Bucky Halker presents Rebel Voices: The Songs of Joe Hill and Woody Guthrie

Bucky HalkerFusing elements of folk, blues, honky-tonk country, straight ahead rock, and jazz, Bucky Halker has recorded a dozen albums since the 1980s, including his recent double-CD,The Ghost of Woody Guthrie (2012), an original music tribute to Guthrie, and Welcome to Labor Land (2007), Halker’s renditions of labor protest songs from Illinois. Bucky, a Ph.D. in labor history, is the author of For Democracy, Workers, and God: Labor Song-Poems and Labor Protest, 1865-1895 (University of Illinois Press) and the producer-scholar for the Folksongs of Illinois CD series.

Paul Kotheimer

Paul KotheimerPaul Kotheimer has been writing, recording, and releasing DIY acoustic music since the days of the cassette tape. He is quite possibly one of the finest songwriters you’ve never heard of, period. He got his start as an Urbana local music legend at the Red Herring Coffee House in the early 1990s, had a near-miss brush with major label attention later that decade, and has kept plugging away since then, in his home recording studio and at cozy little venues, putting out a total of twelve (yes, TWELVE – could be more, but we’ve lost count!) solo albums on his own label, which is actually literally called “The Hand-Made Record Label.” This fall, Paul celebrates 22 years of living and making music in Urbana, Illinois.

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.

Fat Fingers Jim

Fat Fingers JimFat Fingers Jim is a one-man band who specializes in fingerpicked prohibition-era blues, ragtime, and jazz guitar with foot percussion, harmonica, and the occasional ukulele number. He has been playing music ever since discovering his mother’s accordion in a closet as a small child. Since then he studied piano, clarinet, saxophone, voice, and classical guitar throughout school. Originally from the Rock Island, Illinois area, Jim played with the short-lived band Hellwater, a local favorite, opening for acts such as Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band, James Leg’s Black Diamond Heavies, The .357 String Band, The Hooten Hallers, and many more. He also leads his own blues trio, Blind Baggage, playing mainly western Illinois venues including an opening event for the Mississippi Valley Blues Fest. Jim has since moved to Danville, Illinois, and plays solo gigs as well as leading a new incarnation of Blind Baggage and teaching guitar in a music store in Champaign. He has participated in workshops with Mary Flower, Ernie Hawkins, Paul Rishell, Roy Book Binder, Del Rey, and many others.     

Young and the Fretless

The Young and the Fretless The Young and the Fretless play old-time mountain music on the prairie–a mix of Appalachian Mountain and Midwestern tunes and songs. Members are Lyle Konigsberg (fiddle, banjo), Tom Bassett (fretless banjo, ukulele), Hilary Valentine (guitar, dulcimer), and Ben Juday (bass). “We love the groove of fiddle-banjo music and have so much fun playing it. When the toddlers start swaying and jumping, we know we’ve got the right rhythm going!”


On Friday afternoon from 4:00pm – 5:00pm in the Busey Bank lobby, get your banking done and your mood lifted while listening to the Spudhunters, who specialize in the traditional dance music of rural Ireland – jigs, reels, hornpipes, polkas, waltzes, marches, and more – with a few songs thrown in for good measure. The band features Jake Schumacher on button accordion and piano, David Glenn on concertina, and Dean Karres on whistle, percussion, Uilleann pipes, and vocals.

Urbana High School Wind Symphony

The Wind Symphony is the premier concert band at Urbana High School.  The group performs at various events throughout the year including school concerts, community performances, contests, and festivals.  Within the group, a woodwind choir, brass choir, and percussion ensemble also rehearse weekly and perform at concerts and contests.  

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.