The University of Chicago Folk Festival | Music Sidebar | Chicago Reader

The University of Chicago Folk Festival 

A Bo Diddley sideman, heirs of Cajun royalty, and more

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Billy Boy Arnold

Billy Boy Arnold

Trey Guinn

The University of Chicago Folk Festival celebrates its 52nd year this weekend. Mandel Hall hosts three evenings of folk, blues, Cajun, and gospel acts, including Bo Diddley harmonica player Billy Boy Arnold (Fri 2/10, Sun 2/12), bluegrass favorites Tony Holt & the Wildwood Valley Boys (Sat 2/11, Sun 2/12), and heirs of Cajun royalty Bonsoir, Catin (Fri 2/10, Sat 2/11). Each concert will begin with traditional bagpipe music by local piper Terry Oldfield; all the other acts play on two of the three nights. Performances start at 8 PM on Fri 2/10, 7:30 PM on Sat 2/11, and 6 PM on Sun 2/12. On Sat 2/11 and Sun 2/12, Ida Noyes Hall hosts free daytime workshops (starting at 10:30 AM on Saturday and 11 AM on Sunday) that cover subjects including bhangra dancing, shape-note singing, old-timey fiddle, and jug-band music. A pass for all three days costs $55, $45 for seniors. Daily tickets are available for $25 (Friday and Saturday) or $20 (Sunday), with discounts for seniors and students. For complete listings, see Fairs & Festivals by day, call 773-702-7300, or visit


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