49th Walnut Valley Festival

September 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 2021

National Flat-Picking Championships
Winfield, KS

September 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 2021

National Flat-Picking Championships
Winfield, KS

49th Walnut Valley Festival has been postponed to September 2021 due to COVID-19 Concerns

All tickets previously sold for WVF 49 will be valid for entry in September 2021. Tickets are also currently available for purchase.

Walnut Valley Festival Will Again Offer Online Registration for Land Rush

June 8, 2021
Winfield, Kansas—Organizers of Walnut Valley Festival will once again offer participants in its Land Rush the opportunity to preregister online in advance of the annual competition to claim campsites just before the start of this year’s festival, which will be held September 15-19.

Devoted fans of the festival have traditionally vied for the opportunity to claim their favorite camping spots early, before most festival-goers arrive on grounds. As these die-hard fans have arrived earlier and earlier each year to claim their spots in the campgrounds, organizers have had to create an equitable process for lining up campers without clogging city streets and major highways in Winfield.

Walnut Valley Association (WVA), which organizes the festival, rolled out a new online component to the process in 2019. Prospective Land Rush participants were offered the chance to pre-purchase camping and essentially added their names to an online queue. WVA will repeat the process this year, although the time period for preregistration has been shortened, from all of July to July 1-9. The online preregistration is ONLY intended to be used by those who intend to take part in both Pre-Lineup and Land Rush. After preregistration, prospective participants in Land Rush are sent information on when and where they should plan to arrive for the initial Pre-Lineup on August 28. Those who have preregistered online will be processed into staging areas on that day and through August 30. Campers arriving after August 30 will be put at the ends of the lines for Pecan Grove or West Campground. Grounds Director Rick Meyer: “While I think many were worried about the online process that we started in 2019, after Land Rush many participants told us that they liked it and hoped that we would keep it. Of course, every new process has some initial bugs, but we are working to make sure the experience goes as smoothly as possible this year, with the benefit of seeing how things worked on the first go-around.

Prospective festival attendees may find more detailed information on the entire Land Rush process by visiting wvfest.com, and then clicking on the header for Camping. The section includes a description of the process, an as-yet-inactive online preregistration form, and a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section.

Walnut Valley Festival Releases 2021 Lineup and Poster

February 15, 2021
Winfield, Kansas—Perennial favorites and exciting newcomers are scheduled to perform at the 49th Walnut Valley Festival from September 15-19 at the fairgrounds in Winfield, a south-central Kansas town that serves as a mecca for acoustic music lovers. 

While many of the performers featured in a recent virtual festival will return to perform live at WVF 49, festival officials note that there are a few significant changes to the lineup. The Dillards, a legendary band to bluegrass aficionados, have added the Walnut Valley Festival to their fall tour schedule. Dillards band leader Rodney Dillard was a member of The Darlings, a band that was often featured on The Andy Griffith Show. A second band, Pretend Friend, was added to the lineup after winning the festival’s Battle of the Bands, a new online competition unveiled last year. Damn Tall Buildings, Mile Twelve, Steelwind and award-winning mandolinist Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen are Winfield newcomers who were already part of the lineup.

The 2021 lineup will showcase a host of favorites, including Bing Futch, John McCutcheon, Tom Chapin & Michael Mark, and The Steel Wheels. The Byron Berline Band and Winfield’s own bones player Barry Patton will return, as will Missy Raines, Marley’s Ghost, and Ireland’s Socks in the Frying Pan. World class guitarists Beppe Gambetta, Dan Crary of Crary, Evans & Barnick, Helen Avakian & Dave Irwin, and Mark Sganga will be back. Bands like Appalachian Road Show, JigJam, and Chris Jones & the Night Drivers will bring diverse bluegrass and folk acoustic styles to the event. Western music lovers will enjoy traditional to Western Swing from The Cowboy Way and the familiar faces of 3 Trails West, to popular singer/songwriter Juni Fisher, while the praise group GASS will lead a gospel set on Sunday. 1998 National Hammer Dulcimer Champion Mark Alan Wade will return, accompanied by Kyle Baker. Folk singers Roz Brown & Jim Ratts, as well as Adam Miller, are included as well. Linda Tilton will return for her 31st year, to sign for the hearing impaired.

The lineup includes numerous offerings for the young and young at heart. Andy May, a talented singer/songwriter in his own right, will return with his Acoustic Kids, a showcase he developed for talented young players. Feisty’s Music Camp for Kids is back and will feature a host of music-related activities and the possibility of impromptu concerts by headliners.

This year’s poster, designed by Sean de Burca, is the third in a series of posters focusing on campground picking, for which Winfield is famous. London-based de Burca is a graphic designer, illustrator, typographer and fingerstyle guitarist, who creates album artwork, hand-rendered logos and other materials for more than 100 musicians and record labels worldwide.  You may find him at https://www.facebook.com/seandbdesign and contact him at seandbdesign@gmail.com

Walnut Valley Festival Opens Instrument Contest Registration for September 2021

January 14, 2021
Winfield, Kansas—Officials at Walnut Valley Association (WVA) have announced that registration for the 49th Walnut Valley Festival acoustic instrument championships officially open on January 14, 2021. Contest registration is the first significant event to take place since the festival was postponed, and signals the organization’s intent to hold the event live in Winfield September 15-19, 2021.

Along with the National Flat Pick Guitar Championship and the International Finger Style Guitar Championship, the Walnut Valley Festival hosts the International Autoharp, National Mandolin, National Mountain Dulcimer, National Hammered Dulcimer, National Bluegrass Banjo, and Walnut Valley Old Time Fiddle Championships. These competitions take place live in front of an audience, and annually attract more than 175 contestants from the US and foreign countries. Some of the contestants are drawn from the winners of earlier competitions at other festivals and events across the country.

Participants will need to closely review the contest rules posted on the official website, since WVA has made a few changes. For this year only, due to the postponement of the championships in 2020, the maximum number of contestants in all contests has been increased from 40 to 55 musicians. Contestants that had registered last year were contacted and offered a spot in the upcoming 2021 contests, and the increased number of contestants will still allow for some new registrants this year.  

Contest judges, competitors, and spectators also submitted suggestions for improving the contests’ rules and judging criteria, and a contest committee incorporated a number of these recommendations in the International Finger Style Guitar Championship, the Flat Pick Guitar Championship, the Walnut Valley Old Time Fiddle Championship and the Bluegrass Banjo Championship.

New registrations will be taken online for the 2021 competitions beginning at 9am Central Time on Thursday, January 14 at https://www.wvfest.com/register/, and will also be accepted by phone or mail.

WVA continues to closely monitor recommendations of national, state and local health agencies related to mass gatherings, and officials are hopeful that conditions will allow for a live outdoor festival this fall. For those who purchased tickets for the 49th Walnut Valley Festival, tickets will be valid for entry in 2021.

WVA Contest Director Karen Deal: “Contestants from around the world have been contacting me since October.  They are thrilled the competitions are being planned and are especially excited to get back to Winfield.”

Walnut Valley Festival to Offer Spring Workshops in March 2021

December 10, 2020
Winfield, Kansas—Officials at Walnut Valley Association (WVA) have announced that they will offer a weekend’s worth of online workshops in the spring of 2021. The workshop sessions will be held March 20-21, 2021 via Zoom. These workshops, taught by master musicians, will be hands-on sessions intended to help participants improve their skills on instruments of their choice. Almost 100 workshops will be offered by more than 20 workshop instructors, covering a wide variety of instruments, techniques and styles. A full listing with details of the workshops is available at wvfest.com/2021-spring-workshops. Registration is now open.

While most of the workshops are 90-minute sessions geared toward adults, there will also be offerings targeted at a younger audience. These sessions are shorter, and are intended for the specific needs of kids and young adults. They are also less expensive, offered at $30 rather than the $50 charge for the adult workshops. Several workshops will be family friendly, including various sing-a-longs and lessons for beginners, special interest workshops will focus on various themes and techniques.

The workshops will offer broad range of instruments, with some instructors offering the chance to gain proficiency on instruments rarely featured in WVA’s workshops, live or otherwise. The list of instructors taking part and their instruments or specialty includes:  

Aubrey Atwater – Tin Whistle and Special Interests
Helen Avakian – Finger Style Guitar
Stephen Bennett – Finger Style Guitar
Ron Block – Finger Style Guitar
Greg Cahill – Bluegrass Banjo
Elaine & Larry Conger – Mountain Dulcimer and Bass Mountain Dulcimer
Elwood Donnelly – Harmonica and Special Interests
Betse Ellis – Fiddle
Steve Eulberg – Hammer Dulcimer
Cathy Fink – Clawhammer Banjo and Children’s workshops
Juni Fisher – Songwriting
Bing Futch – Mountain Dulcimer

Andrew Hatfield – Mandolin
Chris Jones – Songwriting
John McCutcheon – Songwriting
Marcy Marxer – Ukulele and Children’s workshops
Andy May – Beginner Guitar and Beginner Mandolin
Adam Miller – Chromatic Autoharp
Erin Mae Lewis – Chromatic Mountain Dulcimer & Children’s workshops
Jo Ann Smith – Diatonic Autoharp
Kenny Smith – Flat Pick Guitar
Linda Tilton – Ukulele
Pete Wernick – Jammin’
Jake Workman – Flat Pick Guitar

WVA offered a number of online instrument workshops as part of its virtual festival, WVF 48.5, in September. WVA Workshop Coordinator Karen Deal said, “We had such a positive response from both the instructors and the participants that we felt like this was something we could offer to support both groups. The instructors receive the lion’s share of the registration fees, which supports them at a time when they still have very few live gigs going. And the participants have a chance to, at least mentally, get out and take part in a group activity, even if it is still from their own living rooms! While we see some very positive signs that we will be able to offer these workshops live in September, it seems likely that folks still might not be able to take part in live workshops in late March.” WVA Executive Director Bart Redford: “We thought it would be nice to offer these just on the heels of the time when Greg Tucker and Gail Haywood-Tucker traditionally gather their friends and celebrate Greg’s birthday as well the fact that they have made it ‘Halfway to Winfield.’ John McCutcheon, who did such a great job with his celebration of Winfield during our virtual WVF 48.5, is also preparing an online concert to be held on the Friday of the that weekend as well.”

Walnut Valley Virtual Festival 48.5 Nears Conclusion

Winfield, Kansas—The performance portion of the Walnut Valley virtual Festival, officially dubbed WVF 48.5, reached its conclusion last Sunday, Sept. 20. However, the virtual festival web page, https://www.wvfest.com/wvf-48-5/, continues to be active, and the videos will remain up for viewing till the end of September, as planned. Funds raised during the campaign will help performers and the festival, and donations are still being accepted. 

Festival officials say that the individual videos of the performances, totaling more than 40 hours of content, were loaded over 24,000 times, and played by at least 11,865 unique visitors to the site. Those who donated received a range of goodies, from guitar picks to facemasks, t-shirts and mugs, to a specially designed game tailored to festival fans. So far, donations have reached $38,551 of a target of $150,000, with 6 days left in the fundraising campaign. 

WVF 48.5 officially began Sept. 12, with a series of instrument workshops conducted by Zoom. More than 130 people took advantage of the chance to learn from the masters, and the workshops featured sessions on a variety of instruments, taught by a who’s who of bluegrass musicians–Stephen Bennett, Dan Crary, Bill Evans, Juni Fisher, Bing Futch, Grace Van’t Hof, Chris Jones, Adam Miller, Mark Sganga, Mark Stoffel, Missy Raines, and Mark Alan Wade. 

From Monday, Sept. 14 through Friday, Sept. 18, a series of concert events were broadcast, including a collection of memorable performances on Stage 5, one of the festival’s best-known camp stages, and a virtual Winfield Music Crawl with sets from several local bands. This was followed by a special showing of a video produced for the festival’s 25th anniversary, giving an inside look at some of the main features of the Walnut Valley Festival, including camping, concerts, contests and crafts.  

Wednesday saw the airing of an evening concert with John McCutcheon, devoted to “Community in COVID-19,” which featured guest appearances from Muriel Anderson, Michael Mark, Tom Chapin and his daughters, Abigail and Lily, The Steel Wheels, Socks in the Frying Pan, and several others. This was followed by a video devoted to Andy May’s Acoustic Kids, a long-running program which focuses on mentoring talented young bluegrass players. Thursday, September 17, a special Champions Showcase concert was shown, with performances by 7 of the winners of last year’s 8 instrument contests—the International Autoharp Championship—Doug Pratt, International Finger Style Guitar Championship—Adam Gardino, the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship—Grant Olson, National Mandolin Championship—R. Wesley Carr,  National Flat Pick Guitar Championship—Allen Shadd, National Hammer Dulcimer Championship—Nate Pultorak and National Bluegrass Banjo—Eric Welty. Information on those winners can be found at www.wvfest.com/contest-winners/ 

On Friday, September 18, a special edition of the festival’s NewSong Showcase was shown. The NewSong Showcase offers a chance for aspiring songwriters to submit their work for review by a professional songwriter/artist, with the opportunity to appear on stage during the festival. This year the top participants recorded videos of their performances, which were streamed on Friday evening. Immediately following this another campground stage, Stage 11, continued on with other talented songwriters offsite on social media. 

Saturday and Sunday, September 19-20, were devoted to streaming concerts by artists who were scheduled to perform in Winfield this year. Most of the performances were recorded specifically for this event, but there were a few videos that featured performances captured elsewhere, at-home performances with missing band members or surrogates, or footage taken at the 2019 Walnut Valley Festival. Performers who contributed videos included 3 TRAILS WEST, Appalachian Road Show, Helen Avakian & David Irwin, Stephen Bennett, Byron Berline Band, Roz Brown & Jim Ratts, Tom Chapin & Michael Mark, The Cowboy Way, Crary, Evans & Barnick, Damn Tall Buildings, Juni Fisher, Bing Futch, Beppe Gambetta, JigJam, Chris Jones & the Night Drivers, John McCutcheon, Marley’s Ghost, Mile Twelve, Andy May, Adam Miller, Barry Patton, Missy Raines, Mark Sganga, Socks in the Frying Pan, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, The Steel Wheels, Steelwind, Linda Tilton, and Mark Alan Wade. The staff of Feisty’s Music Camp for Kids also offered sing-a-longs and guest performances via Zoom, aimed at a younger audience, on Saturday morning.  

Winfield’s Legacy Foundation and Winfield Arts and Humanities Council are facilitating the fundraising aspect of the event. Sixty percent of the funds raised will be split equally between all of the artists in the lineup taking part. The remaining forty percent will be used by WVA to pay for production costs of WVF 48.5 as well as to get ready for its 49th Walnut Valley Festival in 2021. To aid in fundraising, Elk Falls Pottery and Art Farm Screen Printing & Design produced special mugs and t-shirts to reward donors. Theurer Auction/Realty also provided a platform for an online auction of festival memorabilia.

Walnut Valley Virtual Festival 48.5 – September 12-20

Winfield, Kansas—The public portion of the Walnut Valley Virtual Festival, officially dubbed WVF 48.5, begins today. The past weekend was spent in online instrument workshops, taught by artists who will appear in streaming concerts this weekend. Funds raised during this week of events and activities will go to help performers and the festival. 

A complete schedule of the online festival’s events can be found on the firm’s website, at wvfest.com/wvf-48-5/, and the onsite portal to view the streaming concerts is www.wvfest.com/wvf-48-5-livestream/.  From Monday, September 14 through Friday, Sept. 18, a series of concert events will be held in the evenings, all beginning at 5:30pm. On Monday a special edition of Vintage Stage 5 will showcase some memorable concerts over the years at one of the festival’s best-known camp stages. On Tuesday, September 15, the broadcast will feature a Winfield tradition brought to the screen—a virtual music crawl, with sets of several local bands. This will be followed by a showing of a video produced for the festival’s 25th anniversary, giving an inside look at some of the main features of the Walnut Valley Festival, including camping, concerts, contests and crafts.  

On Wednesday, September 16, there will be an evening concert with John McCutcheon, devoted to “Community in COVID-19,” which will feature guest appearances from several fellow musicians. This will be followed by a video featuring Andy May’s Acoustic Kids, a long-running program which focuses on mentoring talented young bluegrass players. Thursday, September 17, a special Champions Showcase concert will be shown, with performances by the winners of last year’s instrument contests—the International Autoharp Championship, International Finger-Style Guitar Championship, the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship, National Mandolin Championship, Walnut Valley Old-Time Fiddle Championship, National Flat Pick Guitar Championship, National Hammer Dulcimer Championship and National Bluegrass Banjo. Information on those winners can be found at www.wvfest.com/contest-winners/ 

On Friday, September 18, a special edition of the festival’s NewSong Showcase will be offered online in the evening. The NewSong Showcase offers a chance for aspiring songwriters to submit their work for review by a professional songwriter/artist, with the opportunity to appear on stage at the festival. This year the top participants have recorded videos of their performances, which will be streamed on Friday evening. Immediately following this another campground stage, Stage 11, will continue on with other talented songwriters offsite on social media. 

Saturday and Sunday, September 19-20, will be devoted to streaming concerts by artists who were scheduled to perform in Winfield this year. Most of the performances have been recorded specifically for this event. Performers who have contributed videos include 3 Trails West, Appalachian Road Show, Helen Avakian & David Irwin, Byron Berline Band, Roz Brown & Jim Ratts, Tom Chapin & Michael Mark, The Cowboy Way, Crary, Evans & Barnick, Damn Tall Buildings, Juni Fisher, Bing Futch, Beppe Gambetta, JigJam, Chris Jones & the Night Drivers, John McCutcheon, Marley’s Ghost, Mile Twelve, Andy May, Adam Miller, Barry Patton, Missy Raines, Mark Sganga, Socks in the Frying Pan, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, The Steel Wheels, Steelwind, Linda Tilton, and Mark Alan Wade & Kyle Baker. The staff of Feisty’s Music Camp for Kids will also be offering sing-a-longs and online mural projects on Saturday morning, and that event requires prior registration, at www.wvfest.com/2020-feisty-music-camp-for-kids-on-zoom/

Winfield’s Legacy Foundation and Winfield Arts and Humanities Council have agreed to facilitate the fundraising aspect of the event. Sixty percent of the funds raised will be split equally between all of the artists in the lineup taking part. The remaining forty percent will be used by WVA to pay for production costs of WVF 48.5 as well as to get ready for its 49th Walnut Valley Festival in 2021. To aid in fundraising, Elk Falls Pottery and Art Farm Screen Printing & Design have agreed to produce special mugs and t-shirts to reward donors. Theurer Auction/Realty is also providing a platform for an online auction of festival memorabilia, as well as the #1 spots at Winfield’s annual Land Rush, where long-time camps claim their camping spots, at https://www.theurer.net/project/details/53857

WVA Announces Winners for 2020 NewSong Showcase

Winfield, Kansas–Organizers of the 2020 virtual Walnut Valley Festival, or WVF 48.5, have announced the winners of the 2020 NewSong Showcase. The NewSong Showcase gives aspiring songwriters a chance to submit their work for review by a professional songwriter/artist, and features ten categories, including songs about Winfield, Children, Religion/Spirit, Feelin’ Blue, Instrumental, Sweet Memories, Love Songs, Better World, Humor and None of the Above. Usually, the top songs in each category are given the opportunity to play their song onstage at the Walnut Valley Festival. Two winners and two alternates are selected for each of the ten categories of songs.

This year the winners are being asked to videotape themselves playing the winning songs, so that they can be streamed during a special online edition of the NewSong Showcase, set to air at 7 pm CDT on Friday, September 18. A special Zoom edition of Stage 11, Songwriters Stage, will then give the alternates a chance to show their stuff.

This is also the first year that the review of the entries was curated by Chris Jones, writer, broadcaster, and front man for Chris Jones and the Night Drivers. Chris Jones: “I was impressed by the quality and range of the songs that were entered. I love the process of discovering new songs, so I really appreciate the Walnut Valley Festival entrusting me with this job. I’m also grateful to the outstanding judges who lent their ears and their hearts to the often difficult task of determining winners, and who gave really valuable feedback to all the writers. I’m especially thankful to the songwriters who opened themselves up and let us hear their work and their art.”

Songs about Winfield:

Winners:
The Old Walnut River – J.D. Benning
Weekend at Winfield – Mike Ichniowski 

Alternates:
Pick Your Paradise – Ron Walker
Pickin’ in the Road – Evan Ogborn

Songs for a Better World:

Winners:
Land of the Great Osage – Annie Wilson
Maria’s Dusty Shoes – Beth Lee

Alternates:
Better Angels – James L. Hermann
Let Us Not Close Our Hearts – Joy Zimmerman 

Sweet Memories:

Winners:
Enjoy the Ride – Mackie Redd/Kenny Cornell 
No Time Son – Jim McCarter  

Alternates:
That Old Front Porch – Kenny Cornell 
Hard Wheat Harvest of ’84 – James L. Hermann  

Religion/Spirit:

Winners:
Restless Wanderer – Ralph Wesley Carr 
Druid Hymn – Emily K. Johnson-Erday 

Alternates:
Loaves and Fishes – Patrice Webb  
Just Passing’ Through – Beth Lee   

None of the Above:

Winners:
Hell Bender – Beth Lee 
Coyote Serenade – Annie Wilson 

Alternates:
On the Connecticut – Stan Sullivan 
Put My Mind at Ease – Ken Weddington, Felix Rodriguez, Jose Antonio Ponce, Dan Johnson 

Suitable for Children:

Winners:
Lost Shoe Blues – Mike Yoder 
Just a Buzzin’ – Mark Noble  

Alternates:
Daisy the Bottle Calf – Annie Wilson  
Dogs and Cats Are People Too – Mark Noble

Humorous Songs:

Winners:
The Old Clunker – Bruce Allinder 
In Love with Your Phone – Kelly Champlin, Adam Gardino 

Alternates:
Stealing Jesus – Jim McCarter 
Car Parts Party – Kenny Cornell, Elliot Rogers 

Instrumental:

Winners:
Ghost Town – Robert Olaf Siegers, Cricket Tombs 
Meadowlark Rag – Greg Bryant 

Alternates:
Re-entry – Alice Boyle
Nocturn for Lily – – Steve Taylor 

Love Songs:

Winners:
I Could Never Write Our Love Song – Jim Carrington  
Good Night for a Change – Jim Joyce, Leah Watts

Alternates:
His Coal Mining Days are Through – Kevin T. Hale  
How ‘Bout You – Mark Noble  

Feelin’ Blue:

Winners:
A Letter and a Hope – Beth Nelson 
What’s a Poor Girl to Do? – Beth Lee

Alternates:
Evangeline – Fred Baue 
Living in Heartbreak and Pain – Kevin T. Hale  

Virtual Walnut Valley Festival to Offer Online Workshops from Top Performers

Winfield, Kansas—Officials at Walnut Valley Association (WVA) announce that registration is now open for online workshops offered as part of a virtual Walnut Valley Festival, dubbed WVF 48.5. The workshops will be taught via Zoom over the weekend of September 12-13, and will offer hands-on instruction to beginning, intermediate and advanced students on a variety of instruments and topics. This virtual instruction replaces the workshops that are usually held on the Wednesday marking the official beginning of the Walnut Valley Festival. They are open to anyone with internet access who wishes to take part, but spots are limited so participants should sign up early. A full listing of the workshops and instructors, along with details on registration, can be found at wvfest.com/2020-hands-on-workshops/. Workshops are $30 per session, with registration available online and by phone, and last day to sign up is September 4.

The list of workshop instructors is a veritable Who’s Who of top performers in folk and bluegrass music today, and includes Stephen Bennett (Advanced & Intermediate Finger Style Guitar), Dan Crary (Intermediate Flat Pick Guitar), Bill Evans (“Putting it all Together,” and “Bluegrass Banjo Jam Survival Skills,” both for all skill levels of banjo players), Juni Fisher (Songwriting), Bing Futch (Beginner & Intermediate Mountain Dulcimer), Chris Jones (Bluegrass Rhythm Guitar), Adam Miller (Melodic Autoharp), Barry Patton (Bones), Missy Raines (Upright Bass), Mark Sganga (Finger Style Guitar, one session for Intermediate / Advanced, and one for all skill levels), Mark Stoffel (Intermediate Mandolin), Grace Van Hof (Beginning & Backup Ukulele), and Mark Alan Wade (Intermediate / Advanced Hammer Dulcimer).  

WVA Workshop Coordinator Karen Deal: “Here’s your chance to study with a National Champion guitarist, an award-winning recording musician, or one of several IBMA award recognized performers. Get one of your jamming buddies and make it a day of online fun, and learn some new licks at one of WVF 48.5’s Hands-On Zoom Workshops!

WVA Workshop Coordinator Karen Deal: “We are so thankful to the performers taking part in our inaugural foray into online instruction. Many of the artists who have volunteered to take part in these workshops are old hands at this by now, having switched to online instruction months ago, while a few have had to get up to speed rather quickly. For our part, we have reached out to other organizations who have led the way in online workshops, such as the QuaranTUNE Dulcimer Festival (www.virtualdulcimerfest.com), and we are so thankful for their advice and assistance. On the technical side, we have a number of staff who will be on hand over the workshop weekend in order to ensure that the technical side of things is taken care of, and to take that burden off of the performers who are teaching the workshops.

The Workshops begin a week-long series of online events and activities included in WVF 48.5, which runs September 12-20. Other events include a virtual Battle of the Bands, a special evening with John McCutcheon, a Concert of Champions, a NewSong Showcase, an online version of Feisty’s Music Camp for Kids, and a solid weekend of streaming concerts produced specifically for this event. Most of the fees charged for the Workshops go directly to the instructors, with the remainder covering administrative costs. Other events offered as part of WVF 48.5 will provide the opportunity to donate to a fund supporting performers and Walnut Valley Festival.

Virtual Walnut Valley Festival Revives Battle of the Bands

Winfield, Kansas—Officials at Walnut Valley Association (WVA) announced that registration is now open to bands wishing to take part in its inaugural virtual Battle of the Bands, part of the virtual Walnut Valley Festival, dubbed WVF 48.5. The contest will be included in the weeklong event, which will include instrument workshops, a special evening with John McCutcheon, a Concert of Champions, a NewSong Showcase, and concerts produced specifically for this event, which runs September 12-20.

Every year, talented local and regional bands attend the festival, putting in a full week of appearances at campground stages and picking sessions on grounds. In recognition of this important tradition, WVA is bringing back a contest that was held in the festival’s early years: a Battle of the Bands. WVA’s website is accepting entries for the online contest, open to any band that has never performed as part of Winfield’s official lineup. Bands should submit videos of their performances, which will be shared on a page of the festival website dedicated to the contest. Fans will then have a chance to vote for favorite bands, at the same time donating to support WVF 48.5. The winning band will be invited to play at the 49th Walnut Valley Festival, in 2021. Full contest details, rules and online registration are available at wvfest.com/band-registration/

Winfield’s Legacy Foundation and Winfield Arts and Humanities Council have will facilitate the fundraising aspect of the event. To aid in fundraising, Elk Falls Pottery and Art Farm Screen Printing & Design are producing special mugs and t-shirts to reward donors.

Virtual Walnut Valley Festival 48.5 – September 12-20

Winfield, Kansas—Officials at Walnut Valley Association (WVA) have announced that a virtual Walnut Valley Festival in September, dubbed WVF 48.5, will include a week’s worth of activities to be held in conjunction with an online fundraising campaign. Funds raised will go to the lineup of entertainers taking part in the online event, and will also help pay for production costs for both the virtual festival and for the 49th Festival in 2021. The online events included in the fundraiser will take place September 12-20.

Over the weekend of September 12-13, a series of workshops will be held via Zoom for those wishing to learn from the masters. These workshops will be hands-on sessions intended to help patrons improve their skills on instruments of their choice. This virtual instruction will replace the workshops that are usually held on the Wednesday before festival officially gets underway on grounds, where artists engage patrons in a day’s worth of efforts to improve their mastery of everything from vocals to instrument playing to songwriting skills.

On Wednesday, September 16, there will be a special evening concert with John McCutcheon, devoted to “Maintaining a Sense of Community in COVID-19.”

On Thursday, September 17, a special Champions Showcase concert will stream in the evening, with performances by the winners of last year’s instrument contests—the International Autoharp Championship, International Finger-Style Guitar Championship, the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship, National Mandolin Championship, Walnut Valley Old-Time Fiddle Championship, National Flat Pick Guitar Championship, National Hammer Dulcimer Championship and National Bluegrass Banjo. Information on those winners can be found at www.wvfest.com/contest-winners/.

On Friday, September 18, a special edition of the NewSong Showcase will be offered online in the evening. The NewSong Showcase offers a chance for aspiring songwriters to submit their work for review by a professional songwriter/artist, with the opportunity to appear on stage at one of two sets during the festival. This year the top participants will be asked to record videos of their performance, which will then be streamed on Friday evening. The Showcase features ten categories, including songs about Winfield, Children, Religion/Spirit, Feelin’ Blue, Instrumental, Sweet Memories, Love Songs, Better World, Humor and None of the Above. This year entries may be made entirely online, allowing participants to upload their song and accompanying lyrics, rather than sending in CDs by mail. For additional info, check https://www.wvfest.com/newsong-showcase/. Deadline for entries is August 1.

In a nod to the talented local and regional bands who annually attend the festival, putting in a full week of appearances at campground stages and picking sessions on grounds, WVF 48.5 will include a virtual Battle of the Bands. Beginning in August, WVA’s website will begin accepting entries in an online contest open to any band that has never performed as part of Winfield’s official lineup. Bands will be able to submit videos of their performances, which will be posted to the festival website. Fans will then have a chance to vote for favorite bands, using vote buttons that also contribute funds to support the cause. One of the prizes for band winners will the opportunity to play at the 49th Walnut Valley Festival, in 2021.

Saturday and Sunday, September 19-20, will be devoted to streaming concerts by artists who were scheduled to perform in Winfield. The performances are being recorded specifically for this event. Throughout the week, the staff of Feisty’s Music Camp for Kids will also be offering sing-a-longs and online mural projects, and Andy May’s legacy of Acoustic Kids will be featured as well.

Winfield’s Legacy Foundation and Winfield Arts and Humanities Council have agreed to facilitate the fundraising aspect of the event. Sixty percent of the funds raised will be split equally between all of the artists in the lineup taking part. The remaining forty percent will be used by WVA to pay for production costs of WVF 48.5 as well as to get ready for its 49th Walnut Valley Festival in 2021. To aid in fundraising, Elk Falls Pottery and Art Farm Screen Printing & Design have agreed to produce special mugs and t-shirts to reward donors.

WVA Executive Director Bart Redford: “One of the things that impressed us so much as we reached out to this year’s performers about our decision to postpone the festival, was how many of them expressed their support and asked how they might help. These were people, artists and agents, who had been getting these cancellation calls for months on end, telling us what a special place Winfield held in their hearts and asking us what they could do. So we decided that by taking WVF 48.5 virtual we could help one another get through this global pandemic together—artists, festival-goers, WVA–until we can all meet in person once again.
Fans should watch the Walnut Valley Festival official website and Facebook page for details and links for WVF 48.5.

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Post-Festival through May

Monday-Friday
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June through August 2nd

Monday-Friday
9am-5pm

August 3rd through September 7th

Monday-Friday
9am-5pm

Saturday
9am-1pm

Walnut Valley Festival

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