WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Showcasing "The Best Folk Music in Illinois"

Jul 23, 2016

A former Swedish colony in western Illinois will be the setting for a music festival that aims to demonstrate the depth of the folk music genre.  The Bishop Hill Folk Festival, which is free and open to the public, will be held July 30 and 31 in the Bishop Hill Village Park.

“It (Bishop Hill) is a beautiful historic site. It’s a perfect location to have a small music festival,” said Macomb-based musician Chris Vallillo, who is helping organize the event.

“The idea is to present this incredibly wide range of folk and traditional music that Illinois has and bring them together in a place where folks can enjoy a wonderful afternoon of music.”

Many of the artists will also lead free workshops both days.  The workshops will be held in the Steeple Building.

The events are being hosted by the Bishop Hill Heritage Association.

The performance schedule:

Saturday, July 30

  • Noon – Paul Wilson & Mary Abendroth (Swedish)
  • 1:00 pm – Bahola (Celtic)
  • 2:00 pm – Joel Mabus (Old Time and Original Midwest Music)
  • 3:00 pm – Los Condenados Huastecos (Mexican)
  • 4:00 pm – Chicago Spelmanslag (Swedish)
  • 5:00 pm – Volo Bogtrotters (Old Time String Band)

Sunday, July 31

  • Noon – Holy Cross Immaculate Heart Marimba Band
  • 1:00 pm – Chris Vallillo (Rural Illinois Music)
  • 2:00 pm – Nordland Band (Swedish)
  • 3:00 pm – Catfish Keith (Blues)
  • 4:00 pm – Bill Robinson and Friends (Hammered Dulcimer)

The workshop schedule:

Saturday, July 30

  • 2:15 pm -- Bahola
  • 3:15 pm -- Joel Mabus
  • 4:15 pm -- Los Condenados Huastecos
  • 5:15 pm -- Chicago Spelmanslag

Sunday, July 31

  • 2:15 pm -- Bill Robinson
  • 3:15 pm -- Nordland Band
  • 4:15 pm -- Catfish Keith

Vallillo said a lot of people pigeonhole folk music as being like Peter, Paul, & Mary or the Kingston Trio. But he said it’s much more diverse than that.

“It’s quite literally the soundtrack of America, particularly the melting pot that America is. And our goal was to represent all of these different aspects as much as we could in a limited time,” he said, adding he feels folks music comes from the people to express the joys and sorrows of every day life.