Swing It! With the New Orleans Jazz Machine

New Orleans Jazz MachineThe New Orleans Jazz machine is a Traditional/Dixieland jazz band that began over 20 years go. At the 2015 festival the band will feature the following musicians: Carl Johnson, clarinet/soprano sax; Brighten Godfrey, trumpet; Barry Wagner, trombone; Ernie Hoffman, piano; Josh Houchin, bass; Gary Peyton, drums. Occasionally other outstanding instrumentalists and vocalists are featured.

The NOJM plays many Dixieland and swing favorites. The band has played in the Champaign-Urbana area at locations such as the Blind Pig, High Dive, Cowboy Monkey, the Embassy, University of Illinois events, church services, wedding receptions, picnics, parties, and at many other private and community events.

Morris Dancers

Boneyard Morris DancersMorris dance is a traditional dance from England that has been done for hundreds of years. There are several references to Morris dance in Shakespeare. Each village or region has its own set of dances. Come check out this unique form of dance demonstrated by our local Morris dancers! Audience members will be encouraged to try it out too.

Family Dance with Barb Silverman and Colby Maddox

Barb Silverman dancingThe whole family can jump in on this one: circles, squares and contra dances (two lines) made easy and fun. Each dance will be explained step by step, and dances chosen will be simplified for young and eager dancers. We will even learn a few basic clogging steps to stir the beginnings of improvised old-time dancing. Mom, Dad, Grandma and Junior, put on your dancing shoes.

Dance Try-Its

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

Irish dances 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.

Square Dance with Can I Get An Amen, Phil Jamison calling

Can I Get an Amen

Can I Get an Amen is a few good friends who love to get funky. The band started playing in Chicago in 2010, and recorded its first full length album in 2013. The guys play for all kinds of shows, dances, weddings, and gigs in the Chicago area, but mostly they like to hang out on somebody’s porch and drink beer. Give them a call — you’ll fall deeply in love with yourself afterwards.



Phil Jamison

Phil Jamison

Phil Jamison is nationally-known as a dance caller, old-time musician, and flatfoot dancer. He has called dances, performed, and taught at music festivals and dance events throughout the U.S. and overseas since the early 1970s, including more than thirty years as a member of the Green Grass Cloggers.

Phil Jamison’s appearances are sponsored in part by University of Illinois Press and the University of Illinois Department of Dance.

Yiddish Dance with Don’t Ask, Mitch Harris leading

Don't AskIt’s like a wedding with no bride or groom! Come dance to the music of Don’t Ask, playing Klezmer music in the spirit of early Eastern Europe’s Jewish village string bands, with other surprises thrown in the mix. Klezmer music is made for dancing – if you can walk, you can dance to it! Don’t Ask members are Frances Harris and Amanda Ramey on fiddles, Michael Shapiro on guitar, Michael Meadows on bass, Sam Gingher on accordion, and David Garcia on drums.

Yiddish dancing Wherever Don’t Ask plays, Mitch Harris can be found leading dancing. He recently earned a Certificate of Completion in the Jewish Dance Leaders program at KlezKanada and is prepared to lead you in an irresistible array of freylekhs, bulgars, and zhoks. No experience necessary, just jump right in!

Contra Dance with Allos Musica Ensemble and the Mean Lids, Rachel Shapiro calling

Allos Musica

Allos Musica

Allos Musica Ensemble will perform a set of contra dance music, led by accordionist Jeremiah McLane, a highly regarded contra dance musician who has played around the globe with ensembles such as The Clayfoot Strutters and Nightingale. For their set, Allos Musica will draw from the traditions of Celtic, Cape Breton and French music, as well as Arabic music modified for the contra dance setting. Musicians from the community are welcome to join Allos Musica in the second set.

Mean LidsOnly 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.

Rachel Wallace


Rachel Shapiro Wallace is a dance caller who definitely communicates the joy of dancing. Her high-energy approach involves clear, concise walk-throughs and working with the band to create that groove that dancers love.

Cedric Watson and Les Amis Creole

Cedric Watson 1Cedric Watson is one of the brightest young talents to emerge in Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco (Louisiana French) music over the last decade. He is a four-time Grammy-nominated fiddler, singer, accordionist, and songwriter, and we’re thrilled to have him and Les Amis Creole joining us for this year’s festival as part of a collaboration with the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.