Folk music festival at historic DeKalb home

DeKALB – The sounds of bluegrass, folk, and Celtic music will fill the air around the historic Gurler House from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 21.

This summer marks the 14th annual Gurler Heritage Association Folk Music Fest on the shady lawn of Gurler House, 205 Pine St. in DeKalb. The afternoon will offer something for everyone.

Folk Music Fest founder Cheryl Johnson will return to emcee as "Annie Glidden," and the event will feature performances by Jim Kanas, Balika & Friends, and Last Night's Fun.

Kicking off the festival at noon with two sets, headliner and renowned jazz, folk, and bluegrass guitarist Jim Kanas will perform. Kanas is an American folk musician, jazz guitarist and producer with the Illinois Arts Council's ArtsTour program, who has conducted numerous school music residencies for over 20 years. He was featured PBS's "Arts Across Illinois" and has performed at colleges, festivals and on broadcast media throughout Illinois. 

From 2 until 2:45 p.m., Dave Balika and Friends will delight the audience with their enchanting dulcimer-led melodies. Closing the line-up from 3 to 4:45 p.m. is Last Night’s Fun, who will perform traditional Celtic music. The band features local musicians performing a variety of early traditional music, including reels, jigs, waltzes, hornpipes, and vocal selections and ballads with interesting harmonies. Performances are upbeat, fun-filled, varied, engaging, and enjoyable for all ages. Instruments include fiddle, concertina, flute, fife, guitar, banjo, mandolin, and bodhran. 

A food tent will feature Chicago-style hot dogs from Inboden’s Meat Market, chips, home-baked treats, and cold drinks. Food, commemorative button, and T-shirt sales support the upkeep of the historic Gurler House and community programming offered on-site.

This family-friendly open-air event is supported in part by a grant from the Mary E. Stevens Concert and Lecture Fund and sponsored by WNIJ public radio, with additional support by Big John. It is free and open to the public, although donations to support the house will be appreciated. 

Bring your blankets or chairs and spend a musical afternoon on the shade-dappled lawn. In the event of rain, the event will be at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of DeKalb, 158 N. Fourth St., DeKalb. For more information call 815-758-4897, visit the Gurler Heritage Association website at http://gurlerhouse.org, or follow them on Facebook.

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