DeKALB – A trio of local folk groups entertained a room full of people at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of DeKalb Saturday, June 15, for the 13th annual Gurler Heritage Association Folk Music Fest.
“It’s a way to give back to the community,” Tom Sims, president of the association, said as he grilled hot dogs behind the church.
“It has grown over the years and it has always had local acts,” Sims added. The association schedules a mix of new and returning acts each year.
The free music fest is traditionally held on the front lawn of the Gurler House on Pine Street in DeKalb, but organizers decided on Saturday morning to move the event indoors in light of gloomy skies and predictions for rain throughout the day.
Inside the church, however, spirits were sunny as three groups entertained the crowd with their distinctive styles.
Dave Balika & Friends kicked off the music at noon with Balika on the hammered dulcimer, Lynn Cook on recorder and flute, and Denny Vaupel on bass.
Last Night’s Fun played next, keeping the crowd energized with traditional Celtic music and songs. Sadie Roloff, 2, of DeKalb danced in the aisle to the music during most of the performance.
“She has been dancing since before she could walk,” said Sadie’s father, Joe Roloff.
Sycamore-based headliner Truman’s Ridge played their “lightning-fast” variety of bluegrass and gospel music for the second consecutive year.
“We do it Chicago-style,” banjo and harmonica player Bruce Wallace said. “They need to call it hillbilly jazz.”
Truman’s Ridge has been nominated in the 12th Annual Independent Music Awards for their Celtic-inspired song “Heather’s Gate.”