RiverRoots Music Series

RiverRoots Festival Committee
keeps the music going in winter

Music Series brings The Accidentals
to Madison in January

(January 2017) – The RiverRoots Music and Folk Arts Festival committee is hard at work organizing the May festival and the third season of the winter-long RiverRoots Music Series, held at the Red Bicycle Hall, 125 E. Main St. in Madison, Ind. Part of the work being done organizing the Music Series is to keep roots music alive in Madison year-round, organizers say.

RiverRoots Music Series

• Jan. 7: The Accidentals
• Feb. 11: Festival Lineup Announce-ment Party featuring the band Run Boy Run
• March 24: Darrell Scott
• April TBA: Concert to be held at the Ohio Theatre
• All concerts (except April) begin at 8 p.m. at Red Bicycle Hall, 125 E. Main St., Madison, Ind.
• Information: Visit www.RiverRoots.org

“The genesis of the music series is that we really want Madison to be a music destination,” said Tony Novello, RiverRoots committee member and schedule coordinator for the music series. “Kids here are learning to play music. We want to inspire them to pick up an instrument and learn. This starts with a focus on workshops and youth.”
This focus on music for children is because education is a key element in the mission of RiverRoots and the Ohio River Valley Folk Society. The music series is sponsored by an educational grant from the Indiana Arts commission.
“We will soon be seeing opening acts who will be younger and who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to open for national touring acts,” Novello said.
Some of the music series performances go beyond performance to offer workshops for local youth and musicians. One even offers square dance instruction.
The Accidentals, a band from Traverse City, Mich., is scheduled to play the music series on Jan. 7. They will also do workshops for kids during the day.
“They are a really young band. They are in the Indie folk rock style and extremely talented,” said Novello.

Photo by John Sheckler

Tony Novello, second from left, addresses the crowd during a concert last year at Red Bicycle Hall featuring The Tillers (standing behind him).

At the Feb. 11 Festival Lineup Announcement Party, RiverRoots veteran band Run Boy Run will include square dancing as part of its show. They will offer instruction for beginners.
“It will be a great hoe down,” said Novello.
On March 24, Nashville, Tenn., singer-songwriter Darrell Scott will conduct workshops with Hanover College students prior to his concert that evening.
The April show has not yet been scheduled but organizers plan to hold that event at the Ohio Theatre, Novello said.
This year’s music series runs from December to April. “It was originally designed to be an extension of the festival, but we wanted something more year-round,” Novello said. “None of this could be done without the Ohio Valley Folk Society and the RiverRoots committee.”
The society is a membership group that was formed several years ago as a nonprofit, fundraising arm of the festival and has as its mission an educational element to promoting music among youth.
The first show of the music series was held Dec. 16 and featured singer-songwriter Derek Spencer of Lexington, Ky. Tim Delonjay with Nick Ditmeier of Louisville also performed. Rounding out the evening was folk and mountain group, the Local Homeys, from Morehead, Ky.
“We plan to start doing smaller shows around town at places like Thomas Family Winery and the Off Broadway Tap Room,” Novello said.
For instance, another RiverRoots favorite from the past, Joe Crookston, is scheduled to perform at the historic church at Poplar Place on April 9.
“He is very popular here and will help spread the word about the festival and the music series,” Novello added. “Smaller events will give us a lot more exposure. There is a lot more to come and will be posted in social media.”

Photo by John Sheckler

The band Run Boy Run performs last year at the Red Bicycle Hall. They return in February for another show.

The RiverRoots Music and Folk Art Festival is under new leadership this year. Dan Williams of Cincinnati was hired last fall to replace Greg Ziesemer as the coordinator. He has experience running the Whispering Beard Festival in Friendship, Ind., just north of Madison. Williams also has been the campground director for the past few years at RiverRoots.
“The committee is working very hard to make subtle changes to enhance the customer experience,” said Williams, who also works as a band booking agent. “The most important thing I want to get across is that any changes that are made are with the best interest of the customer.”
Williams says he sees the music series as an important part of RiverRoots. “The music series will continue with a focus on bringing in great acts throughout the year, culminating in the festival the third weekend in May. The festival has been and will continue to grow. We will focus on great acts that fit Madison and continue working on a great weekend experience throughout the festival and Madison.”
RiverRoots and the Red Bicycle Hall have many partners in the mission to make Madison a music destination. VisitMadison Inc., the tourism office, is the umbrella organization overseeing RiverRoots as well as the Madison Ribberfest in August and the Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art in late September. RiverRoots is considered the season opener for festivals in Madison.
“I am so excited to work with a great group of volunteers who call Madison home,” said Williams. “We will continue to strive for a great family friendly environment for all ages. The volunteers spend endless hours making RiverRoots a premier national festival. Their focus and attention to detail is second to none.”

In addition to the Indiana Arts Commission, other sponsors of the RiverRoots Music Series are Shawn and Kim Auxier, Craig Toyota, Jane Vonderheide, Security Insurance, FC Tucker-Scott Lynch Group Real Estate, Dr. David Butler DDS, and Steinhardt Heating and Cooling.

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