The University of Chicago Folk Festival: bluegrass fiddler Bobby Hicks, ragtime guitarist Ari Eisenger, and more | Music Sidebar | Chicago Reader

The University of Chicago Folk Festival: bluegrass fiddler Bobby Hicks, ragtime guitarist Ari Eisenger, and more 

The 1960s folk revival lives on in this venerable Hyde Park institution, now in its 54th year.

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Bobby Hicks

Bobby Hicks

Courtesy the artist

The 54th annual University of Chicago Folk Festival comes to the school's Mandel Hall and Ida Noyes Hall this weekend with three days of live music, workshops, lessons, dances, folk jams, storytelling sessions, and more. The concerts, which take place in Mandel Hall, are on the nights of Fri 2/14, Sat 2/15, and Sun 2/16.

Of the eight acts, most play two sets at two different shows; the best-known names include ten-time Grammy-­winning bluegrass fiddler Bobby Hicks, who performs on Friday and Saturday nights, and "old-time supergroup" Bigfoot, which appears Saturday and Sunday. Chicago-based Irish tenor Paddy Homan performs Friday and Sunday (accompanied by guitarist Dennis Cahill and fiddler Teresa Shine), and ragtime guitar master Ari Eisenger has sets on Saturday and Sunday; local gospel staple Calvin Bridges breaks from the usual pattern to play just one set, on Sunday night. The fest also has two free daytime sessions—including workshops, jams, and lessons—held at Ida Noyes Hall on Saturday and Sunday.

The festival is all ages, and tickets to the shows cost $25 for Friday and Saturday and $20 for Sunday. There's a $5 discount for seniors, and students are welcome for $10. A weekend pass costs $55 ($45 for seniors). You can buy tickets at the Mandel Hall box office, online, by phone, or even by mail.

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