URBANA — This year, the Krannert Center’s season opener also celebrates the University of Illinois’ Sesquicentennial and ELLNORA — The Guitar Festival 2017, according to a press release.
Patrons attending the opening night party can revel with a stage-to-stage lineup of artists (James Jones Trio, Samantha Fish, and Soulive), plenty of all-ages amenities, food options in an outdoor tented space, and a spark of six-stringed exhilaration to set the whole season aglow.
Music kicks off with the Star-Spangled Banner, performed by Matt Stewart before revving up with James Jones Trio at 6:30 p.m. The trio hails from just down the road in Danville and will be serving up traditional blues with modern inflections.
Samantha Fish, heralded by ELLNORA alumni like Buddy Guy and Luther Dickinson, is a Kansas City-born Blues Music Award winner known for her commanding voice and penchant for writing and covering songs that rock. And after nearly two decades of making music together, the jubilant trio of artists that comprise Soulive — guitarist Eric Krasno and brothers Neal (Hammond B-3 organ) and Alan (drums) Evans — know a thing or two about igniting a party from the stage. Whether they’re collaborating with John Scofield, Derek Trucks, Joshua Redman, or Robert Randolph, their grooves never quit, the solos are always soulful, and the surging funk rhythms give the green light on good times.
Patrons can also participate in guitar pick jewelry-making or screen printing with Weiskamp, stop by the Studio Theatre for a showcase of free mini-performances, shop festival merchandise at the ELLNORA Store at Promenade, visit the four-panel guitar mural on the terrace and Bubble Man in the Amphitheatre, marvel at the community guitar gallery hung throughout the lobby, enjoy the Koester & Bradley kids’ craft area, and enjoy food options from Siam Terrace, Rick’s Bakery, El Oasis, Caribbean Grill, Piato, JET’s Pizza, and more.
Tickets are $5 and all ages are welcome. Kids under 5 years of age receive free admission; a complimentary ticket is required.
For those who want to keep the party going even later, Krannert Center is offering a limited-capacity Spontaneous Combustion event beginning at 10:15 p.m. in the Studio Theatre. The all-improvised set will feature ELLNORA Ambassador Artist Kevin Breit, Lulo Reinhardt, Daniel Stelter, and Rez Abbasi. Tickets are $35 / SC $30 / STU $15 / UI & YTH $10.
- 6 p.m., Food sales begin and doors open
- 6:30 p.m., James Jones Trio, Lobby—Stage 6
- 7:30 p.m., Samantha Fish, Lobby—Stage 5
- 8:45 p.m., Soulive, Lobby—Stage 6
Studio Showcase Schedule:
- 7 p.m., Kevin Breit
- 7:15 p.m., Matt Stewart
- 7:30 p.m., Jontavious Willis
- 7:45 p.m., Garrett Gunter
- 8 p.m., Makana
- 8:15 p.m., Guido Sánchez-Portuguez
- 8:30 p.m., Jose Emilio Gobbo Jr.
General admission tickets for the opening night party are $5 (kids 5 and under are free but need a ticket) and are available at KrannertCenter.com or by calling 217-333-6280. Get the entire ELLNORA: The Guitar Festival lineup at EllnoraGuitarFestival.com.