elizaBeth Simpson

elizaBeth SimpsonFrom New England to Berkeley and back, elizaBeth Simpson has a history of singing on the street. Her sets feature jazz-spiked, indie-folk originals and are sprinkled with a cappella treats ranging from irish street ballads to contemporary protest songs (she has made police cry at blockades). elizaBeth makes music to celebrate what it’s like to be alive, and invites you to join her.


Saturday, November 1st, 11:45am-12:45pm
Landmark Hotel Ballroom

Mayhew the Traitor

Mayhew the TraitorFor nearly 10 years, Matthew Hobler has been making fantastic music as the lead singer and songwriter of the group Mayhew the Traitor. Their music is melodic rock, with deep textures and flowing melodies.  Matt and his wife Jeni have taken their music beyond the region, at one point moving to Nashville and touring nationally, and have recently returned to Urbana as a duo while the band was on hiatus, bringing a softer acoustic singer-songwriter folk sound to their music.  A typical Matt and Jeni “Mayhew” show will feature a mix of new original music and classic songs by Townes Van Zandt, Elliott Smith, Gram Parsons, Neil Young and more.  The duo is currently re-forming the band, which will return to the scene before the year’s end.

Friday, November 1st, 10:45pm-11:15pm
Independent Media Center
Wristband or cover

The Fights

The FightsThe Fights are a 5-piece group from Urbana, IL. Since getting started in October 2012, the band has done their very best to keep elements of roots and early American music as threads tying them to modern alternative music. Much of The Fights’ inspiration comes from modern as well as the more ‘dated’ artists who’ve put emphasis on songwriting/storytelling. After a year The Fights have released a self-titled E.P. and are patiently awaiting the release of their recently recorded debut full-length album.

Check out this review in Smile Politely!

Friday, November 1st, 10:30pm-11:45pm
Rose Bowl
Wristband or cover

Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards

Laura CorteseWelding the propulsive grace of fiddle styles to disarmingly open-hearted original pop songs, Laura Cortese has emerged among the most intriguing and versatile, musicians in the bountiful New England post-folk scene. At home in any number of traditional styles, her highly-visible work as a supporting musician (on fiddle, vocals, and bass) includes appearances with Jocie Adams (Low Anthem), Uncle Earl, Tao Seeger, Band of Horses, and – as part of Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden – Patterson Hood and Michael Franti. The past two years have found Cortese in creative overdrive, balancing sideman duties, solo tours, and recording sessions with an increased devotion to her own music: a kaleidoscopic hybrid that is enriched by roots music undertones and yet remains defiantly contemporary. In 2010 Cortese released an EP trilogy including her all female Acoustic Project. Tireless and always looking to the future, Laura Cortese is gearing up to put the finishing touches on a second Acoustic Project record, what she feels is her most vivid statement yet.

Friday, November 1st, 10:15pm-11:30pm
Heartland Gallery
Wristband or cover

Nightjar Promotions Presents Mike Reeb, with Jeff Arrigo, A Metropolitan Guide, and Eva Hunter

Jeff Arrigo2:00pm-2:40pm: Jeff Arrigo
In three short years since moving to Champaign from his homeland area of the Ozark Mountains in Missouri, Jeff Arrigo has gained a steady legion of fans appreciative of his homespun stories and songcraft.  Co-founder of the Champaign/Urbana Singer-Songwriter Collective, Jeff has also been instrumental in uniting many of the fantastic songwriters in the area, sharing music and friendship at monthly meetings at the Clark Bar.  Jeff’s incredible songs touch on stories of family, social issues, and an occasional fictional-based story song.

Brian Davis - A Metropolitian Guide2:45pm-3:25pm: A Metropolitan Guide
A Metropolitan Guide is the project of Peoria, Illinois-based singer/songwriter, Brian Davis. Over the past 4 years, Brian has developed into a fantastic songwriter of note, and has travelled throughout the country as the leader of the band Something With Trees.  A Metropolitan Guide represents his first solo recordings, a style he categorizes as “nerdy folk-rock.”

Eva Hunter3:30pm-4:10pm: Eva Hunter
Admirers say it’s the immediacy in her eyes, honesty of her voice, and her hauntingly poignant songs which make Eva Hunter a truly unique and powerful performer. They describe her as having the raw emotion of Janis Joplin, the growl of Melissa Etheridge, and yet the tenderness of K.D. Lang. Hunter fuses elements of country, folk, light jazz and orchestrated rock as her alluring voice glides from a… raspy whisper to a gospel-like boom. In fifteen years of touring, Eva has performed with many acclaimed artists, toured with popular Nashville band The Floating Men, and formed a live band of top artists from her hometown producing a total of five album releases.

Mike Reeb4:15pm-5:00pm: Mike Reeb
Mike Reeb is a full-time touring musician from the Midwest. Throughout the country, he has opened for several notable musicians, including Alejandro Escovedo, Joe Pug, Sleeping at Last, Bill Mallonee, Denison Witmer, Jeremy Messersmith, Gabby Moreno, Elsinore, Kink Ador, Honey Trees, Derek Webb, Company of Thieves, and Jason Webley at venues like Schubas Tavern (Chicago), Hotel Cafe (Los Angeles), The Listening Room Cafe (Nashville), Rockwood Music Hall (New York City), Mike & Molly’s (Champaign, IL), Duffy’s Tavern (Lincoln, NE), Czar Bar (Kansas City), Lindbergs (Springfield, MO), The Frequency (Madison, WI), Rumba Cafe (Columbus, OH). In 2010, one of Mike’s original songs was also featured in the movie Janie Jones, starring Abigail Breslin.

Nightjar Promotions


Saturday, November 2nd, 2:00pm-5:00pm
Iron Post

Ivas John Blues Band

Ivas John BandTogether, between Ivas John’s ability with the guitar and the songwriting assistance from his father, Ivas’ sound is a blend equal parts Ry Cooder, Mose Allison, Robert Cray, Van Morrison, Keb Mo, and Delbert McClinton. The music pleases the casual bar patron and the scrutinizing critic alike. Though he is an artist who understands the debt that is owed to his predecessors, and how important it is to honorably carry traditional music on, Ivas John is no copycat. As such, fans may have a hard time pinpointing exactly in what blues style Ivas is playing, but none will question that it is the genuine article.

Friday, November 1st, 7:00pm-8:15pm
Rose Bowl
Wristband or cover


CostasCostas is a musical collective playing music from the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Colombia and Ecuador. Costas is driven by on-the-ground experience of the rich African heritage of the regions as well as the influence of Indigenous and European peoples. Using traditional instruments including the marimba, Afro-Colombian drums (cununos, alegres, bombos) and flutes of indigenous origins (gaitas), the group brings the flavor of participatory and virtuosic rural celebratory music to central Illinois, playing traditional cumbia, currulao, gaita, bullerengue and tambora.

Supported in part by a City of Urbana Arts Grant.

Friday, November 1st, 9:00pm-10:15pm
Free (grant supported)

Mean Lids festival preview!

Can’t wait for the festival to be here? Join us for a festival preview on October 24th at Krannert Uncorked with the Mean Lids!

Mean Lids

“Self-described as “one part smooth Irish session, one part spicy cajun-zydeco, one part hot western swing, with two parts driving southern old-time,” this trio captures the dancehall energy of the living folk tradition. The funky spirits of violinist Ben Smith, Miriam Larson on flute, and guitarists Matt Turino will set a festive tone for the Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots Festival on November 1 and 2.”

Only as mean as they need to be to keep the grit in their tones and the edge on their tunes, the Mean Lids are never seen without their signature cranial apparel. Spot them by their hats, their long lonesome sounds, and the @$$ kicking baritone grooves emanating from their mean, mean fiddle fingers.

Thursday, October 24th, 5:00pm-7:00pm
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Stage 5