Folk and Roots Fridays

Folk and Roots FridaysJoin the Urbana Park District and the C-U Folk and Roots Festival during the noon hour on the first and third Fridays of each month this summer for some great FREE live music. Buy or bring your lunch and enjoy an afternoon lunch break on the lake. In case of inclement weather, the concert will be held inside the air conditioned room at the Lake House.

We’ll update the lineup as it it fills in. Stay tuned!

June 2 – The Young and the Fretless
June 16 – Billy Galt
July 7 – TBA
July 21 – TBA
August 4 – TBA
August 18 – TBA

4th Annual Roots Walk

Listen to live blues, roots, folk, and Americana music while strolling past the mature trees of Urbana’s oldest park on Friday, May 19th, 6:00pm-8:00pm. This sunset event, brought to you by the Urbana Park District, the C-U Folk and Roots Festival, the Urbana Parks Foundation, and WEFT will have a selection of soloists and small combos scattered along the walks of Crystal Lake Park Family Aquatic Center; the musicians will be along the park road, close to the North Woods Pavilion.

This year’s lineup:
Grass Roots Revival- Traditional Bluegrass, Old-Time
Rainbow Flag- Folk/Soul
John Coppess- Country/Folk/Cowboy
Sam Payne & Cody Jensen- Roots/Americana
John McMahon & Alyssa Gambill- Traditional Americana
Strings Attached- Bluegrass/Traditional Gospel
Reverend Robert- Blues

Musicians will move to the Anita Purves Nature Center at 1505 N. Broadway in case of severe weather. Check the UPD Facebook page or call the Park District Sports & Event Hotline for postponement information: 217-367-9575.

Tribute to Hank Williams and other honky tonk heroes

Hank Williams Join us for a tribute to Hank Williams and other honky tonk heroes – Ray Price, Patsy Cline, Webb Pierce, Bob Wills and more. You won’t want to miss this evening of traditional country music, honky-tonk, and western swing!

An all-star house band (Dyke Corson, Dennis Stroughtmatt, Larry Lister, Josh Houchin) will back a terrific line-up of singers including Kathy Harden, Marten “Chachi” Stromberg, Dennis Stroughmatt, Nancy Livingston, Cole Rabenort, Logan Kirby, and John Coppess — just wow!

Friday, May 12, 2017, 8:00pm-11:00pm
Rose Bowl Tavern, 106 N. Race St., Urbana, IL, 217-367-7031
Must be 21 to enter

$10 at the door
A fundraising event for the C-U Folk and Roots Festival

Del Rey

The C-U Folk and Roots Festival is pleased to be bringing Seattle-based blues musician and former popular festival performer, Del Rey, to town for a concert and two workshops. The concert is at the Iron Post on Saturday, May 6th, 6:30-9:30pm, $15 in advance (ticket fees apply), $20 at the door. Guitarists, don’t miss her “Off The Record: Figuring Out Memphis Minnie in G” workshop at Techline on Sunday, May 7th, 1:00-2:15pm, $30 workshop only, $40 concert and workshop. And stick around for the ukulele workshop, also at Techline, 2:15-4:00pm, $30 workshop only, $40 concert and workshop. For all events, purchase your advance tickets here.

Del Rey is a complex, pianistic guitarist, described as “a combination of Bo Carter and the Andrews Sisters” (Observant Fan). Her guitar playing is influenced by country blues, stride piano, classic jazz and hillbilly boogie-all filtered through the sensibility of an autodidact trailer-park aesthete.

Del is fascinated with the ukulele and plays the same kind of complicated rhythmic blues and ragtime on four strings as she does on six. She expects a lot out of the little instrument, and usually gets it. “The ukulele taken to a new level of musicianship”. (John Book)

Her live show is full of complex grooves and sly humor. “Virtuosic in just the right way, which is to say, in order to realize a musical idea. A very nice unlikely blend of things, accessible, slightly nostalgic, but fresh and thoughtful. ” (CD Baby review, “At The Ukeshack #1)

“Del Rey, who plays a syncopated style of guitar based on prewar blues and barrelhouse piano traditions, is one of the best fingerpickers of this or any generation. “ Ian Zack, Acoustic Guitar.

Victor Wooten Trio

Victor Wooten TrioThe C-U Folk and Roots Festival is collaborating with the Canopy Club to bring the Victor Wooten Trio to town. Wooten, now a five-time Grammy winner, hit the worldwide scene in 1990 as a founding member of the super-group Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Continuing to blaze a musical trail with the band, Victor has also become widely known for his own Grammy nominated solo recordings and tours.

Among other things, Victor is a loving husband and father of four, a skilled naturalist and teacher, a published author, a magician and acrobat, and has won every major award given to a bass guitarist including being voted Bassist of the Year in Bass Player Magazine’s readers poll three times (the only person to win it more than once.) In 2011, Rolling Stone Magazine voted Victor one of the Top Ten Bassists of ALL TIME.

Come hear Victor with Dennis Chambers and Bob Franceschini at the Canopy Club on Saturday, April 8, 2017!

7:30 PM. $25 in advance. $30 at the door. Buy tickets here.
Must be 18+ to enter. Doors open at 6:30 PM.

Klezmer Workshop with Dan Blacksberg

Dan BlacksbergLearn from the best! Philly-based klezmer trombonist Dan Blacksberg will lead this workshop on klezmer style for musicians. Dan will help us work on groove and style, and sheet music will be available. Instrumentalists should be proficient on their instruments; professionals will be able to add a new style to their toolkit. Yiddish singers, the emphasis will be on instrumental klezmer, but all musically-inclined and musically-interested will find value in attending. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017, 7:30pm
508 W. Oregon St., Urbana, 61801
$10 (Note: No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Anyone who can contribute more, it would be much appreciated!)
For more information, call 217-649-3212 or email franceyfidl at

A bit more about Dan:

A 2012 Pew Fellow in the Arts and graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, Dan Blacksberg is one of the few musicians in the world who performs and teaches traditional klezmer on the trombone. Recognized as a master of the traditional trombone style, he can often be found performing with the field’s top artists. He is a founding member of Alan Bern’s The Other Europeans, and has performed and recorded with such luminaries as Frank London, Adrienne Cooper, Michael Winograd, Daniel Kahn, Hankus Netsky, Alicia Svigals, Elaine Hoffman-Watts, and more. Dan has taught and performed in festivals all over the world, such as Klezkamp, Klezkanada, Yiddish New York, Lowell Folk Festival, the Krakow Fesitval of Jewish Culture, and Yiddish Summer Weimar in Germany, and has been an artist-in-residence at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Greensky Bluegrass at the Canopy Club

Greensky Bluegrass

Photo By ontheDL Photo © Greensky Bluegrass All Rights Reserved 2016

The C-U Folk and Roots Festival is collaborating with the Canopy Club to bring Greensky Bluegrass, a group made up of Anders Beck, Michael Arlen Bont, Dave Bruzza, Mike Devol, and Paul Hoffman. For over a decade these guys have developed their own unique version of bluegrass, combining elements from string band traditions and rock and roll. Their music is full of psychedelic swirls and bursts of acoustics. If you have missed them in the past at Canopy Club, now is your chance to see them! Come check them out with special guest Cris Jacobs on March 15, 2017!

8:00pm. $20 in advance. $25 at the door. Buy tickets here.
Must be 18+ to enter. Doors open at 7 PM.

Deborah Strauss and Jeff Warschauer

Save the date for a special President’s Day weekend visit to C-U by klezmer luminaries Deborah Strauss and Jeff Warschauer! Of particular interest to the C-U Folk and Roots Festival community are three events:

– Thursday, February 16, 7:00pm, Music Building Auditorium, Room 1030, 1114 W. Nevada St., Urbana: “Klezmer Music: From Old World to New: Lecture and Musical Demonstration.” Free and open to the public.
– Saturday, February 18, 7:00pm, Sinai Temple, 3104 W. Windsor Rd, Champaign: Klezmer Concert and Dance Party. Free and open to the public.
– Sunday, February 19, 2:00pm-4:00pm, Phillips Recreation Center, 505 W. Stoughton Ave, Urbana: Big Klezmer and Yiddish Music Jam and Workshop. All levels and backgrounds welcome. Free and open to the public; free will donations greatly appreciated.

For further information about Jeff and Deborah’s activities in Champaign-Urbana, point your browser to

For over 25 years, Deborah Strauss (violin, accordion, voice, dance) and Cantor Jeff Warschauer (voice, guitar, mandolin) have been at the forefront of the international klezmer and Yiddish music scene. They were both long-time members of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, one of the premiere groups of the klezmer revival, and have performed with legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman on film and in concert. They serve on the faculty of KlezKanada, Yiddish Summer Weimar, the Warsaw International Summer Seminar in Yiddish Language and Culture, and KlezFest at the University of London.

As the Strauss/Warschauer Duo, Deborah and Jeff have performed to overwhelming acclaim in such diverse venues as the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Great Britain’s Fiddles on Fire, the Jewish Culture Festival in Cracow, Poland, and the Art of Yiddish in Los Angeles with the late actor and singer Theodore Bikel. They are Yiddish speakers, and have researched and collected Yiddish and Hebrew songs and instrumental melodies since the 1980s. Together they lead some of the most popular klezmer music, Yiddish song, and traditional dance workshops throughout North America, and Eastern and Western Europe.

This weekend of events is generously underwritten by Sinai Temple and the Champaign-Urbana Jewish Endowment Foundation, with co-sponsorship support from the Program in Jewish Culture and Society and the Russian and East European, and Eurasian Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Thanks also to the C-U Folk and Roots Festival and the Community Center for the Arts for helping spread the word!

Folk and Roots Winter Weekend

The C-U Folk and Roots Festival is proud to be cosponsoring the inaugural Folk and Roots Winter Weekend, Friday, February 10th and Saturday, February 11th, at the Iron Post, 120 S. Race St., Urbana, IL!

Friday night will feature Urbana local and Americana oddballs Bones Jugs, and, returning from Nashville, TN, Woody Pines, and their oh-so-tasty brand of down home folk and swing.

Saturday night will be a trio of bands. Kicking off the evening will be The Matchsellers from Kansas City, Kansas, then Urbana locals Hobnob String Band, followed by one of the best bluegrass bands around, Chicago’s own, Henhouse Prowlers.

This is a weekend of music you do not want to miss!
2-day passes are $20 (plus service charge) or Friday is $10 at the door, and Saturday is $20 ($10/show) at the door. Don’t be a goof, save that $10 bucks! Tix available here–>

Friday, February 10th ($10)
8pm: Bones Jugs
9pm: Woody Pines

Saturday, February 11th
*early show – $10*
6pm: The Matchsellers
7pm: Hobnob String Band
*late show – $10*
9pm: Henhouse Prowlers

Ricky Skaggs concert

Ricky SkaggsWin TWO FREE TICKETS to the Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder concert at the Virginia Theatre on Saturday, January 28th! Just leave a comment on our Facebook post by January 22nd. We’ll draw a name and announce the lucky winner on January 23rd!

A life full of music—that’s the story of Ricky Skaggs. By age twenty-one, he was already considered a recognized master of one of America’s most demanding art forms, but his career took him in other directions, catapulting him to popularity and success in the mainstream of country music. His path’s taken him to various musical genres, from where it all began in bluegrass music to striking out on new musical journeys, while still leaving his musical roots intact. Along the way, Skaggs has played with everyone from Bill Monroe (when Ricky was a musical prodigy of six) and Flatt and Scruggs, to Ralph Stanley, Emmylou Harris, Bruce Hornsby, Vince Gill, and countless others.

RICKY SKAGGS and Kentucky Thunder
Date/Time: Sat, January 28, 2017 – 7:30pm (doors open at 6:30pm)
Seating: Reserved Seating

Tickets: $69.50 VIP/$46.50/$38.50/$29.50
Add’l per ticket processing fees apply: $4 (online only)
More info: