Back in April, the C-U Folk & Roots Festival revealed that their headliner for their 10th annual festival will be Robbie Fulks, who performed at the very first one. The festival runs October 18-20 this year, and you can check out the full lineup at their website. Passes are on sale now.

Check out the press release:

10th Annual Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots Festival October 18-20

Celebrating its tenth year, the annual Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots Festival will be held in downtown Urbana on Thursday, October 18 through Saturday, October 20

“The 10th annual C-U Folk & Roots Festival lineup includes several long-time festival favorites as well as many first-time performers,” explained Rob Krumm, who chairs the all-volunteer festival. “Our goal has always been to provide a one-of-a-kind, inclusive, accessible, and diverse community experience. The grassroots music and arts festival brings together national, regional, and local artists and organizations for about 80 high-quality, interactive music performances, dances, storytelling, and hands-on activities for all ages.” 

The Festival’s kick-off event will be from 5to 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 18 in the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts lobby. The free show will feature the Latin folk fusion band Son Monarcas from Chicago. Joining this performance will be local musicians Jose Gobbo and Nathaniel Ruiz.

Highlighting this year’s festival is Robbie Fulks, a Chicago-based singer/songwriter whose work covers everything from roots rock, traditional country, bluegrass, and folk. Fulks headlined the first C-U Folk and Roots Festival in 2009 and will be performing with guitarist Redd Volkaert—a Grammy winner, longtime lead guitarist with Merle Haggard, and guest artist at the Ellnora Guitar Festival—and singer Linda Gail Lewis (who happens to Jerry Lee Lewis’ younger sister).

Multi-instrumentalist bluesman Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton returns for his third festival appearance. Other returning artists include Richie Stearns and Rosie Newton (Trumansburg, NY), Mother Banjo (Minneapolis), Devil in a Woodpile (Chicago), Fiddlin’ Banjo Billy Mathews, and children’s performers Deep Fried Pickle Project (Chicago), Miss Hanna Rae (Cincinnati, OH), The Rhumba Bums (Charleston, IL), and Tom Turino and Shannon Arnold (Lexington, KY).

Nikki D. Brown—described as the “Jimi Hendrix of Sacred Steel”— will perform with the Sisters of Thunder. The 9th Street Stompers (Chattanooga, TN) and Ever Lovin’ Jug Band (Waterloo, ON, Canada) feature blues and ragtime reminiscent of the early 1900’s. Other regional acts include banjo player, historian, and author Stephen Wade, Joseph Huber (Milwaukee, WI), The Mighty Pines (St. Louis), Rum Drum Ramblers (St. Louis), and Will and Marina Hope (Galesburg, IL).

A number of local acts will also be part of the festival including Charlie Ford, Joe Asselin, Mackville Bluegrass Band, the Knights of Cabiria, the Coneflowers, the Church St. Ramblers, Wildwood, Dearie, Orpheus Mandolin Orchestra (Bloomington, IL), Chris Maden, Jean Rene Balekita, Bones Jugs, the Caleb Cook Band, John Coppess, and storyteller Dan Keding.

On Friday and Saturday, all festival events and performances venues will take place in downtown Urbana venues including the historic Rose Bowl Tavern, Iron Post, Blackbird , Community Center for the Arts, Sipyard, the Cohen Building, Busey Bank, the Urbana Free Library, and the Urbana First United Methodist Church.

Saturday’s daytime program, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., continues to be entirely free, with many family-friendly events at the Urbana Free Library, the Community Center for the Arts, and other downtown venues. These events include musical performances, storytelling, hands-on workshops, demonstrations, dance lessons and dance, jam sessions, and sing-alongs.

Full festival wristbands are $40 and will be available for purchase in-advance at the Rose Bowl and Iron Post in Urbana, and at The Upper Bout guitar shop and Techline in Champaign. In addition, wristbands can be purchased online at and at the festival booth at the Urbana Market at the Square. Single day wristbands ($20) and individual-venue admission will be available during the festival.

The C-U Folk and Roots Festival is a not-for-profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to the promotion of accessible art forms and community building in East Central Illinois. Volunteers are always welcome to join our community, make friends, have fun, and support the folk arts.