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.