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.

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

Willi Carlisle July 14

@Techline, 307 S. Locust Street, Champaign

A folk singer based in Arkansas, Carlisle is a multifaceted writer, performer, and instrumentalist with a big voice. He plays banjo, guitar, fiddle, and more. His musical stories hoot, stomp, and saunter through joys and troubles uniquely southern and timelessly true.

No cover charge for this show, though we suggest a donation of $10 (or more). BYO beverage.

Honky Tonkin’ in the Free World July 6

Saturday @ the Rose Bowl Tavern

4 pm till it’s over! Honky tonk, country, western, and swing music at the historic Rose Bowl Tavern in downtown Urbana. You can call it a festival, a party, a concert, or another Saturday, but whatever ya call it, please join us for an amazing lineup of bands from Chicago to Carbondale, Champaign to Urbana. Dancing shoes recommended.

4:00-5:30 pm:John, Suzanne, and the Limping Cowboy Band (CU)

6:00-7:30 pm:Horseshoe Bender (Chicago)

8:00-9:30 pm:Dennis Stroughmatt and The Honky Tonk Circus (Albion, IL, pictured right)

10:00 pmChachi and The Bandidos (CU, pictured below)

Don’t forget! You can always bring your own food to the Rose Bowl Tavern. We hope to have food vendors parked in the lot too.

No cover! Rose Bowl and the bands are throwing a party and we want everyone to come! Tips to help pay the entertainment are always appreciated but not required. Buy the band a round if you prefer!

Folk & Roots Fridays 2019

@ The Lake House at Crystal Lake

12-1 pm. Join the Urbana Park District and the C-U Folk & Roots Festival on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of each month this summer for some great FREE live music.

July 5: Tom Koehler and Jose Agusti (folk/bluegrass)
July 19: Emily McKown (folk/country)
Aug 2: Two and a Third (folk/jazz standards)
Aug 16: The Young & the Fretless

We’ll have boating and drink/snack specials–just bring your lunch and enjoy an afternoon lunch break on the lake.

Enter your name into the Park District’s raffle each Friday to win a free Lake House rental in 2019!

In case of inclement weather, the concert will be held inside the air-conditioned rental room at the Lake House.

Evie Ladin and Keith Terry, March 24 at the Iron Post

March 24, 2019 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Iron Post, 120 South Race St., Urbana IL

Innovative musicians/dancers with a quirky neo-trad soul, Oakland, California-based Evie Ladin & Keith Terry throw down original folk songs and deep interpretations of old songs, with the kinetic thrill of percussive dance. Ladin sings and plays infectious clawhammer banjo, while Terry is a master percussionist. It was Appalachian string band music pared to the absolute minimum of accompaniment, but packed with an orchestra’s worth of rhythm. — Music City Roots, Nashville

A prolific singer-songwriter, percussive dancer and square dance caller, the polyrhythmic heat of Evie’s clawhammer banjo has been heard from A Prairie Home Companion to Celtic Connections, Lincoln Center to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. She can write, she can sing, and she pulls back from the saccharine brink with wit – a sharp intelligence. –Grant Alden, No Depression

Trained as a jazz drummer, Keith Terry brings tonal percussion to stand-up bass, is a renowned percussionist/rhythm dancer, the founder of the International Body Music Festival, and a collaborator with a host of inventive performers from Bobby McFerrin, Tex Williams and Robin Williams, to Turtle Island Quartet, Charles “Honi” Coles and Bill Irwin. Mr. Terry in action is like visiting an anatomical carnival, where hands, feet, fingers, engage in a musical ballet. – Wall Street Journal

Evie & Keith perform for all ages, and are skilled educators, often offering workshops and in-school activities while touring, from elementary through professional level training on a host of topics.

For more information visit Evie’s website at

Urbana Sweetcorn Festival

It’s the return of the C-U Folk and Roots Stage at the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival!

Come out for the music, and be sure to drop by our booth to check out our 2018 festival swag and hang with us.

Friday, August 24 —
6:00 – 6:45 – Vinny Santanelli A singer and songwriter, Vinny is a folk and blues artist who combines harmonica, acoustic guitar and vocals in a soulful way.

7:15 – 8:00 – Community Center for the Arts (C4A), Country Music Ensemble This class is taught by Dyke Corson and the band performs a diverse array of traditional country music.

8:30 – 9:30 – Painkillers Blues Band Featuring Dawn Clark on vocals, the Painkillers Blues Band plays a hefty mix of traditional Chicago and Southern Blues along with a variety of original tunes.

10:00 – 11:15 – Bones, Jugs Based right here in Urbana, Bones Jugs is a favorite of the summer festival circuit.  With quirky songwriting and blazing xylophone, this band is sure to bring a smile to your face.

Sweet Corn Festival

Saturday, August 25 –
6:00 – 6:45 – George Faber & Friends A veteran singer/songwriter with a colorful thirty-year music career, George Faber has deep ties to the CU area.  Matt Stewart, Gary Gardner and Bruce “Bruiser” Rummenie will be joining George for this set.

7:15 – 8:00 – Jean Rene Balakita & Bomoyi  Congolese musicians Jean Rene Balekita and Bomoyi sing in English, French, Lingala, Kikongo and Tshiluba. Their music is tinged with Gospel and Jazz, all played with solid African rhythms.

8:30 – 9:30 – Hot Club of Urbana This group of local musicians has a modern take on Gypsy Jazz music and pays tribute to the musical legacies of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli.

10:00 – 11:15 – Surreal Deal One of the best bands in the CU area, The Surreal Deal combines power with improvisational wizardry and brings a crackling freshness to audience favorites. Expect Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead, the Beatles and more!