Mean Lids festival preview!

Can’t wait for the festival to be here? Join us for a festival preview on October 24th at Krannert Uncorked with the Mean Lids!

Mean Lids

“Self-described as “one part smooth Irish session, one part spicy cajun-zydeco, one part hot western swing, with two parts driving southern old-time,” this trio captures the dancehall energy of the living folk tradition. The funky spirits of violinist Ben Smith, Miriam Larson on flute, and guitarists Matt Turino will set a festive tone for the Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots Festival on November 1 and 2.”

Only 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.

Thursday, October 24th, 5:00pm-7:00pm
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Stage 5

Fiddling from Far to Near, with Kate Fritz

Kate FritzJoin Kate Fritz for an exploration of the western fiddle music diaspora. How did the migration of people: Irish, Scottish, West African, French, Caribbean, and Roma, affect the sounds of distinctive regional North American fiddle styles we hear today? What factors influenced the rhythms and melodies that we now identify as Appalachian, Quebecois, Cajun, and Cape Breton fiddling?  In the first half of this workshop we will listen to source recordings and discuss. In the second half, we will learn a couple of tunes that have jumped traditions and break apart bowing and ornamentation for a deeper understanding of the context and richness of this music.

Saturday, November 2nd, 11:00am-12:00pm

Prairie Dogs Performance and Beatles Play-Along

Prairie Dogs

Calling musicians of all levels!! The Prairie Dogs invite you to BRING YOUR INSTRUMENT and play and sing along to all your Beatles favorites, including, but not limited to, the Rubber Soul album. Then, sit back and listen to a few Prairie Dogs favorites.

The Prairie Dogs have been a fixture of the Champaign-Urbana music scene for 15 years. They know a thousand songs and a hundred jokes. Guaranteed to make you laugh or cry! Join them for a good old-fashioned singalong!

Friday, November 1st, 5:00pm-7:00pm
Iron Post

Ukulele Jugband

Del ReyJoin Del Rey for a jugless, all ukulele, hokum-blues shindig, with playing and singing parts for all levels of player. Music from a 1920s Memphis street corner, orchestrated for all-ukuleles all the time!


Saturday, November 2nd, 3:15pm-4:15pm
Independent Media Center

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 eleven (yes, ELEVEN) solo albums on his own label, which is actually literally called “The Hand-Made Record Label.” This fall, Paul celebrates 20 years of living and making music in Urbana, Illinois.

Saturday, November 2nd, 10:00am-11:00am
Strawberry Fields

Keith Harden

Keith HardenKeith Harden is a singer-songwriter guitarist who plays folk-blues-americana, and so on. Originally a central Illinois native, Keith perfored in the Midwest and  opened for legends like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and others. Keith played countless gigs as a solo acoustic performer, with several different duo partners, and with his electric blues band. After that, Keith lived and performed in upstate New York for several years where he opened for Bobby Blue Bland, Jorma Kaukonen and others before moving to Nashville, Tennessee to focus on writing, recording, and performing. His latest recording is a seven song EP titled “Calico Girl.”

Saturday, November 2nd, 10:30pm-11:45pm
Wristband or cover

Orpheus Mandolin Orchestra

Orpheus Mandolin OrchestraThe Orpheus Mandolin Orchestra comes to us from Bloomington, Illinois, where it grew out of old-time jam session that attracted a remarkable number of mandolin players. The Orchestra’s repertoire includes popular turn-of-the-century songs, ragtime, classical, jazz, and bluegrass. The Orchestra is beloved in its community and plays for the sheer love of music, but advertises itself as “open to all high class engagements.”  New members welcome.

Early Orpheus Mandolin Orchestra







Saturday, November 2nd, 2:15pm-3:15pm
Urbana Free Library, Busey-Mills Reading Room

Shape-note singing

Shape-note singingShape-note singing is a musical-notation system developed by 18th-century itinerant American singing masters to quickly teach 4-part unaccompanied vocal harmony for use in worship. The term “shape note” comes from the use of different shapes for the note heads to indicate intervals between the pitches. Abraham Lincoln was reported to have sung it at New Salem; John Wesley Powell is believed to have taught it in Macon County, IL. The Sacred Harp is a shape-note tune book that was first published in 1844. The book has remained in continuous use ever since, traveling from its New England roots into the deep South and back out to all corners of the Nation. No longer connected to any particular church denomination, today the unique harmony, full-throated energy and community experience embraced by Sacred Harp singers appeal to participants from all walks of life. At the CU Folk and Roots Festival, experienced singers will lead as everyone is invited to join in. We’ll include a brief explanation of the shape-note system during a break mid-way through our session, but no note-reading or shape-note experience is needed. Listeners are also welcome. Loaner songbooks will be provided.

Saturday, November 2nd, 10:00am-12:00pm
Independent Media Center

The Viper and His Famous Orchestra

The Viper and His Famous OrchestraBurdened with four strings and the truth, The Viper and His Famous Orchestra deliver a powerful blend of street-corner jazz, front-porch country, and meeting-hall agitprop.

The Famous Orchestra features a unique lineup of ukulele, trombone, upright bass, and suitcase. Their millennial DIY sound frames The Viper’s well-crafted songs about love, theft, buildings, bus routes, life in the key of Bb, and the work of skiffle in an age of mechanical reproduction.


Saturday, November 2nd, 11:15pm-12:30am
Iron Post
Wristband or cover