The 6th John Hartford Memorial Festival is right around the bend! As part of the ongoing mission to keep folks aware of the late John Hartford, his music, legacy and contribution, promoters John Hotze and Tom Burkhart have stayed the course in booking artists who have had a direct connection to John Hartford. This year features Sam Bush, Mike Compton with Helen Highwater and Rodney Dillard of the Dillards fame. Rodney Dillard was a familiar face from the Andy Griffin Mayberry days, as one of the Darlins, the musical family of hick type hillbillies. Mike Compton was one of the original John Hartford String Band members and Sam Bush performed and collaborated with John Hartford on several occasions. The opening ceremony will feature John’s Daughter, Katie, with an opening message.
Also performing are the Steel Wheels, The Hillbenders Performing Tommy, The Travelin McCourys, Billy Strings, over 40 acts in all, loaded with mixed genre acoustic talent.
The top three songwriters for this year’s JHMF Songwriting Contest are 1st place- Eric Davis from Boulder CO., Jim Clark from rural southern IL, and Jan Bell, from Brooklyn NY. These three, along with 4th and 5th place winners, will perform in the Songwriter’s Showcase on the Main Stage on Friday.
The festival will again be featuring workshops with Danny Barnes, Sam Bush, Vince Hermann, Rodney Dillard, Jug Band with Deep Fried Pickle Project, and Story Songs. The Story Songs Workshop, in it’s second year, features host Ernie Hill, Old Man Luedecke, Wil Maring and Colin O’Brien. This is not a hands on workshop.
“The idea is for each of us to present an original story song and discuss the process, the spark that ignited the fire for the inspiration, and the nuts and bolts behind each individual’s approach to songwriting.” According to Ernie Hill, the creator and host of this event. Ernie will also be launching his take on the process, “The Cosmic Approach to Songwriting”, which will be a PDF download from his website,www.wordsofernest.com, right around festival time. The participating songwriters for this year’s workshop are; Old Man Luedecke from Nova Scotia, recently recorded and toured with Tim O’Brien and has won and been nominated for the Canadian JUNO award, equivalent to the US Grammy. Wil Maring, Cobden IL, a Chris Austin Merlefest Songwriting champ, and Colin O’Brien, an established Nashville songwriter and musician and Ernie Hill, who has won awards in songwriting at the Walnut Valley Festival, Winfield KS, and is the staff writer for the John Hartford Memorial Festival, as well as the JHMF Songwriting Contest manager and Showcase host. “We promise a spontaneous, unrehearsed, entertaining and enlightening set, and hopefully will answer any questions about creativity that the audience may be pondering.” The Story Songs Workshop takes place on Friday, June 3rd, at 1:00pm, at the Boogie Stage. This year’s festival also features an open fiddle contest, a new open style banjo contest, and a square dance, all hosted and managed by The Aching Hearts from St. Louis, MO. All contest details, Single Day and Full Festival Tickets are on sale now at www.johnhartfordmemfest.com. Prices go up at the gate.