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