ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival 2015 Unveils Artist Lineup

Article Contributed by LiveLoud | Published on Wednesday, August 19, 2015

On September 10, 11, and 12, 2015, a stunning display of the world’s most remarkable and significant guitarists will gather for the sixth installment of ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival, presented by Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Situated in a vibrant micro-urban setting, the internationally recognized, biennial event features, “a prodigious array of the world’s most distinctive and influential guitarists” (Premier Guitar) from around the globe, including for 2015 artists rooted in Mali, Australia, China, Spain, Palestine, India, Mexico, and from throughout the United States.  Tickets are on sale now at www.ellnoraguitarfestival.com
ELLNORA is anything but your typical music festival. Krannert Center for the Performing Arts incorporates seven unique, state-of-the-art performance spaces—both indoor and outdoor, both formal and informal—that make it particularly well suited to showcase the festival’s impressive range. This year’s incarnation of ELLNORA incorporates 11 individually ticketed events including performances by Rodrigo y Gabriela, Punch Brothers, Los Lobos, Bucky and John Pizzarelli, Dan Zanes, and Drive-By Truckers, along with at least 11 free shows (including concerts by John Scofield and Jon Cleary, Valerie June, Andy McKee, Earth, David Hidalgo and Marc Ribot, and Jessica Lea Mayfield).
For 2015, ELLNORA will once again feature an artist-in-residence. Triple Grammy Award-winning classical guitarist Sharon Isbin is an ELLNORA alum whose incredible career has included over 25 albums and the distinction of founding the Juilliard School’s guitar department, in addition to currently helming the guitar department at the Aspen Music Festival. Isbin, whose work spans baroque, Latin, and jazz-fusion, is also a noted author, recipient of Guitar Player’s “Best Classical Guitarist” award, and subject of the one-hour documentary Sharon Isbin: Troubadour which will be shown along with a question and answer session featuring Isbin herself at The Art Theater in Champaign the evening before ELLNORA begins.
2011’s artist-in-residence Luther Dickinson will also return, this time with brother Cody for an opening night Southern blues set by their North Mississippi Allstars incarnation. The $5 Opening Night Party will also include sets of electrifying sacred steel blues from the AJ Ghent Band, Terakaft’s genuine desert-blues rock, John Jorgenson Quintet filling the Amphitheatre with gypsy jazz, and Mia Dyson, one of Australia’s “top 25 guitarists” sharing her blues-rock riffs in an open-air set.
ELLNORA, which bears the name of its venue’s visionary founder, Ellnora Krannert, provides a vital showcase for some of today’s most prominent female artists. In addition to Sharon Isbin and Mia Dyson, female artists for 2015 include Valerie June and her “organic moonshine roots music,” the first lady of the banjo Abigail Washburn (alongside husband Béla Fleck), bluegrass virtuoso Rhonda Vincent, Hawaiian hula dancer and chanter Moanalani Beamer (alongside the slack key artistry of Keola Beamer and Jeff Peterson), pipa player Min Xiao-Fen, and noir-rocker Jessica Lea Mayfield, among others.
Originally known as the Wall to Wall Guitar Festival before being rechristened ELLNORA in 2009, the event is organized by Krannert Center’s director, Mike Ross, and his staff in collaboration with curator and artistic advisor David Spelman, who is also founder/artistic director of the world-renowned New York Guitar Festival. In the years since its debut, ELLNORA has served as a model for other events in the United States and around the world.
View A Short Film: ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmyByay0y2c
(Descriptions available at EllnoraGuitarFestival.com and KrannertCenter.com)
Thursday, September 10
6pm Opening Night Party, $5 for all
6:30pm Terakaft, Lobby Stage 6 
7pm Mia Dyson, Amphitheatre on the west terrace
7:30pm AJ Ghent Band, Lobby Stage 5
8:30pm John Jorgenson Quintet, Amphitheatre on the west terrace
8:45pm North Mississippi Allstars, Lobby Stage 6   
Friday, September 11
Noon Valerie June/Andy McKee, Lobby Stage 5, free 
2pm Squonk’s Pneumatica, Amphitheatre/west terrace, free 
3pm Keynote: A Conversation with Sharon Isbin, Foellinger Great Hall
4pm Star Rover, Sonic Garden, free 
5pm David Hidalgo and Marc Ribot, Lobby Stage 5, free 
6pm Squonk’s Pneumatica, Amphitheatre/west terrace, free 
6:15pm Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Foellinger Great Hall, $10-$29
7:30pm Rhonda Vincent and The Rage, Colwell Playhouse, $10-$44
9pm Drive-By Truckers, Tryon Festival Theatre, $10-$49
10:30pm Earth with Dylan Carlson, Sonic Garden, free 
Saturday, September 12
9:15am Squonk’s Pneumatica, Amphitheatre/west terrace, free 
10am Dan Zanes and Friends Celebrate Lead Belly!, Tryon Festival Theatre, $5-$15
10am Keola Beamer and Jeff Peterson with Moanalani Beamer, Lobby Stage 5, free 
11am Sharon Isbin with Colin Davin, Foellinger Great Hall, $10-$39
Noon Squonk’s Pneumatica, Amphitheatre/west terrace, free 
1pm Min Xiao-Fen, solo pipa: Mao, Monk, and Me/Simon Shaheen, Sashank Navaladi,
        and Juan Pérez Rodriguez, Colwell Playhouse, $10-$29
2:30pm Punch Brothers, Tryon Festival Theatre, $10-$44
4pm Bucky and John Pizzarelli, Foellinger Great Hall, $10-$44
5:30pm Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear, Lobby Stage 5, free 
6:30pm Jessica Lea Mayfield, Sonic Garden, free 
8pm Los Lobos, Tryon Festival Theatre, $10-$34
9:30pm Rodrigo y Gabriela, Colwell Playhouse, $10-$49
10:45pm Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint with Dither, Mark Stewart, and Friends,
               Sonic Garden, free 
11pm John Scofield and Jon Cleary, Lobby Stage 5, free