The industry has spoken, and the rich sound of bluegrass music has catapulted Frankfort, Ill., into the global spotlight.
The International Bluegrass Music Association proclaimed Frankfort Bluegrass on the Green as the 2018 Event of the Year during its awards ceremony in Raleigh, N.C., last September.
One year removed from the ultimate praise from peers, the organizing committee is hardly resting on its laurels, but rather, hustling to top last year’s award-winning event and rallying the volunteers needed for another successful undertaking.
“Every year we hold ourselves to a higher standard, which explains how we get such a talented lineup of musicians to perform, as well as fans from 50 states,” said April Jackson, a founding member and hospitality coordinator. “Event of the year recognition implies that we are becoming the artists’ choice, and that raises the level of excellence for everyone.”
A scheduled 40 performances by more than 20 national, regional and local bands will grace two stages over the weekend of July 13-14 in historic downtown Frankfort. The non-profit, family-friendly event includes children’s activities tents, a picker’s tent, workshops and
Two stages—”Briedert Green Stage” and “Prairie Park Stage”—will remain active from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.
“Every year is better and better, and it’s a credit all our volunteers and sponsors,” said Jennifer Wonnell, a volunteer coordinator. “Keeping this event free is a coordinated effort, and we encourage people to visit the website and give us a few hours of time if you believe in our mission to keep the music free for all.”
Bluegrass music mirrors the United States’ rich melting pot of ethnicity. Bluegrass is steeped in music traditions from around the world, honed largely in Appalachia from the roots of traditional Irish, Scottish, English and African-American music.
From its storied beginning featuring the likes of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, New Grass Revival and the Grateful Dead to the blossoming stars of today such as Mumford & Sons, the Avett Brothers and the Lumineers, bluegrass music has seen a rise in popularity among Americans.
This year’s fest will welcome Grammy Award-nominated bands Blue Highway and Chicago-based favorite The Special Consensus.
The lineup will also include Blue Highway, The Hillbenders, Head for the Hills, Henhouse Prowlers, the Rol and White Band, Nathan Blake Lynn, Miles Over Mountains, The Grateful String Band, River Valley Rangers, HomeStretch Ride, Fox Crossing String Band, John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band, Junior Sisk, Nu-Blu, Chris Jones and The Night Drivers, Barefoot Movement, Bluegrass Experience, Breaking Grass, Truman Ridge, Anderlick, Otto and Church, Dyer Switch Band and Georgia Rae Family Band.
Grass seating is plentiful, and organizers encourage people to bring blankets and lawn chairs.
For stage schedule and other information, visit the website at frankfortbluegrassfest.com.