The 2021 Bishop Hill Chautauqua will start off on Saturday August 28 at 1 p.m. in the park with Bucky Halker performing the songs of Joe Hill.  Joe Hill (October 7, 1879 – November 19, 1915) was a Swedish-American labor activist, songwriter, and member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, familiarly called the “Wobblies”). His most famous songs include “The Preacher and the Slave” (in which he coined the phrase “pie in the sky”),”The Tramp”, “There Is Power in a Union”, “The Rebel Girl”, and “Casey Jones—the Union Scab”, which express the harsh and combative life of itinerant workers, and call for workers to organize their efforts to improve working conditions.

Bucky Halker is a songwriter, performer, and historian with 15 albums to his credit, including Anywhere But Utah: Songs of Joe Hill (2015), a musical tribute to martyred labor songwriter Joe Hill (1879-1915), and The Ghost of Woody Guthrie (2012), an original music tribute to the legendary folksinger. Halker, a Ph.D. in American History, has lectured and published extensively on music in America and has toured Europe regularly since 1990. He is the author of For Democracy, Workers, and God: Labor Song-Poems and Labor Protest, 1865-1895 (University of Illinois Press) and the scholar-producer for the five-volume Folksongs of Illinois CD series. Bucky received the prestigious Archie Green Fellowship from the Library of Congress – American Folklife Center in 2012.

For more information about this year’s Chautauqua, call 309 927-3899 or email  This festival is free so please bring your lawn chair and enjoy the show!