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Getting Their Groove On

RiverRoots Festival Committee
kicks off winter Music Series

The series helps to promote the summer music festival

RiverRoots Music Series

• Jan. 27: The Tillers with Maria Carrelli. At Red Bicycle Hall.
• Feb. 3: Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill Hustle. Plus the 2018 RiverRoots Festival Lineup Announcment. At Red Bicycle Hall.
• March 11: Fairfield Four. At Hanover College’s Fitzgibbon Recital Hall.
• April 14: Ray Wylie Hubbard with Frankie Lee. At Red Bicycle Hall
• May 12: Michael Kelsey. At Thomas Family Winery
• Information and tickets: Visit www.Riverroots.org

(January 2018) – The team that puts together the popular RiverRoots Music and Folk Art Festival decided that its goal was more than to give Madison, Ind., a great annual music festival. Committee members wanted to make Madison a music destination, so four years ago, the RiverRoots Music Series was created.
“Any time you can promote something yearlong for a weekend event, it drives excitement for the event,” said RiverRoots coordinator Dan Williams. “That is what the music series does.”
“Being part of the festival for so long takes a lot of effort from a lot of people,” said Music Series coordinator Tony Novello. “Then, when the festival is over, it is a bit anti-climatic. We created the Music Series to continue to create the scene of roots and folk music here in Madison.”
The RiverRoots festival committee will kick off its 2018 winter Music Series on Jan. 27 by featuring The Tillers with Maria Carrelli at Red Bicycle Hall, 125 E. Main St. in Madison. The committee will also hold its band announcement party for the June 8-9 festival with the Feb. 3 concert, featuring Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill Hustle. This year’s RiverRoots festival has been moved from mid-May to early June for the first time.
The Music Series offers a blend of folk, rock, jazz and fusion styles of music. It is often a mishmash of whatever people want to hear. The Music Series committee is comprised of Williams, Novello and Kevin Watkins.
The Music Series started with a few shows the day before the festival and has grown into an entire series.
“We had a few shows before the festival, and it has grown bigger and better,” said Novello.

Photo provided

The Tillers, a Cincinnati-based group, is scheduled to perform Jan. 27 in Madison, Ind., as the kickoff band for the 2018 RiverRoots Music Series. The group includes Mike Oberst, Sean Geil, Aaron Geil and Joe Macheret.

The first extra shows were Thursday night opening concerts, first on the Madison hilltop and then at the festival grounds. Sometimes, there was an after-festival concert at the Red Bicycle Hall.
“Since we are moving the festival to a June date in 2018, we will have shows from January through May,” Novello added. “We will have five shows in Madison at several different venues, but also an out of town show in Louisville or Cincinnati.”
The first show will be at Red Bicycle Hall featuring The Tillers with Maria Carrelli, who is from Cincinnati.
“She is a young up and coming singer-songwriter,” said Novello. “She is a great picker and has a beautiful voice. She can sing a beautiful song but also pick down with the best of them. The Tillers have been here many times before.”
Novello and Williams know the musical venues all across Madison.
“If you look at places like the Thomas Family Winery and Off-Broadway Tap Room that offer live music, you see the people feed off it,” said Novello. “All boats rise with the rising tide. The idea is to make Madison a music destination, where people not only come to hear great music, but also to inspire kids to pick up an instrument and learn to play and create music.”
Last year, the Music Series included three workshops with grant money featuring The Accidentals, Darrell Scott and Ben Sollee.
“This is our second year to receive a grant from the Indiana Arts Commission,” said Novello. “It gives us inspiration and an opportunity for education. That is what we are trying to do.”
The group tries to keep prices as affordable as possible.
 “We are able to do that because we have great sponsors,” said Novello. “Prices are generally $10-$15. It is very affordable. People would usually pay a lot more if they go out of town to hear the same acts.”
Sometimes, the Music Series shows act as a trial run for acts that may end up being scheduled to play the festival.
“That is often the case,” said Novello. “We are still working on a show where that may happen.

Photo provided

Maria Carrelli is a country and folk musician residing in Cincinnati. Her music is heavily influenced by old bluegrass standards and country music.

The Music Series is really a proving ground. Each year we have had bands that have played at both the festival and the series.”
There will be a date change for the festival this year. The event has usually been held in late May but is moving to June 8-9 for 2018.
“We are excited about the date,” said Williams. “More people will have opportunity to come because school will be out. The music committee is working hard on a great lineup. We have Buffalo Wabs and Price Hill Hustle coming for the lineup announcement party. They were great at the festival.”
“We do have some bands play the festival after being at the Music Series,” said Williams. “It is a vehicle, if we find we have someone the people love, we bring them back to the festival. If people like them we definitely bring them back to Madison.”
The people of Madison make the town a good place for a music destination.
“The thing that makes Madison special is that there are plenty of people who come out and support music,” said Williams. “And the bands enjoy coming here because we do have a beautiful downtown, and there are so many things to do here.”
“We want to thank everyone for the tremendous support that has helped make this such a good series,” said Novello. “This line up is very eclectic. It encompasses a lot of different sub-genre, such as under roots is bluegrasses, blues country folk and Gospel. And each of those have sub genres of their own. It is so hard to pinpoint some bands as to what their genre is.”
 “We couldn’t do this without the hundreds of volunteer hours for the Music Series and the festival,” said Novello. “It surprises me when I see people wanting to help and do it for nothing.
Our grants committee worked really hard to secure grants.
“We are proud of them to fund our educational outreach,” he continued. “We couldn’t’ do that without the grant. It improves the quality of life here. Without these types of things, things like America’s best community awards wouldn’t happen.”

• Tickets for the RiverRoots Music and Folk Art Festival and the committee’s Music Series are available online at www.RiverRoots.org and at the door.

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