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Urbana — On September 5, 6, and 7, 2019, a diverse and exciting curation of the world’s most remarkable guitarists will gather for the eighth installment of ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival, presented by Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The 2019 event features artists from across the globe, including those from Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Madagascar, Niger, Korea, Gambia, France, Bosnia, China, Germany, and throughout the United States, representing a broad spectrum of musical genres, instrumental traditions, and playing styles. The internationally recognized, biennial event not only features performances from an array of the world’s most influential guitarists but also engaging, FREE educational programming, including lectures, workshops, and panel discussions for patrons to enjoy.

The interactive programming at ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival begins on Friday, September 6 with a live broadcast of Illinois Public Media’s The 21st—a public radio talk show that celebrates news, culture, and the stories that matter to Illinois. The host will welcome to-be-announced ELLNORA guests for this new festival feature. The public taping begins at 11am in Krannert Center’s Studio Theatre.

ELLNORA welcomes Fabi Reyna — founder of She Shreds magazine, the only print publication in the world dedicated to women guitarists and bassists — as she hosts Guitar as a Creative, Political, and Emotional Tool on Friday, September 6 at 1:30pm. In this lively panel discussion, Fabi will lead a panel conversation about gender and genre in the music industry. Reyna’s band Sávila, a cumbia/Latin/world/R&B-inspired ensemble, will perform a free public show on Saturday, September 7 at 1:30pm at Stage 5.

Rhode Island-based French luthier Rachel Rosenkrantz hosts a talkback discussion with guest artists following the Friday, September 6 noontime performance of Across the Sea, featuring Jeff Peterson, Greg Sardinha, and Tsun-Hui Hung.

On Friday at 2:45pm in the Studio Theatre, guitarist Steve Dawson hosts a live taping of his podcast, Music Makers and Soul Shakers with Steve Dawson. Dawson’s podcast features thoughtful and in-depth interviews with artists, musicians, producers, and engineers. His guest will be fellow ELLNORA artist Molly Tuttle.

Wrapping up Friday’s panels at 4pm in the Studio Theatre is Rachel Rosenkrantz’s panel discussion entitled Innovation in Playing, Innovation in Building. ELLNORA artists Luther Dickinson, Kaki King, Tony McManus, and Jason Vieaux will join her to explore long-standing guitar-making traditions and the modern craft.

New York Guitar Festival founder and ELLNORA Artistic Advisor David Spelman will host a talkback event following the North American premiere of Kaki King’s "Data Not Found" on Friday, September 6.

Saturday, September 7 opens with Yoga with GLOW by Lola at 9am in the Orchestra Rehearsal Room. Attendees are invited to start their day with a refreshing yoga session led by Lola Pettinger, with live musical accompaniment from Grammy Award-winning slack key guitar player Jeff Peterson.

Rachel Rosenkrantz returns to host a free workshop at 11am on Saturday morning, entitled, Anatomy of Sound, where patrons can get hands-on with the detailed craft of guitar making.

Two rounds of Sonic Meditations on Saturday, September 7 invite guests to participate in sonic rejuvenation through the wisdom of Reverend Florence Caplow paired with a short acoustic music set. At 5pm, acclaimed classical guitarist Bokyung Byun will provide the musical portion of the Sonic Meditation, with Guido Sanchez-Portuguez offering his classical guitar skills at the 8pm session. Both Sonic Meditation events will take place on the Colwell Playhouse stage with no late seating.

The full schedule of ELLNORA events and performances can be found below and at

The ELLNORA Festival App is available for download now at:



About ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival

ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival at Krannert Center—an internationally recognized, three-day event deemed “one of the world’s most forward-thinking guitar festivals” by Fretboard Journal—has emerged as a favorite destination for musicians and fans from around the world. Past ELLNORA festivals have featured artists such as Buddy Guy, Ani DiFranco, Derek Trucks, Jeff Tweedy, John Scofield, Jerry Douglas, Lulo Reinhardt, Punch Brothers, Bill Frisell, Vernon Reid, Richard Thompson, Kaki King, Andy Summers, The National, Mark Stewart, Valerie June, Los Lobos, and the North Mississippi Allstars, among many others.

ELLNORA 2019 will be the eighth incarnation of the biennial festival, which began life as the Wall to Wall Guitar Festival in 2005. The nearly round-the-clock event provides an unparalleled multi-genre experience, now emulated by other festivals worldwide, and features performances from a diverse lineup of distinguished music makers.


(Descriptions available at and


6pm Opening Night Party

6pm & 7:30pm Toko Telo

6:30pm Bombino

8pm Samantha Fish with Luther Dickinson

9:30pm Spontaneous Combustion with Luther Dickinson, Steve Dawson, Rob Ickes, Trey Hensley, and Molly Tuttle


11am The 21st Live

12pm Across the Sea: Jeff Peterson, Greg Sardinha, Tsun-Hui Hung (talkback following the performance)

1:30pm Panel Discussion with Fabi Reyna: Guitar as a Creative, Political, and Emotional Tool

2:45pm Live Podcast—Steve Dawson’s Music Makers and Soul Shakers with special guest Molly Tuttle

4pm Panel Discussion with Rachel Rosenkrantz, luthier: Innovation in Playing, Innovation in Building


6pm Molly Tuttle and Steve Dawson

7:30pm Kaki King: Data Not Found (talkback following the performance)

8pm & 10pm Stephane Wrembel Band

9pm Pat Metheny Side-Eye with James Francies and Marcus Gilmore

10:30pm The Messthetics


9am Yoga with GLOW by Lola

10am Danny Weinkauf and the Red Pants Band

10:15am Stephane Wrembel Solo

11am Bokyung Byun and Jason Vieaux

11am Workshop with Rachel Rosenkrantz, luthier: Anatomy of Sound

12:30pm Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley

1:30pm Sávila

2:30pm Anat Cohen and Marcello Gonçalves; Aritmia: Merima Ključo and Miroslav Tadić

2:30pm & 4pm Danilo Brito Quartet

5pm The Bluebonnets

5pm & 8pm Sonic Meditation

6pm Tony McManus and Julia Toaspern

7:15pm & 9pm Rafiq Bhatia

8:30pm Buddy Guy

10pm Brandon T. Washington and Friends


Event tickets are on sale now.

Ticket prices per event vary. Visit for details.

Donations are welcome throughout the festival to help make ELLNORA programming possible.

Ticket Office Information

Phone: 217/333-6280 or 800/KCPATIX (527-2849)



Mail: Krannert Center Ticket Office, 500 South Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, Illinois 61801-3788

In person: Krannert Center Ticket Office, 500 South Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, Illinois, from 10am to 6pm every day (sales begin at 10am on Saturday, July 20).

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Andrew Howie lives in Champaign and hides his pretentious music taste behind self-deprecating humor. If you seek radio hits, this is not the column you're looking for. Come here to find the acquired tastes, the obscure albums, the innovative and bizarre.