Smile Politely

Ellnora Guitar Festival 2013 lineup

Today is the day. Krannert Center for the Performing Arts’ fantastic guitar festival is back in 2013. After a long wait since the festival last took over Urbana in 2011, they’re back at it this year with another impressive lineup, which you can see below.


JONNY LANG — Lobby (Stage 5 and Stage 6), Amphitheatre, and Southeast Terrace :: 6 p.m. :: $5 (free for 5 and under)

with Sam Bush/Del McCoury Duo, The Lee Boys, Stephane Wramble and His Band, Fiona Boyes Trio

The legendary Jonny Lang headlines night 1 of Ellnora this year with a handful of other terrific acts to accompany him. The Grammy Award-winning Lang closes out the first night of the festival as the other acts will be split up amongst the different stages around Krannert Center. A ridiculously affordable price for this show makes these performances that much more appealing to kick off the the festival.


BUDDY GUY — Tryon Festival Theatre :: 9 p.m. :: $10–48

Guitar legend Buddy Guy graces the festival with his presence this year, headlining Friday night of the festival. Guy performed at the festival in 2007, and returns for another go-round. Even at the age of 77 he still rips guitar licks in his live performances, and it can’t be denied that Guy is one of the most influential guitarists of all time.

J. SPACEMAN — Foellinger Great Hall :: 6:15 p.m. :: $10–40

As announced last week, Spiritualized and Spaceman 3 leading man Jason Pierce, aka J. Spaceman, will be leading the way in the festival’s shoegaze portion this year. He’s coming off of a very strong 2012 as Spiritualized released their stellar Sweet Heart Sweet Light to critical acclaim. This will most definitely be a stellar show to see in the Foellinger Great Hall this year.

LUTHER DICKINSON & THE WANDERING — 4 p.m. :: Amphitheatre :: free

Luther Dickinson is somewhat of a trademark name at Ellnora each time it comes around. But honestly, it doesn’t seem repetative or worn out. He’s typically doing work with his band the North Mississippi Allstars, who absolutely shred on stage, but he’s usually on his own at Ellnora. He’ll be joined by the Wandering for a free show this time around.

BUKE AND GASE — Sonic Garden :: 10:45 p.m. :: free

If there was a band made for Ellnora, Buke and Gase might be it. This duo is all about the guitar, having invented a pair of guitar-hybrids, including the a six-string former baritone ukulele (the “buke”) and a guitar-bass (the “gase”). They use these, along with other unique instruments, to create thundering rhythms and sweeping textures around the core structure of their grungy songs, which will certainly light up the night at Ellnora.

EL TEN ELEVEN — Stage 5 :: 10:45 p.m. :: free

This fully instrumental outfit will fit perfectly into the theme of the night, which embraces not only that, but a more indie rock focus. They’ll perform following Buddy Guy’s performance, so the start time is tentative. For now, I’d recommend spinning some of their records if you’re not familiar. They have more of a post-rock vibe with steel pedal effects that is pretty hypnotizing. This will be an awesome mix within not only the instrumental portion, but for the festival overall as well.

Other Noteworthy Shows (writeups taken from the press release):

Andreas Aase/Derek Gripper

Friday, September 9, 2013, at noon

Andreas Aase nimbly manipulates the bouzouki to weave traditional Scandinavian and Norwegian tunes with atmosphere-inducing electronic sampling techniques. Derek Gripper calls on his own South African roots with virtuosic melodies and hints of European, Indian, and Brazilian influences in his kora music.

Stage 5; free (donations welcome)

Keynote: A Conversation with Paco Peña

Jason Vieaux, interviewer

Friday, September 6, 2013, at 3 p.m.

In this keynote event, classical guitarist Jason Vieaux will interview flamenco guitarist Paco Peña. The duo will cover Peña’s life and approach to performance, his Andalusian heritage and explorations of flamenco as a cultural expression, and the importance of mentorship.

Foellinger Great Hall; free (donations welcome)

Del Castillo

Friday, September 6, 2013, at 5 p.m.

OUTSIDE at the Research Park vets Rick and Mark del Castillo earned an astonishing 18 awards for their Latin-flavored and rock-fueled debut CD. Expect an evening of incomparable energy, driving flamenco beats, and a good dose of Latin blues on dueling Gibson guitars.

Stage 5; free (donations welcome)

The John Scofield Überjam Band featuring Andy Hess, Avi Bortnick, and Tony Mason

Friday, September 6, 2013, at 7:30 p.m.

The modern jazz-rock master John Scofield earned his wings with bandleaders such as Chet Baker, Gary Burton, and Miles Davis in the 1970s and 1980s and has been flying ever since. He brings to ELLNORA the jam of all jams, reuniting his legendary Überjam Band to revel in a smart, gritty fusion.

Colwell Playhouse; $10–$48


LUCINDA WILLIAMS — Tryon Festival Theatre :: 9:30 p.m. :: $10–48

Performing since the late ’70s, Williams’ is a name that should stand out for most music fans. The blues, folk, and Americana musician was named America’s best songwriter by TIME magazine in 2002, and in recent years has been known for her collaborative work and activism. On a more folk-oriented day at Ellnora, Williams will provide fans with a perfect send-off.

ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA — Colwell Playhouse :: 7:30 p.m. :: $10–35

In life, Frank Zappa was heralded for his immense creativity and ability to blend an extremely wide range of genres into one song. Since passing in 1993, his legacy on music has not diminished, and his son, Dweezil, has taken up the mantle to continue playing his father’s music. Besides Dweezil, the Zappa Plays Zappa band features many musicians who previously played with Frank Zappa, giving fans the most authentic Zappa experience possible. 

PACO PEÑA — Tryon Festival Theatre :: 1 p.m. :: $10–38

Spanish flamenco artist Paco Peña will be present at Ellnora this year in a variety of fashions. First as a performer, as well as a panelist with his own Q&A/interview session. He’s regarded as one of the world’s foremost traditional flamenco guitarist and perfomers. He’s been touring around the world for decades, and he’ll be stopping through C-U for this year’s festival.

GYAN RILEY — Sonic Garden :: 6:30 p.m. :: free

With the musical pedigree of his father, musician and renowned composer Terry Riley, Gyan Riley might get overlooked for his own work. Not so fast — Riley has a musical capacity all his own, appearing all around the world and collaborating with the best of the best. Performing mostly with an acoustic guitar, Riley’s performances are captivating and progressive, while keeping a traditional instrumental acoustic backbone within his performances.

Other Noteworthy Shows (writeups taken from the press release):

Ana Vidovic & Jason Vieaux

Saturday, September 7, 2013, at 11 a.m.

Jason Vieaux’s accomplishments since his 1998 Sunday Salon Series performance at Krannert Center have marked him as a leader in his generation. From training with Manuel Barrueco to global touring, Ana Vidovic has emerged as a skillful player with stylistic sensitivity, exceptional technique, and a soulful demeanor.

Foellinger Great Hall; $10–38

Dan Zanes and Friends

Saturday, September 7, 2013, at 10 a.m.

ELLNORA audiences treasure the exuberant sounds of Grammy Award-winning, four-time guitar festival alum Dan Zanes. Rootsy Americana tunes mix beautifully with West Indian folk inflections, Latin rhythms, and dance party grooves whenever Zanes takes the stage with his merry band of musical friends.

Tryon Festival Theatre; $5–15

Morning Raga: Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya

Subhasis Bhattacharya, tabla

Anandi Bhattacharya, vocals

Saturday, September 7, 2013, at 10 a.m.

When Hindustani slide guitar master and instrument architect Debashish Bhattacharya plays his chaturangi and anandi, he represents the legacy and future of Indian slide traditions. With his brother Subhasis and daughter Anandi, Debashish builds mesmerizing, groundbreaking raga improvisations.

Stage 5; free (donations welcome)

Dan Zanes: Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill Jr.

Saturday, September 7, 2013, at 2:30 p.m.

Almost 50 years after Buster Keaton’s death, his films still rank in “best of” polls. ELLNORA fan favorite Dan Zanes has created a musical voice for the 1928 Keaton film Steamboat Bill Jr., heightening the tale of love between a steamboat captain and the daughter of his father’s business rival.

Colwell Playhouse; $5–$12

Don Ross/Kaki King

Saturday, September 7, 2013, at 4 p.m.

Guitarist, composer, and two-time US National Fingerstyle Guitar champion Don Ross grew up on a diverse musical diet, eventually finding his own voice on six strings. Guitar festival alum Kaki King was named one of Rolling Stone’s “New Guitar Gods” and has played with Foo Fighters and Timbaland.

Foellinger Great Hall; $10–38

The Hendrix Electric Ladyland Project featuring Sheryl Bailey and Vic Juris

Saturday, September 7, 2013, at 5:30 p.m.

The rock of guitar god Jimi Hendrix makes a rendezvous with jazz in this supercharged showcase. Sheryl Bailey, whose burning jazz work captivated ELLNORA crowds in 2011, joins forces with Vic Juris, Lincoln Goines, and Tommy Campbell for inspired interpretations on the astounding Hendrix continuum.

Stage 5; free (donations welcome)

Evening Raga: Debashish Bhattacharya

Saturday, September 7, 2013, at about 11 p.m. (immediately following Lucinda Williams)

The Hindustani slide guitar master returns for a soulful late-night session in the Sonic Garden.

Sonic Garden; free (donations welcome)

Kevin Breit’s Sister’s Euclid

Saturday, September 7, 2013, at about 11 p.m. (immediately following Lucinda Williams)

Grammy Award-winning Kevin Breit has brought down the house with his guitar pyrotechnics at three Krannert Center guitar festivals. With boundless imagination and matchless energy, Breit and Sisters Euclid will tear up Stage 5 as we close out festival number five!

Stage 5; free (donations welcome)

Tickets for the festival go on sale at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 10. Reminder for students: ticktets to individual performances are only $10, which is incredible.

Contact Krannert Center’s ticket office for information on how to purchase tickets online at their website or at Ellnora’s website

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