The 53rd annual University of Chicago Folk Festival 

Blues-guitar scion Elmore James Jr., bluegrass greats Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass, and more

Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass

Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass

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This weekend the University of Chicago Folk Festival returns in its 53rd incarnation, with two full days of workshops and three evening concerts featuring a total of eight diverse acts. Each act will play on two of the three nights, and some of them—including Elmore James Jr., son of the late blues-guitar legend, and bluegrass greats Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass—are top-shelf quality. The order of each concert's five sets hadn't been finalized at press time, but among the other musicians are Irish folk duo Daithi Sproule & James Kelly, southern- and Appalachian-style string band the Reed Island Rounders, Cajun accordionist Sheryl Cormier, and gospel group the Evening Light Brothers. The concerts run Friday through Sunday in Mandel Hall, and in accordance with tradition every night begins with a bit of music by local bagpiper Terry Oldfield. Ida Noyes Hall hosts Saturday and Sunday's workshops and classes, whose subjects include harmony singing, banjo styles, Cajun dance, backup guitar, blues history, and beginning harmonica. Friday and Saturday tickets go for $25, $20 for seniors, and Sunday's are $20, $15 for seniors; all single-day tickets cost $10 for students. A pass good for all three evening concerts sells for $55, $45 for seniors. For lineups and more info, see Fairs & Festivals listings by day, call 773-702-7300, or visit

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