The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

ELLNORA day 2 finishes strong

James Hoeck
North Mississippi Allstars guitarist Luther Dickinson and special guest performer Bobby Rush two time Grammy winner Bobby Lee on the last day of ELLNORA Guitar Festival Saturday.

The second day of the biennial ELLNORA guitar festival lit up Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday. Over a dozen guitarists took to the stages to finish out a weekend of music.

Carolyn Petersen, a longtime resident of Champaign and a frequent patron of ELLNORA, said the festival is awesome.

“I love the variety of all the performers, they’re all such virtuosos,” Petersen said. “It’s just nice that there’s this kind of music in central Illinois, and it’s easy to access and a lot of variety.” 

The performances kicked off with Sharon Isbin and the Pacifica Quartet, who played in the Foellinger Great Hall at 11:00 a.m. The quartet, who were formerly on the faculty of the University of Illinois in the 2000s and early 2010s, were complemented by Isbin as a solo guitarist.

Yamandu Costa took to Krannert Center’s Stage 5 at 12:30 p.m. with his seven-string guitar playing, followed by a presentation from Malina Moye at the Studio Theatre at 1:30 p.m. 

Celebrated jazz bassist Ron Carter took to the Foellinger Great Hall stage at 2:00 p.m. with pianist Donald Vega for a duo set. The performance was intended to be a trio with guitarist Russell Malone, but ELLNORA organizers announced before the performance that Malone would be unable to perform due to “unavoidable travel issues.”

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    Ani DiFranco lit up a full Tryon Festival Theatre at 4:00 p.m. The Grammy-winning folk artist played a variety of newer tunes as well as some of her hits from the 90s, all to huge reactions from the crowd.

    “You guys are lively for the middle of the afternoon,” DiFranco joked as the crowd laughed and cheered.

    The front two rows of the theater, intentionally left empty, were quickly filled as DiFranco invited her audience to get closer throughout the set. 

    A double bill followed this performance at Stage 5 at 5:00 p.m. consisting of guitarists Jake Eddy and Tosin Abasi. The bluegrass player and metal guitarist showed the diverse range of genres taking the stage at ELLNORA. 

    Yasmin Williams and William Tyler played on Stage 5 at 6:30 p.m. to perform some individual tunes along with a few duets. 

    Andy Summers was next to perform at the Foellinger Great Hall at 8:00 p.m. The performance felt very intimate despite being set in a large concert hall, with each song being preceded by a humorous anecdote about its origins. 

    The multi-Grammy winning artist showcased his command over a diverse range of musical styles and genres in his set. 

    Songs such as “Metal Dog” had prog-rock and psych-rock undertones, while a beautiful cover of Thelonious Monk’s “Round Midnight” had the stylings of modern jazz. There was also a flamenco number inspired by his travels in Spain.

    The set was closed out by the fan-favorite song “Roxanne,” and the theme song of French arthouse film “Black Orpheus.” Summers also showcased his other creative works, such as his books, documentaries and photography.

    Emmylou Harris took to the stage of a sold-out Tryon Festival Theatre at 9:30 p.m. to play some of her greatest hits. The legendary singer-songwriter has a discography spanning almost 50 years, and she was just as enthusiastic about performing songs from it as ever.

    Her angelic voice coupled with heart-wrenching lyrics enthralled the audience for the entirety of the set. She played songs both new and old, across a wide range of genres.

    Harris performed a stunning rendition of one of her earliest records, “Boulder to Birmingham” as an encore, much to the jubilation of the crowd.

    The evening came to a close with a final free performance from brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson, better known as North Mississippi Allstars. The band took to Stage 5 at 10:30 p.m. for the last performance of ELLNORA’s 2023 festival.


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    About the Contributors
    Maaike Niekerk, Assistant buzz Editor
    My name is Maaike Niekerk, and I am a sophomore majoring in English with minors in music and journalism. I began working for The Daily Illini last year as a staff writer for the buzz section. As a Champaign local, I spent the past summer working as an editor here on campus before moving my current position of assistant buzz editor. I love bringing live event coverage to you from Champaign-Urbana’s vibrant music scene and sharing stories of local artists and musicians. Outside of The Daily Illini, you’ll find me performing at every football game with the Marching Illini (the best band in the land) or running for the University’s club track team.
    James Hoeck, Photo Editor
    Heyo! I am James Hoeck, a third-year undergraduate student in photography with a minor in media. I have been a part of Illini Media for two years, starting back in fall 2021. I hold the position of Photo Editor here at The Daily Illini. I also work as Photo Editor for Illini Media’s Illio Yearbook. There is a good chance you will see me out and about on campus taking photos for my personal work or for The DI and/or Illio! If you want to check out more of my work, visit my socials linked below.