name, microbrew contest add variety
to Madisons seventh annual folk festival
Helen E. McKinney
2012 Edition Cover
MADISON, Ind. (May 2012) Hayes Carll hit a
milestone in his relatively young career when he penned some songs for
the hit movie, Country Strong.
Known for his twangy country, pensive folk and sometimes fiery rock
sound, Carll has been belting out the hits and pleasing mixed crowds
for quite some time.
Now he is bringing his unique sound to Madison, Ind. Carll will serve
as the Saturday night headliner at 9 p.m. for the RiverRoots Music and
Folk Arts Festival, which runs from Friday through Sunday, May 18-20,
at Madisons Bicentennial Park on the riverfront. Carll will join
Over the Rhine and The Band of Heathens, among others, at the this seventh
annual event presented by an all-volunteer committee working under the
auspices of VisitMadison Inc.
Carll originally hails from The Woodlands, Texas, a suburb of Houston.
At age 15, he got his first guitar. His songwriting has been influenced
by Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, John Prine, Jack Kerouac and Dead
In 1998, it seemed Carll might take a different path in life when he
graduated from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas with a degree in
History. But after graduating, he moved to Crystal Beach, Texas where
he often performed his own songs at local bars.
Carll then moved to Austin, and from there he returned
home to The Woodlands. After developing an impressive following, he
signed a one-record contract with Compadre Records, releasing his debut
album, Flowers and Liquor, in 2002.
His second album, Little Rock, was released under his own
label, Highway 87 Records. This became the first self-released album
to reach No. 1 on the Americana music charts. By May 2006, he had signed
with Lost Highway Records.
Carlls impressive career doesnt end there. He has penned
songs with Ray Wylie Hubbard, Guy Clark, Bobby Bare Jr. and Darrell
Scott. He was presented with an Americana Music Award in 2008.
5 p.m.: Gates and Folk Art Village open
6 p.m.: Carolyn Martin
8 p.m.: Searson
10 p.m.: The Band of Heathens
11 a.m.: Gates and Folk Art Village open
Noon: Songwriters Joe Crookston with Peter
1 p.m.: Jam Session
1 p.m.: Joe Crookston with Peter Glanville
2-6 p.m.: Rivers Institute Traveling Exhibit opens
2:30 p.m.: Jim Cruise, a.k.a. The Spoonman (in the
3 p.m.: Roosevelt Dime
4:30 p.m.: Jim Cruise (Storyteller Tent)
5 p.m.: Charlie Parr
6:30 p.m.: Jim Cruise (Storyteller Tent)
7 p.m.: Over the Rhine
8:30 p.m.: Jim Cruise (Storyteller Tent)
9 p.m.: Hayes Carll
12:30 p.m.: Appalatin
1:45 p.m.: Michael Kelsey
3 p.m.: Whiskey Bent Valley Boys
4:30 p.m.: The Black Lillies
Wristbands: $25 entire weekend; $15 Friday; $20 Saturday;
$10 Sunday. Available online at www.RiverRoots.org
or by calling (812) 265-2956 or 1-800-559-2956.
In January 2011, Carll released KMAG YOYO (&
other American stories). The Americana Music Association announced
that this was the No. 1 most played Americana album for last year.
Performers for RiverRoots were selected in a variety of ways, including
word-of-mouth, a five-person committee and through the Folk Alliance,
said the festivals event coordinator Greg Ziesemer.
The festival has undergone a name change since last year, when it was
previously known as the Ohio River Valley Folk Festival. Ziesemer said
the name change was due to a variety of reasons. The original title
was a mouthful of words. I wanted to be more succinct, he
When you say RiverFest, its one word and people
immediately know what it stands for. This was the concept he was
going for with the name change to the RiverRoots Festival. He kept the
word river because thats where we do it, near the Ohio River.
Ziesemer also felt that the term folk music was not
really accurate with what we do; its only a part of it. Roots
music is the contemporary term for folk music. Theres a
lot of diversity now. Were doing so much more progressive and
Carll is a rising star
from Woodlands, Texas.
This will be Ziesemers first full official year
as the event coordinator. A musician himself, he took over midway last
year after festival founder and chairman John Walburn died, leaving
behind some big shoes to fill, said Ziesemer. When someone
gave him the advice to make your own shoes, Ziesemer decided
to give it a try. I want to honor the original founders.
He was actually nominated for the job. I didnt volunteer,
he said. It never occurred to me to take this job in the first
place. People on the selection committee and in the community came to
me and asked me to do it.
Ziesemer said it has been a real challenge to organize what he labeled
a multi-dimensional cultural event. For anyone who has never
been to the RiverRoots Festival, Ziesemer summed it up as a family-friendly
event with three days of music comprised of a variety of styles and
genres. Its a diverse festival, he said. A folk craft
village, storytelling, music workshops and demonstrators lend an air
of educational experience to the event.
New to this years festival will be an increased and improved sound
system. A family-friendly arts and crafts tent will be set up where
children can make crafts. The event will include a celebration of the
ancient art of craft brew making and a microbrewery competition.
think organizers have the intuition to put their finger
on the pulse of what is happening in modern music."
Festival Coordinator Greg Ziesemer
Donnie Clapham and Nick Ellis are organizing a microbrewery
competition for the festival. This will be the first time for the RiverRoots
Brew-Off competition, even though weve always had microbreweries
there, said Clapham. The competition will take place May 20 and
is restricted to non-commercial brewers.
He said the competition was brought in to accompany the craft beer part
of the festival and also aided in the celebration of American Craft
Beer Week, May 14-20. Five craft breweries will be represented.
Clapham got into craft beer brewing three years ago because it was always
on my list of things to do when I retired, he said. Clapham retired
from the post office and got actively involved. His brother
used to make craft beer.
Craft beer differs in its taste and has a fuller flavor. Its a
lot more diverse than regular store-bought beers, said Clapham.
What barbecue is to (Madison) Ribberfest, the craft brew is to
RiverRoots, said Ziesemer, referring to the citys mid-August
blues festival. Organizers hope to some day have a sanctioned home brewers
competition. Judging will be done according to BJCP Style Guidelines
and will be based on four categories: English IPA, American IPA, Imperial
IPA and Specialty IPA. Ribbons will be presented for the Best of Show
and announced on stage before the final performances by the Black Lillies
at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.
A home brew demonstration will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday next to
the beer tent. The demonstration will be given by local brewer Ryan
Heath and his father, Dave. Theyre serious about home brew,
said Clapham. The Heaths and Clapham are both members of the Fossils,
a local home brew club. Members from this club will judge the competition.
Over the Rhine
consists of singers
and Karin Bergquist.
The couple has been
married for 15 years
and has toured
together for more
than 20 years.
Future goals for the festival will be considered after
we make sure this one goes off well, said Ziesemer. A committee
meeting will be held in June to discuss the festival. Ziesemer said
he is possibly considering adding a small second stage for local
and regional artists.
The RiverRoots Festival became incorporated as a 501(c)(3) corporation
this year. This will provide organizers with more opportunities to apply
Currently, the festival is funded primarily by corporate sponsors. Additional
funding comes from generous donations and membership in the Ohio Valley
Folk Society. Membership is incredibly important, Ziesemer
Additional income to meet annual festival expenses comes from the sale
of wristbands and a percentage of food and beer sales. Ziesemer would
like to have extra funding to incorporate a naturalist or nature-oriented
things into the 2013 festival.
The festivals strength is in the musical lineup, that includes top
quality talent, he said. Ziesemer said he wants the festival to
be remembered as one with foresight when it comes to band selection.
He said he thinks organizers have the intuition to put their finger
on the pulse of what is happening in modern music.
He said the RiverRoots Festival committee works with about 200 volunteers
throughout the weekend of the festival. Volunteers do a variety of jobs
including watching the gate, selling T-shirts to working the beer tents.
When it comes to the weekend lineup, Ziesemer said, Were
very privileged and excited to have Hayes Carll and also Over the Rhine.
Theyre an iconic-based band from Cincinnati.
band, Searson, is made up
of three sisters from Ontario,
Canada Erin, Heather
and Colleen Searson.
Ziesemer and his wife, Kris Luckett, perform throughout
the region as a musical duo but will not be performing at this years
festival. Ziesemer doesnt think it appropriate that we perform
since Im running the event this year. There are plenty of other
great people to showcase.
One of these acts will be The Band of Heathens, the Friday night headliner
band that will play at 10 p.m. Theyre one of the secret
surprises, Ziesemer said.
The Black Lillies, who will perform Sunday afternoon, are awesome,
he said. I saw them perform in Memphis.
Ziesemer wants the festival to be known as the place where it all began.
Years from now, when a band has made it big, you can look back and say,
I saw them at the RiverRoots festival, he said.
He cited the Carolina Chocolate Drops, an African American String Band,
as a great example of what direction hed like the festival to
go in. When they were brought to the festival, the band was a crowd
favorite in 2009. The following year the band won a Grammy award.
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