The stages are set, entertainers are en route, and the grounds are dry. The Walnut Valley Festival is geared up and ready to go. For the 48th consecutive year, musicians and music lovers from all over the world are setting their sights on Winfield for the annual event.
Last week’s land rush saw more than 900 camping units engage in a rush to claim prime camping spots in the fairgrounds at Winfield. The rain held off just long enough to finish that process, settling the dust, but has now given way to sunny, blue skies.
The list of groups that are new to Winfield is long this year, with more than 40 percent of the lineup consisting of performers appearing at Walnut Valley Festival for the first time.
JigJam, a quartet from Ireland, will introduce fans to a style of music called I-Grass — bluegrass played with an Irish flair. Other new performers this year include the powerhouse group J2B2 (John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band); The Quitters; past International Finger Style Guitar Champions Christie Lenée and her trio, as well as Muriel Anderson, the first woman to win the National Finger Style Guitar Championship. Appalachian Road Show, Short Round String Band, Matchsellers/Bluegrasstronauts, Ashley Lewis and Legacy, The Cowboy Way and Old Salt Union round out the list of newcomers.
Festival-goers will also find artists they have come to support such as Della Mae, Bing Futch, John McCutcheon, Socks in the Frying Pan, Chris Jones & the Night Drivers and Winfield’s own Barry Patton, who earlier this year won an international bones playing competition in Ireland.
Tickets for the festival are on sale at the fairgrounds entrance on Ninth Avenue. The festival welcomes between 10,000-12,000 annually for the five-day music extravaganza.