Chicago Folk and Roots Festival 2008

The Chicago Folk & Roots Festival is a two-day cultural festival held in the heart of Lincoln Square, one of Chicago's most diverse neighborhoods.

The artistic vision of the Festival is to showcase local and internationally known artists in various music and dance idioms in celebration of the diversity of folk and world culture.

The Main Stage line-up for the 2008 Festival includes KINKY (Sunday), from Monterrey, Mexico, DOBET GNAHORÉ (Sunday) from the Ivory Coast, the MOTHER TRUCKERS (Saturday) from Austin, Texas, SLAVIC SOUL PARTY (Saturday) from New York City, and many more.

In addition to the live back-to-back Main Stage performances, visitors can shake their hips in the DANCE TENT at workshops offering styles from Cajun to West African; bring the young ones to the KIDS TENT to sample popular classes such as "Wiggleworms" and a "Live Band Karaoke for Kids"; enjoy sets by the talented faculty at the Old Town School STAFF STAGE; and even join in open jams and sing-a-longs at the GAZEBO. Lincoln Avenue will also be lined with a diverse sampling of Chicago's finest food vendors offering a vast array of tasty multi-cultural delights.


- The NUESTRA MÚSICA tent is a version of an event Old Town School co-produced with the Smithsonian at the D.C. Folklife Festival in 2006. A tent dedicated to Chicago's Latino culture.

- The Chicago Short Film Brigade will take over the KIDS' tent at night for some family friendly short film programming.

- The Chicago Bicycle Federation will be giving a FREE bike clinic just outside of the Festival.

(artists and schedule subject to change)


Saturday, July 12

Special Music By Special People - 12:55pm to 1:20pm
The Astronomer - 1:30pm to 1:50pm
Unibrow - 2:00pm to 2:25pm
Grupo Miel - Nuestra Música Performance - 2:45pm to 3:30pm
Jon Langford and the Burlington Welsh Male Chorus - 3:45pm to 4:45pm
David Davis and the Warrior River Boys - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Charro with Jorge Duran & Jorge Duran Jr. - 6:00pm to 6:30pm (in the park)
Slavic Soul Party! - 6:30pm to 7:45pm
The Mother Truckers - 8:15pm to 9:45pm

Sunday, July 13

Midwest Invitational Fiddle Contest - 12:55pm to 1:55pm
Los Vencedores del Norte - 2:15pm to 3:00pm
The Iguanas - 3:30pm to 4:30pm
Les Primitifs du Futur - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Read My Hips - 6:00pm to 6:25pm (Belly Dance in the Park)
Dobet Gnahoré - 6:30pm to 7:45pm
Yaneida Rivera & Michael Reyes (Poetry) - 7:45pm to 7:50pm
Kinky - 8:15pm to 9:45pm


Saturday, July 12

Wiggleworms with Mary Ann Johnson - 12:00pm to 12:45pm
Samba Party with Dill Costa - Nuestra Música Performance - 12:50pm to 1:35pm
Karen For Kids Band - 1:45pm to 2:35pm
Tahitian Dancing for Kids with Lanialoha Lee - 2:40pm to 3:25pm
The Dream Tree Shakers with Jeremy Babcock - 3:30pm to 4:20pm
Heavy Metal Horns with Slavic Soul Party! - 4:25pm to 5:10pm
Rhythm Circle - 5:15pm to 6:00pm

CHICAGO SHORT FILM BRIGADE - 7:45pm to 8:30pm***

Sunday, July 13

Wiggleworms in Spanish with Shana Harvey - 12:00pm to 12:45pm
Go Go Dancing for Kids with Tina Stasny - 12:50pm to 1:35pm
Carlos Mejia & Teen Marimba Ensemble - Nuestra Música Performance - 1:40pm to 2:25pm
West African Drumming with Taylor - 2:30pm to 3:15pm
Live Band Karaoke for Kids with Jon Langford - 3:20pm to 4:15pm
Hip Hop with Boogie McClarin - 4:20pm to 5:05pm
The Swing Sets - 5:10pm to 6:05pm

CHICAGO SHORT FILM BRIGADE - 7:45pm to 8:30pm***

7:45 to 8:30pm both nights for some lively, funky and family friendly short films!



Saturday, July 12

Yoga Stretch and Ecstatic Dance with Andrea Bunch - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Bomba with Africaribe - 1:10pm to 2:25pm
Aztec Dance with Miguel Gutierrez - Nuestra Música Performance - 2:30pm to 3:30pm
Cajun Dance Lesson with Louie Stallone - 3:35pm to 4:00pm
Lafayette Rhythm Devils - 4:00pm to 5:15pm
Zydeco Dance Lesson with Louie Stallone - 5:15pm to 5:45pm
Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble - 5:45pm to 7:00pm

Sunday, July 13

Zumba with Isabel Mulcahy - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
West African Dance with Idy Ciss - 1:15pm to 2:20pm
Fiddle Contest Bands - 2:25pm to 3:30pm
Polka Lesson with Richard and Misia Jaminski - 3:45pm to 4:15pm
FreezeDried Polka - 4:15pm to 5:30pm
The Dolce Veeta Wedding Band - 5:45pm to 7:00pm


Saturday, July 12

Kani Kapila with Lanialoha Lee - 12:00pm
Son Jarocho Fandango with Raúl Fernandez - Nuestra Música Performance - 1:00pm
Cajun Jam with Lafayette Rhythm Devils - 2:00pm
Bluegrass Jam Owen Saunders & Chris Walz - 3:00pm
Women's Rock Ensemble with Shelley Miller - 4:00pm
Warren Zevon Ensemble with Alton Smith - 5:00pm
Bowie Ensemble with Bob Goins - 6:00pm

Sunday, July 13

African Drum Fete with Taylor - 12:00pm
Celebrating Tradition with Peg & Maura - 1:00pm
The Third Half with Dan Fulkerson & Scott Besaw - 2:00pm
Old Time Jam with Steve Rosen - 3:00pm
Kinks Ensemble with Jimmy Tomasello & Dan Fulkerson - 4:00pm
Wilco Ensemble with Bob Goins - 5:00pm
Beatles Ensemble with Steve Levitt - 6:00pm




For Staff Stage Schedule go to:



Nuestra Música: Latino Chicago is the result of a research project conducted in 2005 launched by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and co-sponsored by the Old Town School of Folk Music. Nuestra Música will be restaged with live performances, interviews, and dance workshops by the artists, children's workshops, arts and crafts, and some of the displays from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. This setting of the festival will showcase folk music and dance from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Bolivia, Brazil, and Colombia.

In addition to having its own tent (see schedule below), Nuestra Música perfromances will be happening thoughout Folk & Roots Festival's various stages and are noted as such.

Saturday, July 12

12 to 2pm
Andres Orozco- Jewelry Artisan (Colombia)

2 to 4pm
William Cumpiano- Tiple Artisan (Puerto Rico)

4 to 6pm
Huguito Gutierrez- Zamponas and Quenas (Bolivia)

Sunday, July 13

12:00-2:00 p.m.
Irekani and Roberto- Calaveras Making (Mexico)

2:00-4:00 p.m.
Roberto Salazar- Jaranas (Mexico)

4:00-6:00 p.m.
Michael Reyes and Yaneida Rivera - Poetry Workshop (Puerto Rico and Mexico)


Keep your eyes peeled in Welles Park for the Puppet Bike, Stilt Girl, and a FREE bike clinic from Chicago Bicycle Federation!

About the Old Town School of Folk Music
Founded in 1957, the Old Town School of Folk Music is a not-for-profit organization that teaches and celebrates music and cultural expressions rooted in the traditions of diverse Chicago, American and global communities. Each week close to 6,000 students of all ages participate in hundreds of classes and workshops in music, dance, theater and art, and over 200 concerts and performances are produced yearly in the School's critically acclaimed concert hall. The Old Town School of Folk Music is located in Chicago at 4544 N. Lincoln Avenue, with an additional location at 909 West Armitage Avenue. For additional information about the Old Town School of Folk Music, visit

2008 Chicago Folk & Roots Festival Sponsors to Date

Bank of America
WXRT - Radio

American Airlines
Advocate Health Care
Chicago Park District
Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce
Mayor's Office of Special Events

42 N Latitude
Chicago Parent
Glunz Beer
The Onion

Café Selmarie
City Inns
Harmony Grill
M&G Graphics
Potbelly Sandwich Works
Seman Violins
Woodruff Financial, Inc.
Old Town School Members

Special thanks to Alderman Gene Schulter and the 47th Ward.
Thanks to Jon Langford for the festival art design & Shirts Our Business.

Though it’s probably the least hyped of any of Chicago’s major summer music fests, the Old Town School of Folk Music’s Folk & Roots Festival is one of the most inviting and musically rewarding, with a welcoming communal vibe born of the staff’s vital role as educators and eclectic booking that offers something for every taste.

The 11th annual fest takes place Saturday and Sunday at Welles Park in Lincoln Square (Lincoln Avenue between Montrose and Sunnyside), and the music kicks off on the main stage at 12:55 tomorrow afternoon with Special Music by Special People, an ensemble stemming from the Park District’s program for aspiring musicians with developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome and director by Joe Yost and other volunteer musicians.