Ellnora: Internationally-recognized guitar festival announces lineup


Legendary Louisiana-born bluesman Buddy Guy took the stage at ELLNORA in 2013 at the Krannert Center.

By Camille Murray

Three days. Seven locations. Twenty-nine performances.

This is what music-lovers have to look forward to at the 2015 ELLNORA Music Festival. The annual event will be held Sept. 10 through Sept. 12 at the Krannert Center. This year’s list of scheduled performers was announced Monday.

The festival began in 2005 with the goal of creating an accessible experience where people could come together and celebrate musical traditions from all over the world, said Bridget Lee-Calfas, advertising and publicity director for the Krannert Center. Lee-Calfas said the center is expecting about 12,000 people to attend the festival over the three-day period.

“It’s a really wonderful mix of University students, community members, faculty and staff,” she said. “We also have people traveling. I know we’ve had groups far as Canada that come in tours, and certainly people from throughout the Midwest. And of course we attract a lot of media attention throughout the nation.”

This year’s lineup includes a wide range of guitar artists and bands, such as Rodrigo y Gabriela, Punch Brothers, Los Lobos, Dan Zanes and Drive-By Truckers. The diverse pool of artists hail from countries across the globe, including Mali, China, Spain, Mexico, India and Palestine.

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    “We’re looking for variety in our artists,” Lee-Calfas said. “We’re looking for quality, looking to represent a really global perspective, and so we seek out artists who fulfill those strategic goals.”

    Several of this year’s performers have also been involved in the festival previously.

    The event also typically features an artist-in-residence, which this year is triple-Grammy-award-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin. Isbin will also be participating in a Q and A session as a part of a scheduled pre-festival event to be held the night before ELLNORA begins.

    The concerts are held during both daytime and night hours throughout each of the event’s main performance dates.

    Alleya Weibel, sophomore in FAA, attended the festival last year and plans to go again in September.

    “I think the best part is the combination of getting extremely incredible performers and then combining it with multimedia,” Weibel said. “They do a lot of outdoor visual concerts with lights and science stuff and videos and have people musically narrate silent films. It’s just an overall encompassing experience.”

    The ELLNORA Festival, originally called the “Wall to Wall Guitar Festival,” was renamed in 2009 to honor Ellnora Krannert, who founded the University’s Krannert Center for Performing Arts with her husband.

    “We really wanted to come up with a name that was more distinctive and really felt closer to home for us,” Lee-Calfas said.

    Lee-Calfas said the renaming of the festival also ties in with another one of the event’s purposes: highlighting female talent in the guitar industry.

    “So often, especially in the guitar world, women are underrepresented in these festivals,” she said. “And so we really think of ELLNORA as a platform to celebrate some of the world’s greatest female guitarists.”

    Tickets for the festival will go on sale at 10 a.m. on Aug. 15. The prices vary by individual and performance, but discounts are offered for University students. Roughly half of the scheduled performances will have free entry.

    “It’s just a lot of variety,” Lee-Calfas said. “I think no matter what type of music you like, there’s something in this festival for you.”

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