Bishop Hill’s Midsommar Music Festival will return Saturday, June 26th with a strong line-up of musical performers. In Sweden, Midsommar is one of the most important days of the year, rivaling Christmas with its festive spirit and traditions. Bishop Hill honors its Swedish roots by hosting its own Midsommar celebration. Highlights of this all-day event include Park Concerts, a Swedish Maypole Celebration, and a Fiddle Workshop. Enjoy a day in Bishop Hill as the village celebrates its 175th Anniversary this year.
The free concerts in the village park gazebo will begin at 11 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. This year’s lineup includes Black Hawk Pipes and Drums, Hammer & Pick, Jazz on the Side, and Chris Vallillo. Performing on six-string and bottleneck slide guitars and harmonica, Vallillo weaves original, contemporary, and traditional songs and narratives into a compelling and entertaining portrait of the history and lifestyles of the Midwest. In 2016, his latest show and recording, Oh Freedom! Songs of the Civil Rights Movement charted at # 6 on the folk charts.
Immediately following the Main Stage performances, everyone is invited to decorate the Maypole with flowers and to join the procession. Accordionist Ernie Sandquist will lead the Maypole procession. It will begin in the park and end at the Colony School. After the parade, please join in on some Midsommar ring dancing.
At approximately 4:30 p.m., learn a Swedish tune and a couple old-time tunes from fiddler Claudia Kaufman and her husband, banjo player Gary Kaufman, at the Midsommar Fiddle Workshop and Jam. In fair weather, the workshop will convene outside the Colony School; rain will send us inside the building where we will adhere to Covid safety protocols. There will be a workshop fee of $10, which will be collected at the workshop. The tunes will all be taught by ear. At the close of the workshop, Claudia and Gary will lead an old-time jam. Bring your guitar, fiddle, ukulele, or other instrument of choice. Anyone can join the group to share tunes and traditions of old-time music. The one-hour free jam begins at approximately 5:30 p.m. Listeners are welcome.
The Vasa National Archives, a short block from the park, will be offering a Midsummer Respite featuring drinks, snacks, and a make and take clay station. The public is welcome to view exhibits, enjoy some light refreshments, and make a clay sculpture to take home with you. The Vasa National Archives will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Midsommar Music Festival is sponsored by the Bishop Hill Arts Council, Bishop Hill Heritage Association, Bishop Hill State Historic Site, Bishop Hill Old Settler’s Association, Bishop Hill Vasa Lodge #683, and area businesses. Partial funding for this festival is provided by the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency, and the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation. We strongly encourage social distancing. Masks are not required for the outdoor activities. For directions and more information, visit www.visitbishophill.com, call 309-927-3899, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.