I was a real nowhere lass, sitting on my nowhere ass, making all my nowhere plans for nobody. Memorial Day weekend is supposed to be spent at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, IL for Summer Camp Music Festival. Two years without my big blowout weekend left me a real blind bat. I had feared when they announced an August attempt, would it even happen? Would it be safe? Would it be the same? I was unperceptive to what I used to consider my thing, my scene, festivals were my jam.
While post-pandemic etiquette is on a lot of folk’s minds, John Hartford Memorial Festival goers are a little different. 2020 ticket holders were refunded if they wanted but so many gave up the cost of their tickets to donate to the organization that 2021 turned into a modest camp out complete with 12 bands for free. Miles of silence and long days of dreary COVID but the faithful keep coming back to Bean Blossom.
Illinois-based Cody “Chicago Farmer” Diekhof paired up with Texas’ The Band of Heathens for Flyover Country, independently released February 7. With DJs across the country spinning many of the songs from the album, it is climbing up the Americana and Folk radio charts in an increasingly competitive landscape. In the past few weeks the album shot up to #18 after debuting at #33 on the Americana Radio Albums Chart and is currently at #9 on the NACC Folk Radio Chart.
For recording artists, albums can be like children — it’s hard to go on record choosing one as a favorite. But Cody “Chicago Farmer” Diekhoff doesn’t hesitate to designate his forthcoming release, Flyover Country, as his “golden child.”
“I think it’s my best work so far and definitely the one that I put the most into,” Diekhoff said of the 10-song album, due out Feb. 7, 2020.
Greeted at the door, we were taken to our seats right up front for this fancy evening out on the town. City Winery has amazing food, locally sourced wine, and most importantly, excellent acoustic sound. The room is built for intimate music and cozy experiences. Cozy is the way to politely say tight quarters. When Jimmy, John, and Kate were seated next to us, I wasn’t sure where to put my elbows.
Grateful Web had the chance to chat with Cody Diekhoff, better known as Chicago Farmer. He will be playing his first headlining show at City Winery Chicago on Thursday, October 3rd, 2019 with special guest Althea Grace opening the show for him. His style can best be described as a folk artist with a bold talent for storytelling.
I’ve had a few whirlwind romances with festivals before, but I’m infatuated with you, dear Shoe Fest 2019. The understated red and gold signs off the highway invited us in and although I cannot find the right words to say, I shall try to express how I love thee. From the moment we entered Camp Shaw-waw-nas-see in Manteno IL, we knew that this would be a truly special Labor Day weekend. There was a twinkle in security’s eyes when they approved our non-firework no glass bottles camper ready wagon. They waved us through as if it were their job to bring the most satisfaction and to welcome us in, accepting us as another member to the Shoe Family Tribe. We quickly and easily parked, gazing out over the sea of cars in anticipation of the festival grounds.
Unlike larger festivals, Shoe Fest is a unique festival, in that it offers patrons folk-rooted music with multiple interactive experiences. The main focus of the festival is on bringing people of all ages together to relish in a carefree community where they can leave their busy lives behind and actually have a good time.
When I was invited, for the third time, to review the John Hartford Memorial Festival, in its 9th year, I heartily accepted. I also tried to bring people along, because it’s an experience worth sharing. I was at a loss, at first, to explain it. Not just a bluegrass festival. A picking festival? Mostly. But with elements ranging from old-time Americana, root music, classical and rock and jazz- I settled on bluegrass and its extended family. It turns out that ‘extended family’ would come back around a few times.