Walnut Valley Festival Preregistration for Land Rush

Walnut Valley Festival Preregistration for Land Rush

Winfield, Kansas ˗ Organizers have announced their intention to take online preregistrations for Lineup & Land Rush July 3-9, in advance of the 51st Walnut Valley Festival, September 13-17. While the basic process will remain as it has since organizers debuted online camping preregistration, there will be some changes in platform, payments, and general camping.

Preregistration is intended only for those who will take part in both Lineup (August 26) AND Land Rush (Sept. 7). The Festival will take preregistrations through the ETIX ticketing system, from links provided on the Walnut Valley Festival (WVF) website. While this will make for a more robust online platform, it will require campers to pay ETIX processing fees. Preregistration will be limited to 250 spots in West campground, and 400 Spots in Pecan campground, numbers which are in line with the number of preregistrations the festival has received over the last several years. Those who preregister will receive immediate notification of their row assignment, and the complete schedule for Lineup will be distributed to all participants in early August.

Campers will now be able to pay for City of Winfield AND Walnut Valley Festival camping in one combined payment; previously patrons paid for each time period separately. This will be true both in the preregistration process as well as in payments taken on grounds during Lineup. This change will also allow campers to pay for everything using a credit or debit card. Importantly, for payments on grounds during Lineup and Land Rush, and ticket and camping purchases during Festival, personal checks will no longer be accepted.

Finally, the time period for the initial Lineup on August 26 will be extended to cover the full day. Rows for each campground will alternate throughout the day, which should reduce congestion as campers pay at the end of their row lineup. However, this also means that those who have NOT preregistered for Lineup should wait until at least Sunday, August 27, to enter the lineup. Full information on the process and changes made this year can be found at wvfest.com/land-rush-instructions.

WVF Grounds Coordinator Rick Meyer:  

“We continue to tweak the camping preregistration system every year, to make the entire process easier on patrons who take part in Lineup and Land Rush, and less demanding on our staff. By introducing alternating time periods for campers in the two campgrounds, we will extend the time we take for Lineup, but we will reduce congestion for each row we process. This should mean that it will go faster for individual campers as they complete the Lineup and the payment process afterward. We are also happy to announce that campers will be able to make one combined payment for camping to both City of Winfield and the Festival, something that patrons have requested for years.”

Walnut Valley Festival Announces Performer Lineup for 2023

Winfield, Kansas ˗ Organizers have released the list of artists performing at the 51st Walnut Valley Festival (WVF), Sept. 13-17. While last year’s 50th Anniversary featured many artists who were an important part of WVF’s history, the 2023 lineup is notable for the number of artists who are completely new to Winfield, a solid third of the list.

Becky Buller, the first woman to win the IBMA award for Fiddle Player of the Year, will make her first appearance at WVF. Darin and Brooke Aldridge, along with their band, are here for the first time on their own. Darin is a former IBMA Mentor of the Year and a truly gifted singer and multi-instrumentalist. Brooke is no less talented, and a four-time winner of IBMA’s Female Vocalist of the Year.

Colorado-based Chain Station, known for winning over crowds with creative & fun original songs steeped in Americana roots, will mark its first appearance on the official stages. As will Barefoot Movement, an alt-bluegrass trio from the mountains of North Carolina, known for their memorable melodies & lush harmonies. And Pixie & The Partygrass Boys, a five-member, high-energy jamgrass brand, will bring the party from the deserts (and mountains) of Utah.

Dynamic hammer dulcimer musician Tina Bergmann will appear with bassist Bryan Thomas. Sadie Gustafson-Zook, vocalist and songwriter of folk music with a jazz influence, is also here for the first time. And if you enjoy hot picking, do not miss new artists Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, bursting with talent both as vocalists and skilled musicians.

Other new bands include the Haymakers, a Wichita-based Americana string band with a reputation for lively performances that blend original and traditional songs performed in their own unique style. Last, but not least, Celtic band RUNA combines traditional music of Ireland and Scotland with modern folk and jazz music.

Perennial favorites returning for 2023 include The Steel Wheels, John McCutcheon, Appalachian Road Show, Weda Skirts, and Pretend Friend. While Damn Tall Buildings and Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen have only appeared a few times at Winfield, they have already endeared themselves to the Winfield audience.

Celtic sensation JigJam returns to entertain by performing bluegrass in Celtic style as well as original Celtic music. Who could forget their performance of “Wild Mountain Thyme,” accompanied by a full grandstand, all with twinkling phone lights held aloft? Don’t miss these guys!

Chris Jones & The Night Drivers will return as well, and Jones will once again curate the WVF’s songwriting exhibition, NewSong Showcase. Andy May also returns to host his Acoustic Kids Showcase, giving young musicians an opportunity to appear on stage and gain experience in front of a live, supportive audience.

Exceptional 2009 International Fingerstyle Guitar Champion Mark Sganga returns as well, as will the familiar team of flat pick guitarist Tim May and mandolin master Steve Smith. And do not forget the talented young Irish guitarist Shane Hennessy, back on the Walnut Valley stages this year.

Also returning is highly skilled mountain dulcimer musician Stephen Seifert. Wichita-based Green Flamingos, describing their music as acoustified rock and pseudo-electrified folk, are back. International Bones Champion and Winfield native Barry Patton will be joining friends and surprise guests on stage. As will the award-winning group The Cowboy Way, among the best of Western Artists. Festival veterans Roz Brown and Jim Ratts are always great fun with their music and humor. Master autoharpist Les Gustafson-Zook, father to Sadie Gustafson-Zook, returns after a long absence, and don’t miss any chance to see them perform together. And Linda Tilton will be back on stage with her dance-like signing of song lyrics for audience members with hearing loss.

Media Director Rex Flottman: “The Hiring Committee did a great job lining up a wonderful mix of performers for this year’s festival. We have included some talented new, young, top touring performers as well as returning powerhouse artists that we feel attendees at this year’s Walnut Valley Festival will really enjoy”.

Since 1972, the Walnut Valley Festival traditionally is held the 3rd weekend of September in Winfield, KS, and draws a crowd of 10,000-15,000 people to celebrate a blend of all kinds of acoustic music, including bluegrass, folk, Americana, a little bit of cowboy, some Celtic, blues, jazz, swing, and more.

Walnut Valley Festival, PO Box 245, Winfield, KS 67156

Walnut Valley Festival Announces 50th Festival Performer Lineup & Unveils 2022 Poster

April 13, 2022 – Winfield, Kansas

This fall Winfield, a small south-central Kansas town, will welcome fans to its 50th Walnut Valley Festival. From its humble beginnings in 1972, with eight bands or solo performers, the event has grown into an annual gathering of acoustic music fans and musicians from around the world, with four stages showcasing world-class performers over five days. To celebrate its golden anniversary, a stellar combination of folk and bluegrass music’s top artists is slated to appear at Winfield from September 14-18.

Several of this year’s performers have a connection to the 1972 lineup, but only one, Dan Crary, is listed on the poster for both the 1st and 50th festival. The flatpick guitar legend and Kansas native will perform with Bill Evans and Wally Barnick.

Other artists with ties to early Walnut Valley Festivals include two former members of 2020 IBMA Hall of Fame inductee New Grass Revival–Béla Fleck and Pat Flynn (although both joined the group after its 1972 appearance at Winfield). Fleck, 2022 Grammy winner for Best Bluegrass Album with “Béla Fleck My Bluegrass Heart,” will bring the album to life at Winfield, assisted by a multi-generational band of top bluegrass players that includes Billy Contreras, Sierra Hull, Justin Moses, Shaun Richardson and Mark Schatz. This will be Fleck’s first return to Walnut Valley since New Grass Revival’s last appearance in 1989. Flynn also returns, with Herb Pedersen and John Jorgenson.

Rhonda Vincent & The Rage will be at Winfield for the first time. Vincent was once crowned by the Wall Street Journal as the New Queen of Bluegrass, and her band enjoys the unique status of being the most awarded band in bluegrass history, having won a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album in 2017, as well as 19 IBMA awards and 89 SPBGMA awards.

Other artists featured at this year’s festival include Bryan Bowers, Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, Tim O’Brien Band, The Steel Wheels, Marley’s Ghost, John McCutcheon, Tom Chapin & Friends and Still on the Hill. Andy May returns to host his Acoustic Kids Showcase, giving young musicians an opportunity to appear on stage and gain experience in front of a live, supportive audience.

If you enjoy watching talented guitar players, then this will be a year to remember, as the lineup includes Stephen Bennett with Bill Gurley, Italian virtuoso Beppe Gambetta, and talented young Irish guitarist Shane Hennessy.

Irish bands Socks in the Frying Pan and JigJam, known for their humor, energy level on stage and expert musicianship, are back as well. Past National Hammer Dulcimer Champion Mark Alan Wade will be joined by Kyle Baker. Already a Winfield favorite, Bing Futch is able to bring a whole new sound to the mountain dulcimer (and other instruments). Brooklyn’s Damn Tall Buildings will mark their second year at Winfield, after making a big splash in 2021.

Wichita-area groups Green Flamingos and Pretend Friend, along with 2022 Walnut Valley Battle of the Bands winner Whiskey Mash Band, from Kansas City, reflect the depth of musical talent in our region. Kansas City songwriter Kelly Hunt will make her Winfield debut, and campground favorites the Weda Skirts, from Eastern Kansas, will keep your toes a tappin’. Recent International Bones Champion and Winfield native Barry Patton will be joining friends on stage, creating those special moments treasured by fans.

Dave Stamey and 3 TRAILS WEST are among the best Western-style musicians. Festival veterans Roz Brown and Jim Ratts always fit in with their humor, stories and original music. Linda Tilton will be back on stage with her dance-like signing of song lyrics for audience members with hearing loss. Local band GASS will be playing gospel music on stage as things wrap up on Sunday.

Media Director Rex Flottman: “We had a difficult task this year, as we wanted to invite EVERYONE–all of the entertainers who have helped propel Walnut Valley Festival to this point, our 50th year. Of course, no festival has that big of a budget, or enough time in the schedule! We have a great lineup, including many of the best-loved Winfield performers as well as some new-to-Winfield artists that we know our crowd will enjoy.”

Along with the performer list, Walnut Valley Association is excited to release the 50th edition of this year’s Walnut Valley Festival promotional poster. Poster designer Peter Thomas Lague is a Lawrence, KS, based freelance artist, musician, and independent contractor. He has been painting murals, designing, teaching, and spreading creativity from Kansas to Los Angeles for the past 30 years. To contact Peter about his work, please call 785-424-4422, or email plague1968@gmail.com

49th Annual Walnut Valley Festival Instrument Championships

September 20, 2021

  1. International Autoharp Championship
    Champion: Ken Shoemaker; Overland Park, Kansas
    2nd Place: Steve Luper; Andover, KS
    3rd Place: Michael Poole; Chapel Hill, NC
  2. International Finger Style Guitar Championship
    Champion: Jesse Smith; Wadsworth, Ohio
    2nd Place: Adam Cantor Houston, TX
    3rd Place: Tomofumi Shimoda Tachikawa, Japan
  3. National Mountain Dulcimer Championship
    Champion: Jeff Hames; Madison, MS
    2nd Place: David Wilson; Springfield, MO
    3rd Place: Irma Reeder; Albuquerque, NM
  4. National Mandolin Championship
    Champion: Thomas Cassell; Nashville, TN
    2nd Place: Holton Doucette; Waller, TX
    3rd Place: Elijah Moore; Kernersville, NC
  1. Walnut Valley Old Time Fiddle Championship
    Champion: Tristan Clarridge; Mt. Shasta, CA
    2nd Place: Tashina Clarridge: Mt. Shasta, CA
    3rd Place: Hannah Farnum: Galena, MO
  2. National Flat Pick Guitar Championship
    Champion: Jason Shaw: Lincoln, NE
    2nd Place: Paul Sgroi: Old Hickory, TN
    3rd Place: Holten Doucette: Waller, TX
  3. National Hammer Dulcimer Championship
    Champion: Benjamin Barker: Wilkesboro, NC
    2nd Place: Ben Haguewood: Mineral Point, MO
    3rd Place: Wenying Wu: Elk Grove, CA
  4. National Bluegrass Banjo Championship
    Champion: Gary Davis: Knoxville, TN
    2nd Place: Jason Bales: Gatlinburg, TN
    3rd Place: Gregg Welty: Durham, NC

WVA Announces Winners and Alternates for 2021 NewSong Showcase

August 27, 2021
Organizers of the 49th Walnut Valley Festival have announced the winners and alternates of the 2021 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. The writers of the top songs in each category are given the opportunity to play their song onstage at the Walnut Valley Festival.

Chris Jones, writer, broadcaster, and front man for Chris Jones and the Night Drivers, serves as curator for the Showcase, coordinating with a team of reviewers in making the difficult call as to who gets top honors. Reviewers also provide feedback for the authors of all songs submitted, although that response takes a bit of time to get out to all the songwriters.

Chris Jones: “We had more entries this year than last, and the quality of submissions was exceptional. 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 have compiled some really valuable feedback to get out to all the writers. I’m especially thankful to the songwriters who open themselves up every year and let us hear their work and their art.”

Songs about Winfield:

“Winfield Songs and Dreams” – Greg Johns        Thursday
“This Winfield Thing” – David Parker                                   Saturday

“Dirt Road” – Deann Kinsch                                                   Thursday
“Hey Water” – Terry Rayburn                                                    Saturday

Songs For a Better World:

“New Song” – Elexa Dawson                                                 Thursday
“That Brick House North of Colfax” – Michael Shainline,    Saturday

“Feedback Loop” – Anne Wright                                           Thursday
“The BBQ vs the Kale Salad” – Noah Musser                       Saturday

Sweet Memories:

“Polaroid Memories” – Jim McCarter                                     Thursday
“They Don’t Make ’em Like That Anymore” – Joe Worrel    Saturday

“Mama’s Tough Love” – Eric Smith                                       Thursday
“Somebody Played Wildwood Flower” – Don Richmond     Saturday


“Open My Eyes” – Jody Nelson                                             Thursday
“The Old Fiddler’s Christmas” – Fred Baue                           Saturday

 “Healing Horizon” – Annie Wilson                                       Thursday
 “Live Your Life” – Robert Tims                                            Saturday

 Suitable For Children:

“Runaway Nell” – Annie Wilson                                            Thursday
“Poppin’ Corn” – Mark Heinrich                                            Saturday

“Purple Bird” – Ron Fent                                                         Thursday
“Juniper Tuesday” – Brian Henke                                          Saturday

Humorous Songs:

“Knock Knock” –  Lori Beth Wisian-Brooke                        Thursday
“Overalls” – Karyn Schafer and Sally Vee                             Saturday

“Crocodile Dreams” – Mark L. Heinrich                                Thursday
“Bluegrass, Maximilian and Me” – David Parker                  Saturday


“The Squirrel and the Bluejay” – Rob Loren                        Thursday
“Sugar Bottom Rag” – Gary Mortensen                                 Saturday

“Matching Socks” – Lauralyn Bodle                                      Thursday
“Last of the Cyclopes” – Noah Musser                                  Saturday

Love Songs:

“The Orchard” – John Depew                                                Thursday
“Glad We Came” – Elexa Dawson                                         Saturday

“Our Forever’s a Little Bit Late” – Annie Wilson             Thursday
“Ode to Odette” – R Gene Collier                                          Saturday

Feelin’ Blue:

“I’ve Lost You” – Joe Worrell                                                Thursday        
“Under Your Moon” – Tim Fast                                             Saturday

“Missed Too Many Moons” – Annie Wilson                         Thursday
“Gone” – Jim Campbell                                                          Saturday

None of the Above:

Final Winners:
“Mister Would You Help Me” – Don Richmond                   Thursday
“Redemption” – Derrick Mears                                              Saturday

“Midnight Train” – Kevin Corbett                                          Thursday
“Water into Wine” – Joe Worrell                                            Saturday

Walnut Valley Festival Releases Safety Protocols

August 26, 2021

Organizers of the 49th Walnut Valley Festival have released an update on safety protocols related to COVID that will be enforced on grounds during the event. Festival officials had earlier announced a number of measures designed to provide for a safe hybrid event, including a pre-festival vaccination campaign, special wristbands for those on grounds who have elected to get vaccinated, and a streaming video option for those who would rather not be on grounds at all.

Executive Director Bart Redford: “We hope that prospective attendees will take advantage of the wide range of incentives on offer, and vax up in anticipation of coming to Winfield. We hope to have many participants in our Pre-Lineup on August 28 take advantage of the opportunity to receive a vaccination then. I want to thank, in particular, John McCutcheon and the other artists who produced a special video encouraging our fans to get vaccinated. And finally, I would like to point out that we reserve the right to alter these protocols based on local public health guidance. In particular, if incentives to vaccinate do not have the desired effect, we may yet re-examine the question of requiring vaccination or negative tests for entry.”

Wednesday Workshops, September 15 – These workshops are held off grounds and inside, and so all participants will be expected to wear masks. This applies to new workshops for kids as well. 

Masks – Disposable masks will be made available to workers and the general public at various locations on grounds. Masks will be required of all staff and workers interacting with the public. Masks will also be required for everyone upon entry to buildings, including the interior areas where craft and luthier booths are located, as well as the contest stage (Stage IV), located in Barn 4. Masks will be required for anyone riding a shuttle, or making use of festi-cab or other transport. We strongly encourage people to wear masks in areas of high crowd density, and certainly wear a mask if you have not been vaccinated.

Indoor Traffic – Pedestrians in buildings will be directed to utilize one-way traffic flow, and air movement will likewise be generated using fans in order to minimize possibility of transmission.

Personal Hygiene – Additional hand washing and sanitizing stations will be available on grounds. Cowley County Emergency Services will provide small containers of hand sanitizer for festival-goers’ use.

Testing – City / County Public Health will be on hand every morning, 9-10am, to provide testing and other support. They can be found at the Emergency Services Trailer just outside of the South Interior Gate. In addition, they will offer free vaccinations to all workers and festival attendees prior to festival.

T-Shirts – This year’s selection of Walnut Valley Festival shirts are already available online for sale. Shirts will not be sold on grounds this year. Walnut Valley Mercantile will have shirt samples available to aid in selection, but shirts must be ordered online and will be sent by post direct to the purchaser. T-shirt crew will notify you if you ordered a t-shirt earlier and expected to pick up your order at festival. T-shirt online sales will run until midnight, Wednesday, September 22, and then will be closed so that t-shirt crew can concentrate on fulfilling all orders.   

Acoustic Kids Showcases – These events have been cancelled

Feisty Music Camp — Camp activities take place in a large, well-ventilated tent. Most activities take place with families seated on blankets on the ground. Blankets will be spaced for social distancing, and you can bring your own blanket if you prefer.

Masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes will be available on site. All camp staff will be wearing masks, unless performing, and participants are encouraged to wear masks. Instrument-making activities have been modified, through use of to-go baggies, to reduce likelihood of transmission.  

School Visits – This year we will not facilitate visits from local schools, as we have in the past.

One more on-site COVID vaccination clinic will be offered on Saturday, August 28, 10am-2pm, at the Winfield Fairgrounds, Barn 4 (during festival Pre-Lineup). Organizers will draw winners from those receiving the vaccine, and provide festival-related prizes including festival chairs, commemorative mugs, WVF yard signs, and other merchandise. The vaccine is free, attendees need not be a resident of Cowley County to take part, but are asked to bring a valid ID, and an insurance card.

In addition, a Vaccine Raffle will be held, open to anyone who has taken one of the COVID vaccines, whatever their location, by the end of August. Paper forms are available at the vaccine clinic and at the festival office at 918 Main St. in Winfield. An online form can be completed on the festival website, at  https://www.wvfest.com/ipicklivemusic/. Deadline for entry is August 31, and drawing will be held September 1. Winners will be notified immediately after the drawing, and prizes can be picked up at the Information Booth during the week of festival. Winners must present ID and valid vaccine certificate to claim prize. For those opting not to attend the festival in person, alternate arrangements will be made.

Walnut Valley Festival Prepares for Hybrid Event, Launches Vaccination Campaign

Aug 3, 2021 – Winfield, KS

Organizers of the 49th Walnut Valley Festival have announced a number of measures designed to provide for a safe hybrid festival this September. After a vaccination campaign in August, the festival will provide for those who wish to attend in person, but also provide live streaming for those who would rather not venture onto grounds. Vaccinated festival-goers will also be able to get a special “I Pick Live Music” wristband and memorial pick at the Information Booth once on grounds.

Executive Director Bart Redford: “We intend to award festival-related merchandise to winning participants in two COVID vaccine clinics to be held in the month of August, and will also offer larger prizes as a gesture of gratitude to lucky winners among those who have already been vaccinated or who receive vaccinations in August.”

“We are grateful to the organizations who have been conducting vaccine campaigns in the area, including the campaign tied to the Cowley County Fair. Like our campaign, these have been supported by the Kansas Leadership Center’s Kansas Beats the Virus program. Ours will be a targeted campaign to raise the percentage of folks vaccinated in the area as well as among those coming to Winfield from other communities. We also want to thank Tom Langer and his staff at the City/County Health Department for their tireless efforts to increase the number of vaccinated in the area.”

On-site COVID vaccination clinics will be offered on the following dates:

  • Saturday, August 21, 9am-Noon, at Bob’s Place, 920 Main St, Winfield, KS
  • Saturday, August 28, 10am-2pm, at the Winfield Fairgrounds, Barn 4 (during festival Pre-Lineup)

On both occasions, organizers will draw winners from those receiving the vaccine, and provide festival-related merch including festival chairs, commemorative mugs, WVF yard signs, and other goodies. The vaccine is free, you need not be a resident of Cowley County to take part, but you must bring a valid ID, and your insurance card (if you have one).

In addition, a Vaccine Raffle will be held, open to anyone who has taken one of the COVID vaccines, whatever their location, by the end of August. Paper forms will be available at the vaccine clinics and at the festival office at 918 Main St. in Winfield. An online form can be completed on the festival website, at https://www.wvfest.com/ipicklivemusic/.

Deadline for entry is August 31, and drawing will be held September 1. Winners will be notified immediately after the drawing, and prizes can be picked up at the Information Booth during the week of festival. Winners must present ID and valid vaccine certificate to claim prize. For those opting not to attend the festival in person, alternate arrangements will be made.

The following prizes will be awarded as part of this Vaccine Raffle

  • Five pairs of Full Festival Passes to the 50th Walnut Valley Festival, September 14-18, 2022 (each pair awarded as separate prize)
  • #1 Spot in Land Rush for the 50th Walnut Valley Festival, September 14-18, 2022, Pecan Grove
  • #1 Spot in Land Rush for the 50th Walnut Valley Festival, September 14-18, 2022, West Campground
  • #2 Spot in Land Rush for the 50th Walnut Valley Festival, September 14-18, 2022, Pecan Grove
  • #2 Spot in Land Rush for the 50th Walnut Valley Festival, September 14-18, 2022, West Campground
  • Four $500 cash prizes, provided by the Kansas Leadership Center campaign, Kansas Beats the Virus
  • Eighteen-hole round at Quail Ridge Golf Course with cart for two people, provided by City of Winfield.
  • 2022 Annual Lake Permit, provided by City of Winfield
  • One Year Membership to the Winfield Fitness Center, provided by the Winfield Recreation Commission
  • $25 gift certificate to Bleus Family Dining, 923 Main St. Winfield, KS
  • $25 gift certificate to Biederman’s Bistro, 801 Main St., Winfield KS
  • $25 gift certificate to El Maguey, 3727 Quail Ridge Dr., Winfield KS
  • $25 gift certificate to College Hill Coffee House, 403 Soward St., Winfield KS
  • $25 gift certificate to Shindigs, 500 Main St. Winfield, KS
  • Two tickets to see a show at Cowley Cinema 8, 23046 Avery Ave, Winfield, KS

Executive Director Bart Redford: “We will release details of the streaming platform we’ll be using closer to festival. But I can tell you now that streaming will be offered as an option to anyone who has purchased a ticket to our 49th Walnut Valley Festival, whether that was in December 2019, or last week. We will also offer the streaming package as a stand-alone package. While the streamed show will only include our main stage, viewers will have several chances to see almost all of the performers in our lineup this way.”

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.”

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00

Office Hours


9am-Noon; 1pm to 5pm