Looks who's coming to celebrate!

Rhonda Vincent & the Rage
Socks in the Frying Pan
Bing Futch
Weda Skirts
John McCutcheon & Linda Tilton

Walnut Valley Festival
- Looking Great at 50!

The Big 50 sneaks up on most of us, and Walnut Valley Festival is no different. We are having trouble quite believing that Walnut Valley Festival will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2022. And just like anyone, we are doing some self-assessment, checking our appearance, making sure we are still relevant, with an eye to building on our success for another 50 years.

One very apparent sign of this is our switch to this E-Occasional. We are moving to a more environmentally friendly newsletter format, which allows us to enhance the final product. Instead of just reading about the results of this year’s contests, you can now listen to the champions’ winning competition sets as well as their encores. With the click of a button, you can hear interviews with the champions, originally aired on our campground radio station, 105.7 FM. And you can watch the talented songwriters who took part in our two NewSong Showcases at the 49th Walnut Valley Festival

We are also transitioning to a fully online ticketing process, with our new partner ETIX. You will get your tickets delivered straight to you via e-mail or a device, and it should speed up the admission process at the entry gate by allowing us to make use of scanners to read bar codes and other techniques. That will go online before the end of the 2021.

In January, our second virtual Battle of the Bands will kick off, as we invite performers that have never been part of the official lineup to vie for the chance to play on the big stages at WVF 50. You can vote for your favorite band (s), and know that the money collected through the voting process will go directly toward the fees to hire the bands that YOU have chosen.

We have been putting together an amazing lineup of performers for our 50th., some of whom are featured in this newsletter. The hiring committee has tried to find the right balance between our long-time friends and the talented newcomers that you have come to expect at Winfield.

Like any celebration of such an auspicious anniversary, we will have some creative ways to make this year’s Festival extra special. Be sure to pick up the Walnut Valley Land Rush board game, featuring some of our most well-known camp sites, and with tents and RVs replacing the familiar houses and hotels. Long-time emcee Seth Bate has curated and edited an entertaining and exhaustive book of festival history and lore, which will be available for purchase next year at Festival. It will include pieces written by entertainers, emcees, staff, campers and long-time friends. In homage to the Festival, Ken Gale has written Winfield, the Musical. We are planning to host a production of this magical tale on grounds in the runup to WVF 50.   

Aside from the 4 stages with over 200 hours of music, we’ll have 8 instrument championships, a Songwriters Showcase, Wednesday Workshops, a juried Arts and Crafts Fair, and some great food vendors. I think you will agree that we are all in for a good time.

We look forward to having you help us celebrate the Big 5-0 in 2022!!!

                                                                           Bart Redford
                                                                           Executive Director

2021 Contests Winners

Listen to interviews with WVF 49 Contest Winners.
Hear their competition sets, and their encores during award presentations.

2nd Steve Luper
1st Ken Shoemaker
3rd Michael Poole

2nd Adam Cantor
1st Jesse Smith
3rd Tomofumi Shimoda

2nd David Wilson
1st Jeff Hames
3rd Irma Reeder

2nd Holten Doucette
1st Thomas Cassell
3rd Elijah Moore.

2nd Tashina Clarridge
1st Tristan Clarridge
3rd Hannah Farnum.

2nd Paul Sgroi
1st Jason Shaw
3rd Holten Doucette

2nd Ben Haguewood
1st Benjamin Barker
3rd Wenying Wu

2nd Jason Bales
1st Gary Davis
3rd Greg Welty

Walnut Valley Festival would like to thank the following, who made possible the linked audio and visual materials  included in this Occasional:

     Stage IV Sound Crew:  Greg Smyer, jim Phillips, Andy Colclasure, Matt Anderson and Seth Gruebel
     Campground Radio: Joe Taverner and Ron McCleary 
     Stage 11 Video (Gypsy Wagon):  David Hakan

Thank you for all your hard work.

2021 Newsong Showcase Winners

Watch NewSong Showcase sets from Thursday and Saturday

Chris Jones NewSong Showcase Curator 2020- Present

Registration opens March 1, 2022

2021 Paulette Rush Arts & Craft Show Winners

One of the best arts & crafts shows in the area, 2021 witnessed many fine artisans returning for yet another Walnut Valley Festival. Many of the more than 80 displays were first-timers, producing drawings, paintings, jewelry, woodcrafts, glass, metalwork, baskets, pottery, weaving/spinning, leather, herbals & soaps, childrens’ items, a number of food-related items and much more. Artists, crafters, and luthiers came to Walnut Valley from over 20 states… Washington to Alabama, California to Pennsylvania, and lots of local favorites.  Below are the 2021 Arts & Craft Show Winners, as judged by an independent panel of artists.   

Congratulations to the 2021 Paulette Rush Arts & Crafts Show Winners

The Paulette Prize – First Place

Terry and Mauna Evans
Overland Park, KS


Second Place

Betty Boudreau
That’ll Do Ranch
Montrose, MO

2nd-Betty Boudreau - That'll Do Ranch3
3rd-Merlyn Walden - Naturally Elegant3

Third Place

Merlyn & Roxy Walden
Naturally Elegant
Lilian, AL

Pantry Winner

Jessica Vaught-Leeper
The Soap Box, LLC
Winfield, KS

Honorable Mention

Michelle Rogne – Rogne Ceramics – Lawrence, KS
John Presley – Whittler – Lindsborg, KS
Dennis Crider Photography – West Plains, MO
Laura Wilson – Sage Monkey Clothig & Accessories – Wichita, KS
Chris & Laura Hasty – Empty Pockets Ironworks – Arkansas City, KS
Ron Landis – Landis Studios – Eureka Springs, AR
Fred Schell – Fred’s Wooden Scrub Board Company – Topeka, KS

2021 Campsite Winners

1st Place

Lit on the Low Road

Kevin Vickery, Manny Alfonso, Sara Richey, Ryan Richards, Erin Bishop, Jake Hamilton, Kevin Becker, Nicki Mears, Megan Hurt, Sally Vee, Jamie Lee

2nd Place

Happy Hands Camp

Denise Scribner, Deann Fleming,
Sharlene Shaffer, Gary Shaffer

3rd Place

Happy Campers Together Again

Greg Eilerts, Chase Scott, Tyler Barnhart, Chandler Scott,
Angela Scott, Clint Kohout

2021 Special Features

2021 Feisty Music Camp for Kids

Feisty Music Camp 3.0 (3rd year) is in the books and what fun everyone had. We had 75 kids learn more about music, make music related crafts, and danced until they could dance no more.

Led by the talented duo of Erin Mae Lewis and Aaron Fowler, the kids took part in two afternoons full of activities and inspiration including sing-alongs, storytelling, song writing, rhythm games, music related crafts, playing mountain dulcimers and ukuleles, playing spoons, learning sign language, flatfoot dancing, and the ever popular kids open mic and kids jam.

The Walnut Valley Festival musicians who helped with teaching and performing included Mark Alan Wade and Kyle Baker, Chris Luquette, with Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, 3 TRAILS WEST, and Linda Tilton.

Other artists who performed and taught were Ann Zimmerman, Jeremy Blaes, Abby the Spoon Lady, Aaron Fowler, Erin Mae, Seth Bate and David Hakan.

Special thank yous go to Great Plains Dulcimer Alliance for the use of mountain dulcimers, Winfield Arts and Humanities for the use of ukuleles, Steve Mason, Luthier for providing strings, Carp Camp for leading the parade to camp each day, Stage 6 for hosting the camp and Choco and Bella – the service dogs who gave and received lots of love.

2021 Walnut Valley Picks

These are some of the recordings WVF Staff have been listening to during the last few months.  Be sure to  listen to some of these artists and add them to your listening library.

Rhonda Vincent & the Rage
“Music Is What I See”
Upper Management Music

JigJam Records

Bing Futch
The Beauty & the Terror
J.O.B. Entertainment, Inc.

Tray Wellington
Uncaged Thoughts
Mountain Home Music Company

Steve & Ruth Smith
From Heart to Hand
Cabin Cove Records

Dale Ann Bradley
Things She Couldn’t Get
Pinecastle Records

Adam Miller
Make My Present Small
Self Produced

Barry Abernathy
Barry Abernathy & Friends

Billy Blue Records

2021 CD Reviews

Helen Avakian
Notes from Helen
Self produced

“Notes From Helen” is Helen Avakian’s first solo guitar album, and it is named after her website blog. It is a collection of Helen’s original guitar instrumentals and arrangements of some of her long time top favorite songs including “Icarus” by Ralph Towner, George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue,” Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours),” Jay Ungar’s “Ashokan Farewell,” and The Beatles “In My Life.” Helen was especially thrilled and honored to have guitar star, Pete Huttlinger, join her on his arrangement of the traditional Irish tune, Monaghan Jig. Helen used the prize money she won in the 2014 International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship to help fund the recording of this CD. “What a thrill to review the first instrumental CD from Helen Avakian, and not just because she’s the first woman to win, in 2014, the International Fingerstyle Championship, which draws virtuoso guitarists from around the world. (Note that the contest, which has been around since 1979 as a national championship, was only once won by a female performer, Muriel Anderson, in 1989.) No, the thrill comes because Notes from Helen is an extraordinary CD, ranking with the very best fingerstyle – or any style – guitar album. Avakian, formerly of New York area and now hailing from Madison, Wisconsin, is already an acclaimed singer songwriter with two previous CDs; here she has put together a collection of guitar instrumentals. The pieces are stylistically and musically varied, ranging from folk, Celtic, classical, flamenco and pop, all sparkling with originality and verve. It’s hard to decide what’s most impressive – the fresh, intelligent arrangements, the arresting original compositions, or the dynamic and lyrical playing. Avakian studied classical guitar and only recently ventured into fingerstyle, which makes her accomplishment even more stunning. Her playing is brilliant; she can play flashy (traditional jazzy “Rhapsody in Blue,” George Gershwin), funky (“Signed, Sealed and Delivered,” Stevie Wonder), or acoustic fingerstyle of great emotional depth (Jay Ungar’s “Ashokan Farewell” or her own “McTammy’s Jig”). But for heart-stopping beauty listen to the tempestuous and complex “Zambra” (her original, though based on a traditional flamenco piece) or her powerful arrangement of Ralph Towner’s “Icarus.” Her technique is masterful, especially her right-hand wizardry. Every piece is studded with flawless tremolos, bell-like harmonics, and forceful strumming, like rasqueado. It is perhaps her control and nuance of dynamics that’s key to what makes her playing so distinctive, as she moves from delicately soft to strong and assertive as the music dictates. With Notes from Helen, Avakian is well on her way to joining the ranks not only of top female guitarists but of the best fingerstyle guitarists, period.

Céline Keating, Minor 7th

Byron Berline
Early in the Morning
Double Stop Music

When Byron Berline passed away on July 10, 2021, the world lost a musical giant. Though perhaps the most-recorded fiddler in bluegrass music history, Byron added his fiddle to countless recordings in many styles of music. From his landmark recording debut in 1965 with The Dillards on their Pickin’ and Fiddlin’ album, to his stint as a member of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, to recording with the Rolling Stones in 1969, Berline blazed a trail that only ended at his passing. The list of artists with whom he recorded reads like a “Who’s Who” in music, from Henry Mancini to Bob Dylan, and includes names like the Byrds, the Band, Rod Stewart, Elton John, James Taylor, the Doobie Brothers, and so many more. Byron Berline was even a member of Stephen Stills’ Manassas, and the Flying Burrito Brothers, a band that spawned his own group, Country Gazette, who performed at the first Walnut Valley Festival in 1972. Berline’s bands that followed included Sundance, the L.A. Fiddle Band, Berline, Crary & Hickman, California, and the Byron Berline Band, all of which have performed at Winfield over the years. No fiddler is more associated with this festival than Byron. Shortly before he got sick, Byron sent me his new album, Early in the Morning. To my way of thinking, this project is a masterpiece. It’s a three CD set, and includes 63 fiddle tunes, all composed by Berline. Each of the CDs has its own theme. The first one is called “Old Time,” and the tone is set with the title track, “First Thing in the Morning,” with just Byron’s fiddle and tapping foot, in the style of his dad, Lue Berline. But by the second tune, “Call of the Wild,” the entire Byron Berline Band kicks in gear and it’s off to the races. Berline’s nephew, Barry Patton, shines on several tracks with his world-championship bones playing. Having 22 “old time” fiddle tunes in a row might sound boring to some, but these tunes are all so different from each other, and the band has such excellent arrangements, that they demand repeated listenings. The second CD in the set is called “Bluegrass,” though almost any of the songs on the album could easily fit into a bluegrass programming format. This set of 22 tunes starts with an uptempo number called “Kickin’ the Can,” that features the twin fiddles of Byron Berline and Greg Burgess. Before bluegrass music became so song-oriented, bands almost always would record one or two instrumentals on an album. Any one of these songs would have been a standout track on such an album. Though the front of the album lists only Byron Berline, make no mistake. This is very much a band album and features hot picking all the way around, especially Billy Perry on banjo, and the fine flatpicking guitar of Thomas Trapp. Some tasty mandolin picking is added on some tracks by Berline, himself. The songs on the bluegrass set are done at a variety of tempos and all are interesting. The final track on that CD is a tour de force tune called “Train Wreck,” that recalls the feel of that other fiddle, train song, that many of us just call OBS.
Set three is labeled “Swing,” though most of the songs could also fit into the bluegrass category. My favorite track is “Russian Concussion,” which also seems to be the favorite of the programmers of Bluegrass Junction on Sirrius/XM. The Byron Berline Band has always flavored their live sets with a good dose of western swing, and this CD gives them the chance to really show off their hot licks. There are special guests scattered throughout the project, but especially on the third CD. The set starts with a hot fiddle and piano tune called, appropriately, “Fiddle My Piano,” and showcases Nashville’s Tim McDonald on the ivories. Up next is “BB Boogie,” which features the entire band, along with Rushad Eggleston on cello. It’s not often you hear a boogie lead played on the cello. Jens Kruger, Tommy Emmanuel, and Tim McDonald all guest on “Satisfied” and on “Troubadour,” which is certainly one of the highlights of the entire project. “International Hornpipe” also features several guest pickers, including Clinton Pelletier on guitar, Rushad Eggleston on cello, and Alan Munde on banjo. Ned Luberecki plays banjo on three tracks; one on each CD, and the legendary Jay Dee Maness adds his tasty pedal steel in just the right places. If you only like music with vocals, this album may not be for you because there is no singing on it anywhere. But if you like interesting, creative instrumentals, based around the playing of one of the greatest fiddlers of all time, I can’t recommend this project highly enough. If you play the fiddle, this album is an absolute “must have!” I suspect that some of these tunes will eventually be played in festival jams. So, pick up this album now and be the first to learn them. You’ll thank me when you see me next year at the 50th Walnut Valley Festival.

Orin Friesen

The Walnut Valley Association Says Thank You!

We would like to offer a special “thank you” to all those who attended te 49th Walnut Valley Festival.  Our grateful thanks also to all who worked extra hard under extreme circumstances to make it a success: Walnut Valley Workers, Staff and Crew; Artists and Craftsmen; Food Vendors, Sound; Sanitation; Security; the people of Winfield and Cowley County; and the City of Winfield.

The Entertainers
Appalachian Road Show
Rachel Baiman &
     George Jackson
Byron Berline Band &
     Legacy Bluegrass
Roz Brown & Jim Ratts
Tom Chapin &
     Michael Mark
The Cowboy Way
Bill Evans, Tim May &
     Steve Smith
Damn Tall Buildings
The Dillards
Juni Fisher
Bing Futch
Beppe Gambetta
The Gothard Sisters
Ernie Hill
Chris Jones &
     the Night Drivers
John McCutcheon
Mile Twelve
Old Sound
Barry Patton
Missy Raines & Allegheny
Pretend Friend
Old Sound
Red Door Duo
Mark Sganga
Allen Shadd &
     Kristen Holloway
Jo Ann Smith
Frank Solivan &
     Dirty Kitchen
The Steel Wheels
Linda Tilton
Mark Alan Wade &
     Kyle Smith
Tray Wellington Band

Beautiful Music Violin Shop
Bourgeois Guitars
Collings Guitars
d’Aigle Autoharps
Deering Banjo Company
The Dulcimer Shoppe /
     McSpadden Dulcimers
Mike Huddleson
     Stringed Instruments
Huss & Dalton Guitar Co.
C.F. Martin & Co., Inc.
Master Works, Inc.
OME Banjos
Oscar Schmidt Autoharps
Taylor Guitars
Preston Thompson Guitars
Rick Thum Hammer
Whippoorwill Acoustics

Blue Chip Picks
Elliott Capos
Fishman Transducers, Inc.
Landis Studios
Mr. Skylar
Mass Street Music
Katie Moritz Hammers
Prestige Monogram
Silver Pearl Designs
Solid Ground Stands
Brendan White
     Jewelry Design
Wichita Hat Works

Pre-Festival Workshops
Seth & Jenny Bate
Lee & Marcia Evans
First Baptist Church

Dan Cribbs
Pam Cribbs
Melinda Farris
Sandy Flottman
Sheridon Flottman
Sierra Flottman
Kris Junker
Larry Junker
Debbie McNinch

Feisty Music Camp
Erin Mae Lewis
Aaron Fowler
Stage 6
Leo Eilts
Roger Eilts
Great Plains Dulcimer
Winfield Arts &
     Humanities Council

Greg Smyer Sound
Pro Audio Systems

WVA Friends
Debbie Carr
Erica Lann-Teubner
Ron McCleary
Grant Olson
Doug Pratt
Nate Pultorak
Joe Taverner
Joyce Teubner
Mike Theobald
Eric Welty

Emcees / Stage Managers
Keith Anglemyer
Seth Bate
Dave Bellavia
Karla Campbell
Karen Deal
Jesse Friesen
Orin Friesen
Aaron Fowler
Jeni Grey
Dave Higgs
Jon Huber
Dennis LeFevre
Richard Lungstrum
Lara Mann
Steve Miller
Dennis Moran
Duane Porterfield
Kathy Rogers
Josh Rood
Mike Shirkey
Tim Sidebottom
Steve Snook
Richard Sobek
Andrea Springer
Glenn Wooddell

Office Personnel
Rae Lynne Baker
Becky Conway
Karen Deal
Sarah Emrick
Marcia Evans
Rex Flottman
Larry J. Hittle
Helen Holdeman
Bart Redford
Kevin Redford
Jim Stevens

Get your tickets early and save with the Early Bird Special!

Early Bird Special

$ 80 For the Full Festival!
  • Full Festival (Five Days) - $80
Best Deal!

$45 OFF
Full Festival Gate Price

Advance Price

$ 100 For the Full Festival!
  • Full Festival (Five Days) - $100
  • Two Days (Friday & Saturday) - $90
  • Two Days (Saturday & Sunday) - $80
  • Friday Only** - $60
  • Saturday Only** - $60

Gate Price

$ 125 For the Full Festival!
  • Full Festival (Five Days) - $125
  • Two Days (Friday & Saturday) - $100
  • Two Days (Saturday & Sunday) - $90
  • Thursday Only** - $65
  • Friday Only** - $70
  • Saturday Only** - $70
  • Sunday Only** - $20
  • Children 6-11 - $10
  • Children 5 & Under - Free With Paid Adult
  • Advance Tickets Guarantee Admission!
  • Advance Tickets may be purchased at the Festival Office (918 Main Street, Winfield) or at the Ticket Trailer (at the campgrounds) until 5:00 PM Friday, September 13th.
  • Camping is NOT included in the price of tickets. Customers must have either a Two-day or Full Festival ticket to be allowed to purchase camping or parking.
  • Festival gate and campgrounds will open Saturday, September 7th from 8 AM – 6 PM (Gate Hours after September 12 TBD)
  • Only Full-Festival ticket holders will be allowed on Festival grounds prior to Thursday, September 19th(Please do not invite persons without tickets to visit you on grounds.  They will not be admitted.)

One-day tickets are valid from 6:00 a.m. until midnight or until 30 minutes after last stage closes and do NOT entitle you to stay overnight in the campgrounds.  Those staying overnight must have at least a two-day ticket.

See you September 14-18, 2022!

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