On September 14, 15, and 16, 2017, a stunning display of the world’s most remarkable and significant guitarists will gather for the seventh installment of ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival, presented by Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Situated in a vibrant micro-urban setting, the internationally recognized, biennial event features “a prodigious array of the world’s most distinctive and influential guitarists” (Premier Guitar) from around the globe, including for 2017 artists rooted in Gran Canaria, Spain, Germany, Canada, Pakistan, Australia, and from throughout the United States.
ELLNORA is anything but your typical music festival. Krannert Center for the Performing Arts encompasses six unique, state-of-the-art performance spaces—both formal and informal—that make it particularly well suited to showcase the festival’s impressive range. This year’s incarnation of ELLNORA incorporates 14 ticketed events including performances by Jeff Tweedy, Janis Ian, Ronnie Baker Brooks Band, Vicente Amigo, Rez Abbasi Quartet, Ryley Walker, Kevin Breit, Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge, Lulo Reinhardt and Daniel Stelter, Jontavious Willis, and family favorite Recess Monkey, along with at least seven free shows featuring artists Germán López, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Sierra Hull, Makana, and local musicians Jack Brighton and Andy Baylor.
For 2017, ELLNORA will feature guitarist Kevin Breit as an Ambassador Artist. Breit has dazzled Krannert Center crowds in previous ELLNORA festivals with his bands Sisters Euclid and FolkAlarm. He’s performed with Cassandra Wilson, Norah Jones, Rosanne Cash, k.d. lang, Natalie McMaster, and many others—picking up JUNO Awards, a National Jazz Award, a Gemini Award, and playing on albums that have collected 10 Grammy Awards. Lately, this “guitarist’s guitarist” has been delighting audiences with his mandolin chops, complemented by his masterful skills as a singer and band leader. Breit will perform in a special, late-evening, limited-ticket event called Spontaneous Combustion on ELLNORA’s opening night, Thursday, September 14 with several special guests to be announced. He will also perform with The Upper York Mandolin Quartet in a free show on Saturday, September 16 at 6pm and will help close out the festival on Saturday in the ELLNORA Last Call! concert.
The $5 Opening Night Party on Thursday, September 14 will include sets of traditional blues from Illinois native James Jones, blistering blues-rock from Blues Music Award-winner Samantha Fish, and a surging funk sound from Soulive. The event will also be recognized as an official part of the University of Illinois’ sesquicentennial celebration.
ELLNORA, which bears the name of its venue’s visionary founder, Ellnora Krannert, provides a vital showcase for some of today’s most prominent female artists. In addition to folk guitar legend Janis Ian, smoldering blueswoman Samantha Fish, and the captivating young mandolinist Sierra Hull, female artists for 2017 also include Cary Ann Hearst of Shovels & Rope, guitarist-singer-songwriter (and Bonnie Raitt collaborator) Ruthie Foster, and the prodigious talent of Australian-born Alberta Khoury, who is a Juilliard School student under the tutelage of 2015 ELLNORA Artist-in-Residence Sharon Isbin.
Originally known as the Wall to Wall Guitar Festival before being rechristened ELLNORA in 2009, the event is organized by Krannert Center for the Performing Arts’ director, Mike Ross, and his staff in collaboration with curator and artistic advisor David Spelman, who is also founder/artistic director of the world-renowned New York Guitar Festival. In the years since its debut, ELLNORA has served as a model for other events in the United States and around the world.
View A Short Film: ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival at https://www.youtube.com/watch?
TH SEP 14
6pm Opening Night Party
6:30pm James Jones Trio
7:30pm Samantha Fish
10:15pm Spontaneous Combustion with Kevin Breit and Special Guests
FR SEP 15
12pm Germán López
5pm Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen
5:45pm Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge
7pm Lulo Reinhardt and Daniel Stelter
7:15pm Sierra Hull
8:15pm Jontavious Willis/Ruthie Foster
9:30pm Lulo Reinhardt and Daniel Stelter
9:45pm Shovels & Rope
11pm The Bringing It All Back Home Project: Classic Bob Dylan featuring Jack Brighton and Friends
SA SEP 16
ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival
10am Recess Monkey
11am Rez Abbasi Quartet Cine-Concert: A Throw of Dice
12:30pm Alberta Khoury/Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
1:15pm Ryley Walker
3pm Vicente Amigo
4:45pm Janis Ian
6pm Kevin Breit and the Upper York Mandolin Quartet
6:15pm Alberta Khoury
7:30pm Jeff Tweedy
9pm Ryley Walker
9:15pm Ronnie Baker Brooks Band
10:45pm ELLNORA Last Call! featuring Andy Baylor and the 217 All-Stars
SPECIAL FESTIVAL FEATURES
Intermezzo cafe at the north end of the Center’s Lobby is an ideal place for patrons to unwind and recharge with the Center’s signature coffee blends, tempting desserts, and daily specials.
Outdoor Tented Area and Food Vendors
Local food vendors will offer everything from appetizers to full meals to desserts in a large tented area on the southeast terrace for the Opening Night Party. The tented area will be open throughout the festival and will feature additional non-performance events.
Promenade gift shop, located at the southwest corner of the Center’s Lobby, will become the official festival store, featuring merchandise, sponsor tables, and meet-and-greets with artists.
Sponsors and artists will come together to create 80+ guitar-shaped art pieces for a massive lobby installation.
TICKETS AND INFORMATION
Event Tickets go on sale to the public at 10am on Saturday, July 8.
Ticket prices vary. Visit EllnoraGuitarFestival.com for details.
Donations are welcome throughout the festival to help make ELLNORA programming possible.
Ticket Office Information
Phone: 217/333-6280 or 800/KCPATIX (527-2849)
TTY: 217/333-9714 (for patrons who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or speech-impaired)
Mail: Krannert Center Ticket Office
500 South Goodwin Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61801-3788
In person: Krannert Center Ticket Office, 500 South Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, Illinois, from 10am to 6pmevery day (sales begin at 10am on Saturday, July 8).