Cheyenne) are the members of Thunder Medicine, a Native American performing group, and members of the Native American Coalition of the Quad Cities. Regina and Larry travel throughout the Midwest presenting cultural performances through song, dance, drumming, and storytelling.

Check out this snippet from a performance at Richland Community College!

Mr. Stephens

Mr. StephensMr. Stephens is still playing goofy songs for kids even after some of them have grown up. He saw one of them driving away from Urbana High School the other day. Lucky there are still kids in the Kindergarten classrooms. He’d sure be sad if he ran out of pre school and early elementary age kids to come and sing a long with his songs about chicken feet, numbers, the ABC’s and flying saucers.

Family Singalong, with Cielito Lindo

Cielito Lindo Family Folk Music

Cielito Lindo Family Folk Music

Sing along with the fabulous Cielito Lindo! The group performs in the styles of mariachi and Latin/American folk. A bilingual fourth generation family music group that performs a variety of Mexican and American folk music, the four young brothers and their father each sing and play multiple instruments including guitar, vihuela, guitarron, and trumpet. Their repertoire includes bolero, ranchera, cumbia, huagpango & son.

Check out this great story about the band on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight program!

Harmonica Workshop (Beginner), with Dave Witzany

It’s easy to begin to learn to play harmonica!  Dave will lead the group using key of C diatonic 10 hole harmonicas to help you learn about the instrument and to begin playing melodies and blues. If you have a C diatonic, you can bring your own harmonica  to the lesson. For those who don’t have one, there will be a limited number of free harmonicas available. We encourage you to come out to the workshop and try out this soulful instrument that you can carry in your pocket!

Dave has been a fan of local music since he came to the U of I in the early 80′s and has a long involvement with WEFT community radio. Mainly an audience member, he’s occasionally played harmonica with local bands like the Prairie Jam Band and the Prairie Dogs.

Dance Try-Its

Yes, you CAN have it all! Spend a delightful hour-and-a-half learning three different dance traditions.

Irish dance with Daniel Flora

Daniel FloraBorn to parents in the Foreign Service (Diplomatic Corps), Daniel Flora learned to love Irish dancing while living in Europe and Canada. He also learned to play the bodhran and honed his skills playing at Irish sessions, including the local session at Dublin O’Neil’s. He is currently an instructor in Balkan and Irish Dances for the Illini Folk Dance Society, and has begun teaching Irish set dancing in the Champaign-Urbana area.




Simple English and Scandinavian dances with Jon and Sue Hanson

Sue and Jon HansonJon and Sue Hanson have been involved in traditional dance since their college days. Originally from Illinois, they moved to California just after college where they were active in both International Folk Dance and Scandinavian Dance. They returned to Illinois in the 1990s and have been members of the Central Illinois English Country Dancers ever since. Jon and Sue enjoy sharing the dances they have learned. In their classes, they emphasize fun and easy dances that everyone can do.



The Dance Try-Its session is sponsored by the Illini Folk Dance Society.

Family Dance, with Neal Schlein and the Thursday Night jammers

Bring the family along for this all-ages family dance! Neal Schlein will be our caller and the Thursday Night Lincoln Square Jam group will provide the music.

Neal SchleinA children’s librarian and transplant from Colorado, Neal loves sharing his dances with everyone–children, beginners, and experienced dancers alike. His calling features traditional rhyming patter drawn from the old west, a sense of humor, and a great deal of enthusiasm. Born to parents who met at a college folk dance (think Roseville Faire, by Bill Staines!), he grew up enjoying a wide assortment of dance traditions and began calling in 1998 as a high school project. Today Neal calls squares, contras, and a smattering of other things, but his absolute favorite dance is always the one he’s sharing with you right now.