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.

49th Walnut Valley Festival will Happen…in 2021

Winfield, Kansas—Officials at Walnut Valley Association (WVA) have announced that the 49th Walnut Valley Festival will be postponed until September 2021. WVA has been closely monitoring CDC and WHO recommendations related to mass gatherings, and took this decision after communicating with local public health and city officials. For those who have purchased tickets for the 49th Walnut Valley Festival, these tickets will be valid for entry in 2021 and patrons can expect a direct mailing with details. Contractors, vendors and workers will be contacted as soon as possible.

Plans call for a series of virtual concerts and events to take place in September 2020, with donations going to support performers and others suffering from the effects of the pandemic. WVA will continue to take NewSong Showcase entries, and plans to incorporate this into an online showcase in September 2020. Further details will be announced when available.

WVA Executive Director Bart Redford: “On behalf of WVA, I want to thank those of you who have sent letters and e-mails, called our office, or posted online in support of the festival and shared how much we mean to you. I can assure you, the feeling is mutual. It is in fact that concern for our patrons that is driving this decision. Some may deem the risk of having this event acceptable; however, long ago my high school debate coach taught me that, when the outcome of doing something is particularly dire, even if it is only a potential risk, it outweighs more certain but less lethal outcomes incurred in not taking that action. In considering the wisdom of bringing so many people together from all over the world to a small Kansas community, mixing them well, and then returning them home, we find it difficult to imagine how we might do that in a responsible way that sees everyone safely returning to their homes with the prospect of attending the NEXT Walnut Valley Festival.”

“I know that most of our patrons have a passion for attending WVF, and people have been clamoring for clarification on whether Winfield will happen this year. I want to thank you all for letting us know your thoughts over the last few months. If you have taken part in online debates on social media, we have taken note of your comments. If you wrote an e-mail to us on this topic, we have read it. We have also reached out to some patrons by phone, and we thank those of you who took a few minutes to talk with us about your feelings on this matter.”

“We have also had conversations with local public health officials, city administrators, local and regional leaders, and peers in the festival and outdoor event industry. We have reached out to artists, because they have been most affected by this pandemic, and have arguably the least amount of access to government aid. But I am hopeful that the plans we are making for providing a virtual festival, which we have tentatively dubbed WVF 48.5, will provide some much-needed relief to our performers and others.”

WVA Owner Kendra Redford: “On behalf of WVA and the Redford family, I want to express how sorry we all are to have to postpone our annual gathering on the banks of the Walnut River–the first time this has happened in the Festival’s 48-year history. We do so with heavy hearts, but we are convinced that it is the responsible thing to do. For many people, our event is something like a family reunion, and you don’t risk spreading contagion at a gathering of your clan.”

Walnut Valley Festival’s NewSong Showcase Under New Management

Winfield, Kansas–Organizers of the Walnut Valley Festival have announced that Chris Jones, front man for Chris Jones and the Night Drivers, is the new curator of the festival’s NewSong Showcase.

Chris Jones, who has several times appeared at Winfield with the Night Drivers, is known as one of the hardest-working musicians in the business, maintaining a busy touring schedule as well as a writing and broadcasting schedule. He is a broadcaster for Sirius XM’s Bluegrass Junction and writes a weekly column for the website Bluegrass Today. Chris Jones and the Night Drivers have had eleven #1 songs on Bluegrass Today’s weekly chart in recent years, including #1 song for the year in 2013. They have won nine International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards, including an award for Song of the Year that Jones received for “Fork in the Road” in 2007.

Last year fans at Winfield learned that Kelly and Donna Mulhollan, known musically as the duo Still on the Hill, would no longer be overseeing the songwriting showcase. For the duo hosted the showcase for 25 years, after inheriting the job from the event’s founder, Crow Johnson. Over that time, the Showcase has built up a solid following of supporters, and at the 2019 festival the Mulhollans were honored by festival organizers and fans alike.

The NewSong Showcase is a chance for aspiring songwriters to submit their work for review by a professional songwriter/artist, with a chance to appear on stage at one of two sets during the festival. It 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/

WVA Executive Director Bart Redford: “On behalf of Walnut Valley Association, I want to express our gratitude to Kelly and Donna Mulhollan, who did such a fantastic job for so many years with the NewSong Showcase. We are also incredibly pleased that Chris has now agreed to take on this project. They say that, “if you want to see that something gets done, find someone who is busy doing a lot of things.” I think that definitely applies to Chris, who excels in so many different areas, as a talented songwriter and musician, as well as a broadcaster and writer. We are thrilled to have him on board.”   

2019 Instrument Championship Winners From the 48th Annual Walnut Valley Festival, Winfield, Kansas

2019 International Autoharp Contest
1st Place Winner: Doug Pratt
Cary, NC
2nd Place Winner: Steve Luper
Andover, KS 
3rd Place Winner: Ivan Stiles
Phoenixville, PA

Runners Up 
Loriann Clayton-Bethard, 
Ken Shoemaker

2019 International Finger Style Guitar Championships
1st Place Winner: Adam Gardino
Colorado Springs, CO
2nd Place Winner: Jesse Smith
Wadsworth, OH
3rd Place Winner: Gints Smukais
Riga, Latvia

RD King of Brighton, MA
Hiroya Tsukamoto of Woodside, NY

2019 National Mountain Dulcimer Championships
1st Place Winner: Grant Olson
Andover, MN
2nd Place Winner: Jeff Hames
Madison, MS
3rd Place Winner: Michele Star
Durham, NC

Runners Up:
Katie Moritz of Yorkville, IL
Jim Curley of Ironton, OH

2019 National Mandolin Championships
1st Place Winner: R. Wesley Carr
Rochelle, IL
2nd Place Winner: Luke Lovejoy
Cloverdale, IN
3rd Place Winner: Holten Doucette
Waller, TX

Ethan Batan of Spencer, IN
Marina Pendleton of Houston, TX

2019 Walnut Valley Old Time Fiddle Championships
1st Place Winner: Celeste Johnson
Arvada, CO
2nd Place Winner: Monte Gaylord
Vinita, OK
3rd Place Winner: Marina Pendleton
Houston, TX

Hannah Farnum of Galena, MO
Emma Jane Pendleton of Tulsa, OK

2019 National Guitar Flat Pick Championships
1st Place Winner: Allen Shadd
Lake Wylie, SC
2nd Place Winner: Sullivan Tuttle
Palo Alto, CA
3rd Place Winner: Jason Shaw
Lincoln, NE

Runners Up: 
Matthew Lindsey from Culloden, WV
Chapman Welch from Pearland, TX

2019 National Hammer Dulcimer Championships
1st Place Winner: Nate Pultorak
Saranac, NY
2nd Place Winner: Ben Haguewood
Mineral Point, MO
3rd Place Winner: Fran Mayfield
Spring, TX

Runners Up:
Cal Sweeten from Overland Park, KS
John Lion from Landsdowne, PA

2019 National Bluegrass Banjo Championships
9 contestants from 7 states
1st Place Winner: Eric Welty 
Argyle, TX
2nd Place Winner: Weston Stewart
Anderson, AL
3rd Place Winner: Trevor Smith
Austin, TX

Runners Up: 
Charles Butler of Nashville, TN
G. Rockwell of Bridgeport, CT

Walnut Valley Festival Releases List of 2019 Music Workshops

Winfield, Kansas…Preparations for the 48th Walnut Valley Festival are underway and that includes the Wednesday Workshops for musicians. Each year the festival offers attendees the opportunity to study with top musicians in bluegrass and acoustic music. The 2019 menu will include classes for finger style and flat pick guitar, old time fiddle, mandolin, clawhammer style banjo, hammer and mountain dulcimer and even bluegrass vocals.

This year’s instructors include the first lady to win the National Finger Style Championship at the Walnut Valley Festival, guitarist Muriel Anderson, and the 2017 International Finger Style Champion Christie Lenée. Tim May returns to handle flat pick guitar style. Ruth Smith will instruct the hammer dulcimer players while Bing Futch is scheduled to share his knowledge of mountain dulcimer technics. Betse Ellis welcomes fiddlers to her class, “Fiddle Phraseology”. Chris Jones will assist singers in a multitude of topics in the “Bluegrass Vocals” class. Mandolin musician Steve Smith will be exploring vocal and jam tunes in numerus music styles from bluegrass to roots / Americana. Clawhammer banjo players can expand their skill by spending the day with Steve Smith.

Karen Deal, WVA Workshop Coordinator “I am really excited about this year’s workshops. We’ll have some of the best instructors in their field right here in Winfield. This year’s instructors plan to cover everything from technique to practice habits as well as new songs to teach participants.”

The Wednesday Workshops are held on September 18, 2019. For complete descriptions of the workshops and cost or to register, please go to the Walnut Valley Festival website at https://www.wvfest.com/workshops/ , call the Festival office at (620)221-3250 or stop by 918 Main Street in Winfield, Kansas.
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2019 Wyoming State Guitar Champions Announced

Nick Johnson, Orem, Utah took top honors at the Wyoming State Finger Style Guitar Championship while Bill Vernieu from Flagstaff, Arizona won the Wyoming State Flat Pick Guitar Championship. Both competitions are sponsored by the Oyster Ridge Music Festival held in Kemmerer, Wyoming held July 27th through 29th.

Max Mondzac from Boulder, Colorado won second place in the Wyoming State Finger Style Guitar Championship, and Keith Taylor from Magna, Utah won third place.

Matthew “Rooster” Robinette from Pinedale, Wyoming won second place in the Wyoming State Flat Pick Guitar Championship, and Kelly Dobitz from Salt Lake City, Utah won third place.

Nick Johnson has been invited to represent Wyoming in the International Finger Style Guitar Championship and Bill Vernieu has been invited to represent Wyoming in the National Flat Pick Guitar Championship. The prestigious national and international competitions are hosted by the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas September 18th through 22nd, 2019.

The Oyster Ridge Music Festival held its 25th festival and hosted the largest crowd they have had to do date. To learn more about the Oyster Ridge Music Festival go to www.oysterridgemusicfestival.com

Walnut Valley Festival Announces Ban on Gas-Powered ATVs

Winfield, Kansas ˗ Officials at Walnut Valley Association (WVA) have announced a few changes to rules governing operation of golf carts and other small personal vehicles on grounds during the 48th Walnut Valley Festival in September.

The most significant change is an outright ban on use of unauthorized, gas-powered ATVs/UTVs on grounds during festival. Authorized ATVs/UTVs include those operated by WVA, security, vendors and local emergency personnel.

WVA Executive Director Bart Redford: “WVA decided to ban unauthorized, gas-powered ATVs, ORVs, UTVs and any other gas-powered non-golf cart vehicle from grounds because they are categorically different than the electric golf carts that have long been a part of the festival. Some of these vehicles go much faster than golf carts, and can be hazardous to pedestrians. Many of these vehicles are just as loud as motorcycles, which are not allowed to be driven through the campgrounds, and we had numerous complaints about these vehicles specifically. Some of these are large as a small car, and have been taking up much-needed camping space. After talking the issue over with law enforcement, we decided to take this step.”

Officials also noted that golf carts and other electric vehicles must adhere to Winfield city ordinances regarding their proper use and operation. In particular, Winfield does not allow operation of golf carts on city streets or highways past the boundaries of the fairgrounds. Some festival goers in past years have been known to ride their carts downtown or elsewhere, and so new signs will be posted at entrances to 9th and 14th Streets from grounds, alerting festival goers that no golf carts should be driven past these points.

2019 Texas State Bluegrass Champions Announced

The Texas Bay Area Bluegrass Association have announced the winners of the 2019 Texas Bluegrass Championships.

The Championships were held in Pearl, Texas in conjunction with their monthly meeting. Each competition has a limit of fifteen competitors. Walnut Valley Festival rules are used for the competition.

First Place Winner of the Texas State Flat Pick Guitar Championship is Chapman Welch, Pearland, Texas. Chapman won cash and entry to the National Flat Pick Guitar Championship. Second Place Winner is Scott Owen, Rowlett, Texas. Scott receives cash for his second place wins. Third Place winner is Samuel Smith from Mesquite, Texas. Samuel receives cash for his third place win.

First Place Winner of the Texas State Banjo Championship is sixteen-year-old Riley Gilbreath, from Crowley, Texas. Riley wins cash plus entry in the National Bluegrass Banjo Championship. Second Place Winner is Mark Krider, from Athens, Texas. Mark wins cash for his efforts. Third Place Winner is Ethan May from San Saba, Texas. Ethan wins cash for competing.

First Place Winner of the Texas State Mandolin Championship is Chip Bach, from Cedar Park, Texas. Chip receives cash plus entry in the National Mandolin Championship. Second Place Winner is Scott Owen, Rowlett, Texas. Scott receives cash for his second place wins. Third Place winner is Samuel Smith from Mesquite, Texas. Samuel receives cash for his third place win.

The first place winners of each Texas State Championship are invited to compete in the National Flat Pick Championships in Winfield, Kansas hosted by the Walnut Valley Festival, September 18th through 22nd, 2019.

Press Release: Walnut Valley Festival adopts new features for annual Land Rush

Winfield, Kansas

March 12, 2019

If you are one of those attendees at the Walnut Valley Festival who every September strives to be first in line to claim your camping spot, you might want to pay close attention. Walnut Valley Association (WVA), organizer of the festival, has announced that this year’s Land Rush will incorporate a preregistration element before the initial line-up.

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