Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Evanston SPACE to host first annual Evanston Folk Festival in September

Man+playing+the+banjo+sits+looking+at+water+and+text+that+says+%E2%80%9CEvanston+Folk+Festival%E2%80%9D
Illustration by Ziye Wang
Evanston Folk Festival will be held at Dawes Park on Sept. 7 and 8.

Evanston SPACE will host the first annual Evanston Folk Festival at Dawes Park on Sept. 7 and 8.

The festival will include three musical stages featuring over 30 artists as well as speakers, food, beverages and ticketed evening performances at SPACE and Cahn Auditorium.

Sierra Ferrell and Patty Griffin will headline the event. Other performers include Hiss Golden Messenger, Sarah Jarosz, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Madi Diaz, Yasmin Williams and more.

Williams said she is excited to play in the first iteration of a folk festival with performers she admires.

“The lineup just looked really, really great, so it was an immediate yes,” Williams said. “I’m hoping there’ll be cross-collaborations with various people performing at the festival.”

Folk trio Sons of the Never Wrong will also perform at the event. The Chicago-based trio features Bruce Roper, Deborah Lader and Sue Demel. Lader said the trio plays alternative folk with influences from jazz, electric and blues music.

Lader said the trio is excited to play in a festival so close to home.

“It’s really well organized — the graphics are great, the branding is great,” Lader said. “It looks like (SPACE) is taking care of all the business end of things really nicely.”

The festival will also have an “In Conversation” tent featuring book talks and discussions about the folk music genre. Some featured authors include Jeff Tweedy, Ann Powers and Mark Guarino.

Depaul Prof. and Author Francesca Royster said she is excited about the integration of book talks within a music festival.

“Being a part of a concert brings the book alive,” Royster said. “It makes it feel less like a state academic book and really connects it to people who are interested in making the music and to fans.”

Royster will discuss her book “Black Country Music: Listening for Revolutions” at the festival.

Her book focuses on recentering country music to include the creative contributions of African American people from a Black queer feminist lens. An example of this contribution is the banjo, Royster said.

“I really spent some time thinking about the way that the banjo has traveled, as an African based instrument that also was used in blackface and minstrel shows, and use it as an example of the difficult history of African American contributions to the country,” Royster said.

The ticketed aftershows at SPACE will have performances by Steve Earle, Rufus Wainwright, Deer Tick and more. Tickets for the aftershow will go on sale on May 17.

Two-day general admission tickets are currently on sale for $99.50. Children under the age of 12 receive free admission. Half-price tickets for children aged 12-16 will be available at the entry gate, even if the event is sold out.

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Sierra Ferrell’s name. The Daily regrets the error.

Email: [email protected] 

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