The 7th annual John Hartford Memorial Festival is in the books. We thought year 6 was great, well folks, you outdid yourselves. You brought friends that you love, and we grew. The general feeling was one of family and safety, and always, "laid back". Factor in the reason why you came and the reason why we do this. Music. The music of our namesake John Hartford, the music of our performers, our contestants, and your music. Jams were abundant, and we think this is in part due to The Pete Wernick Jam camp taught by Jeff Burke, which Jeff says was once again "a great success". Folks wandered the campgrounds with instruments and found jams amongst old friends and new friends. Festival Founder John Hotze called this year "Lucky 7", mainly because the weather was superb. Temperatures were moderate and comfortable and there was no rain issue at all. Youngsters everywhere enjoyed The Kids Lot. Thanks to Molly and Darren Gross and Sarah Kenny for making sure the kids lot was packed with fun, creative and educational activities. According to Co-Producer Tom Burkhart, "This is what we wanted. Everyone was happy, everyone was family. This is what we work year-round for. This is good."
Workshops were well attended and entertaining as Betty Harford, Ginger Boatwright and Vince Herman bonded with the audience and had fun remembering and relating tales of John Hartford and some of their own. Ginger Boatright told a most touching story about her bout with cancer, about the same time John Hartford was dealing with his diagnosis and the ensuing sickness. After Ginger telling him about her outlook and optimism, Hartford wrote "Learning to Smile All Over Again".
Contest Winners Announced:
Congratulation to our 2017 contest winners in the Songwriting, Band, Banjo and Fiddle categories. Our contestants continue to represent some of the most proficient pickers, performers and songwriters in the country. Get ready for JHMF8 and check back for the dates of our online kickoff for our popular songwriting and band contests. Remember you can listen to five years of top ten John Hartford inspired songs at our website by clicking here. We do consider our contestants for booking whether they win or not. Our Band contest winners are guaranteed a Hartford Stage set for the following year. Our Songwriter's Challenge winner is also invited back to perform their winning song on the Hartford Stage as part of the Songwriter's Showcase
1st Micahlan Boney - Claxton, GA (16 years old)
2nd Aubry Eisenman - Asheville NC
3rd Scott Nelson - Noblesville IN
1st Ida Clare - Louisville, KY
2nd Tangleweed - from Chicago, IL
3rd Big Sadie - Chicago area
1st Eleanor Hitchings - Bloomington, IN
2nd Emma Wilkie - Louisville, KY
3rd Nolan Strupeck - La Point, IN (6 years old)
1st Marc Harris - Cincinnati, OH
2nd Elvin Deckard - Bloomington, IN (13 years old).
3rd Tyler Frank - St Louis, MO