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.
I made a wish on the Zoltar fortune Telling machine. I wished I could unwind and rewind back to the glory days. I wished my youth wasn’t wasted when I was young. I wished to be me, free of worry, like the days of childhood Summer Camp, adventurous and curious, exploring the wonders of nature.
Located along the serene Maremac River, Lost Hill Lake offers a natural venue and spot for a festival of interactive workshops and large, late night bonfire jams. Two stages are separated by the shade of a 50 year-old walnut grove, where the audience can participate in camping, have lake and river access and an assortment of food, artisan crafts and more. The 14-band lineup consists of local, regional and national touring bands performing a range of traditional and progressive bluegrass, jamgrass, Americana folk and more.
This review is going to read more like a sci-fi story. Do not adjust your grammatical eyes or correct the run-on sentences. You are entering my Shoe Fest Vision. For only 72 hours, gates opened at 10 am on Friday and closed down at 10 am on Monday Labor Day. Once crossed into Shoe Fest 2018 at Camp Shaw-waw-nas-see (affectionately known as Camp Shaw) in Manteno IL, you were greeted with unexpected twists and left with a good moral learned. A fest like this is filled with instant karma.
I had one question as I was pulling into Bean Blossom, Indiana for this year’s John Hartford Memorial Festival. “Can they keep the spirit of this thing alive with continued success?” There is something different and special happening in this event, and we all know what happens when beautiful special things really take off and become tremendously successful. I didn’t doubt that I was about to take part in something truly good, but I was – let’s say worried. I don’t want to see this festival lose its way.
Translators of iconic music as well as innovative original material, Chicago’s Old Shoe, brings a classic live album back to life. With their good pal and very talented singer/songwriter on board, Chicago Farmer will accompany Old Shoe with his soulful renditions of Bob Dylan tunes. Both artists will pay homage to 1989’s Dylan & the Dead, a collaborative live album which was recorded while on a successful stadium tour of the same name in 1987.
Chicago Farmer, the moniker Bloomington, Illinois’ Cody Diekhoff performs and writes under, is set to independently release his 7th album, Midwest Side Stories, on September 30, 2016. Midwest Side Stories is about hope, depression, job loss, meth, skateboards, a divided nation, used cars, the late shift, farms, factories, the destruction of our environment, and still being around to sing about it.
For a little over a decade, Chicago Farmer has been cultivating a field of dreams by entertaining people around the country with his lyrical tales, and catchy sing-a-long songs. Countless miles, chords, and guitar strings have led the traveling storyteller to a major milestone in his glowing career. On Saturday, May 2, Chicago Farmer will perform his Folkin’ 999th Show at the Beat Kitchen (2100 W. Belmont Ave) in Chicago, beginning at 8:30 pm, featuring special guests, free merch, and something new.