Pokey LaFarge at Pygmalion, 10/5

Bloomington-born LaFarge has a repertiore that’s a mix of Americana, early jazz, country blues, early 20th century string-band, and Appalachian folk. Now based in St. Louis, he tours internationally both with and without his band.

His solo show at the Independent Media Center is part of his extensive summer tour. You can get a feel for Pokey in this 2015 session of World Cafe. His latest album was released on Rounder Records in 2017, so his stop in Urbana will be fresh and interesting.

Friday, October 5, 2018
Independent Media Center, 202 S. Broadway, Urbana IL
Tickets are $20 at Ticketfly

This show is hosted by the Pygmalion Festival and Co-Sponsored by the C-U Folk and Roots Festival.

The April Verch Band Comes to the Iron Post

Canadian fiddler April Verch may be best known for playing traditional fiddle styles from her native Ottawa Valley, Canada. But her performances extend into old-time American and Appalachian styles and far beyond for a well-rounded tour de force of North Americana sounds. Verch and her fellow trio members pare down their arrangements highlighting the simple pleasures of upright bass, guitar, clawhammer banjo, voices, fiddle, and stepping in intimate conversation. At the heart lie Verch’s delicate voice, energetic footwork, and stunning playing. Sometimes she sings, steps and fiddles all at once, with apparent ease and precision. Verch is – as they say – a triple threat in performance, her live show a beautiful companion to her music: versatile, robust, and masterfully executed.

The April Verch Band features world-class musicians Cody Walters on upright-electric bass and banjo, and Alex Rubin on guitar and mandolin. Together, these three passionate musicians tour tirelessly across Canada, the United States, the U.K., Europe, Australia & China. They have established a reputation as consummate performers, winning over audiences not only with sheer virtuosity on their respective instruments, but also with charm, humor and boundless energy on stage.

August 3, 2018, 8:00pm
Iron Post, 120 S. Race St., Urbana
The tickets are $15 at the door.

The Iron Post will also be featuring Jordan Kaye and his band from 5-7pm. Come out and make a night of it.

5th 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 18th, 6:00pm-8:00pm. This sunset event brought to you by the Urbana Park District and the C-U Folk and Roots Festival will have a selection of soloists and small combos scattered along the walks of Crystal Lake Park. The lineup includes:

  • The Firetones
  • Bones Jugs
  • Young and the Fretless
  • Strings Attached
  • Grass Roots Revival
  • Rebekah Songer
  • Doug Schroer and Matt Stewart

Parking is available at the Family Aquatic Center; the musicians will be along the park road, close to the North Woods Pavilion.


Musicians will move to the Anita Purves Nature Center at 1505 N. Broadway in case of severe weather. Call the Park District Rainout line for relocation information: 217- 367-9575.

Folk and Roots Fridays at the Lake House

Folk and Roots FridaysJoin the Urbana Park District and the C-U Folk and Roots Festival for noontime live music at the Lake House in Crystal Lake Park, Urbana!

FREE from noon-1:00 pm on the first and third Fridays of each month.

Bring your lunch and enjoy a break by the lake. In case of inclement weather, the concert will be held inside the air conditioned room at the Lake House.

June 1 – Nancy Livingston & Rick Kubetz (Americana/Folk)
June 15 – Backdoor Cajun Band (Cajun)
July 6 – Nick Ailes Duo (Country/Bluegrass/Americana)
July 20 – Jay Sand & All Around this World (World Music)
August 3 – Vinnie Santanelli (Folk/Blues)
August 17 – Inland Calypso (Calypso/Steel Drum)

Tribute to Hank Williams and Honky-Tonk Heroes

NASHVILLE - CIRCA 1948: Country singer Hank Williams poses for a portrait circa 1948 in Nashville Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)Join us on May 11 for a tribute to Hank Williams and other Honky-tonk Heroes including Ray Price, Patsy Cline, Webb Pierce, Bob Wills and more. You won’t want to miss this evening of traditional country, honky-tonk, and western swing music. This event is a fundraising effort for the C-U Folk & Roots Festival.

A talented house band (Dyke Corson on pedal steel, Josh Houchin on bass, Jordan Kaye on guitar, Larry Lister on drums, Dennis Stroughtmatt on fiddle) will back a terrific line-up of singers:

  • Ed Clem is a well-known stalwart of the local country music scene and one of the chief organizers of the Philo Opry country shows. He was also a member of Appaloosa, a terrific country-rock band that played for many years in the CU area.
  • With a deep bass voice, John Coppess, known as the “Limping Cowboy” is from Mahomet and performs regularly (as a solo artist and with a full band) in the CU area.
  • Vocalist Suzanne Warner performs with John on a regular basis.
  • Now living in the Nashville, TN area, Jordan Kaye was the long-time leader of the Prairie Dogs, a popular group in the CU area for many years. Known as the “Tune Wrangler,” Jordan knows hundreds of songs from many musical genres and is a talented guitarist as well.
  • The Hillbilly Valentines are Hilary Valentine and Rebeccca Grosser, and they currently teach the “Old Time and Country Repertoire” at Parkland College. Both perform with The Young and the Fretless. Rebecca is also a member of Big Bluestem.
  • Logan Kirby is based in Fairmont, IL and sings with the Stone Creek Band and the Marvin Lee Band, and he performs at the Philo Opry country shows. Logan played the role of Johnny Cash in a production for the Million Dollar Quartet at the Covington Beef House.
  • Dennis Stroughmatt (from Albion, IL) has released three traditional country CDs, with the most recent being “Wrong Side of the World.” Besides playing Cajun and Creole music, Dennis has been performing a lot of traditional country music in recent years with a band that pays tribute to the music of Ray Price and his Cherokee Cowboys. Dennis was a featured performer at the 2017 Folk & Roots Festival and the 2017 Prairie Sky Music Festival.

The band should have a terrific, traditional sound and feel. This is a chance for people to celebrate the rich musical landscape of the CU area as the line-up of vocalists features some of the best singers in the area. All of the singers share one thing – a love of traditional country music, so this should be a very spirited and entertaining show.

The Country Music Ensemble from the Community Center for the Arts will also be part of the show. The Country Music Ensemble is a group of students that have been taking classes with Dyke Corson, and they will be starting the show with some classic country music.

Please come out for a fun evening of music, and help support the C-U Folk & Roots Festival. Last year’s Hank Tribute show drew a large crowd, so please come early if you want a seat.

May 11, 2018
Rose Bowl Tavern
106 North Race Street, Urbana IL

Hank Williams crowd shot

Admission: $10 at the door
Proceeds will support the 2018 C-U Folk and Roots Festival
Must be 21 to enter

Beth Lee & The Breakups at Iron Post

Based out of Austin, TX, Beth Lee grew up on the grit and soul of the Houston music scene, her dad a long time musician of the Bayou City.  Since 2008, Beth has been playing live and recording her original music with Austin musicians that have an ear for her songwriting ability.  Her influences span generations of blues, country, and rock ‘n’ roll greats that lead her to a unique soulful, country-tinged brand of roots rock ‘n’ roll.
–from KUTX’s Laurie Gallardo, who coined the sound as “country-fried rock ‘n’ soul”.

Beth Lee & The Breakups

Monday, April 23, 7pm., cover charged

Iron Post
120 South Race St.
Urbana, IL 61801

C-U Folk and Roots Festival Winter Weekend

Picture of Filisko and Noden

Filisko and Noden. Photo Credit: Paul Natkin

The official C-U Folk & Roots Festival is not until October…But don’t worry! Friday and Saturday, February 23rd and 24th we’ll be having a six act mini-fest at The Iron Post.

Friday, February 23rd
Happy Hour
5pm – Backyard BBQ Band. Blues and…
Main Event
8pm – Sharp Dirt. The debut performance from a locally grown Urbana group. Skiffle, Bluesey.
9:30 – Joe Filisko and Eric Noden. Acoustic Blues duo from Chicago.

Saturday, February 24th
Happy Hour
6pm – Community Center for the Arts band and ensemble performances from members of Olde Music Baroque & Renaissance Ensemble, and the Bow-Dacious String Band
Main Event
9pm – Hobnob String Band Bluegrass, newgrass, groovegrass…
10:30 – Kilborn Alley Blues Band Chicago Blues from Urbana!

$5 each for the Happy Hour shows
$10 each for the Main Event shows
$20 for ALL shows, the whole weekend

Hogchute Opry Harvest Festival

We’re happy to share the news that the Hogchute Opry Harvest is back for its 2nd year on October 14 and 15, gathering again at the Kalyx Center barn out in the woods. The festival is welcoming a whole slew of newcomers to this year’s bill, as well as some faithful and wizened Hogchute alums. Don’t miss out on one of the area’s most unique and intimate music events: music, bonfires, camping, and more for the “unreasonably low” price of $15.

Featuring the music of:
Colonel James Presents
The Dry Look
Fiona Kimble Music
Jack Anthony Johnston
Lonely Trailer
Patriot Patrol
Rebekah Songer
Tractor Kings
Walt Falbo & the Falbonauts
… and a special edition of our open-jam styled Singer/Songwriter Snakepit in the barn before the show. Bring an instrument and show us what you’ve got!

Of course it wouldn’t be the Hogchute Opry without special performances by these guys:
Hogchute’s Poet Laureate and MC, Sean Lamkin
Central Illinois’ hottest DJ, Horsecorn Cole & His Country ’45s

Keep an eye on their Facebook page for further details and for directions to the Kalyx Center for Sustainability, near Monticello, IL at 436 E. 1300 North Rd., 61856.

Prairie Sky Music Festival

Prairie Sky Music FestivalJoin us for a weekend of fun, food, and tons of great Americana music in the Allerton Meadow! Come out Friday, August 18 for Chatham County Line, the Hot Iron String Band, and stargazing with the CU Astronomical Society. Saturday’s festivities kick-off at 1pm – enjoy four bands throughout the day (including CUFRF alumni Dennis Stroughmatt et l’Esprit Creole and Hobnob Stringband) as you try out C4A‘s Instrument Petting Zoo, browse the vendors, and grab a drink before headliners The Jerry Douglas Band and Sam Bush take the stage. Tickets are $40 in advance ($50 at the gate); Kids 12 & under are free. Get your tickets here!

August 18, 6-9pm | August 19, 1-9:30pm


Michael Meadows Farewell Show

We are sad to report that popular local singer-songwriter and formal festival performer, Michael Meadows, is leaving the area. BUT, before he leaves, he is putting on a farewell show and donating all proceeds to the festival! Please join us for this event – Michael promises a free CD to the first 217 people!

Philosophical fish, confused cows and lovesick cicadas are some of the creatures that populate Michael Meadows’s hysterical, disturbing, and often thought-provoking songs. He offers skewed satirical commentary on evolution, income inequality, climate change and other plagues of civilization. “What’s That Knocking?” – a track from his CD, “The First Four Billion Years Are the Hardest,” – was featured on NPR’s “Car Talk”.

Thursday, August 3, 2017, 7:00pm
Iron Post, 120 S. Race St., Urbana
$5.00 cover charge