Bishop Hill’s Midsommar Music Festival will return Saturday, June 18th with a strong line-up of musical performers. Highlights of this all-day event include Main Stage performances, a Swedish Maypole celebration, fundraisers, and an Old-Fashioned Barn Dance.

The free Main Stage performances in the village park gazebo will begin at 11:00 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. This year’s lineup includes the Big River Reeltime Band, Tim Ellis, Jazz on the Side, Hammer & Pick, and Black Hawk Pipes and Drums. 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 where visitors can join in the Maypole dancing and have refreshments provided by the Bishop Hill Vasa Lodge. Later that evening, there will be a barn dance at the Colony School with The Rusty Pickup String Band and caller Gail Hintze. Admission to the barn dance is $5 per person.

Two fundraisers will also be occurring during Midsommar. The Henry County Historical Society will be serving ice cream cones in the park from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Money from the ice cream sales will be used to support the Henry County Museum. The BHHA will be serving homemade rhubarb baked goods, with coffee and lemonade, at the Steeple Building Museum front porch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Proceeds from this fundraiser will be used to support BHHA activities.

Finally, the Hälsingland exhibition opens at the Steeple Building Museum this Saturday. In 1846, the Bishop Hill Colonists came from five provinces north of Stockholm. The province of Hälsingland provided the largest population that left their homeland for the Bishop Hill Colony. This new exhibition, entitled Hälsingland: Today and Yesterday, describes the history and culture of this province.   Life size images of a few of those brave Hälsingland Colonists will greet visitors as they enter the Steeple Building Museum.  In the Yesterday room, Life from the early Bishop Hill Colony days is exhibited, as well as the Gold Rush participation. The Today room of the exhibition shows guests what crafts are still active in Hälsingland.

The Midsommar Music Festival is sponsored by the Bishop Hill Arts Council, co-sponsored by the Bishop Hill Heritage Association, Bishop Hill State Historic Site, Bishop Hill Old Settler’s Association, Bishop Hill Vasa Lodge #683, and area businesses. This project is supported by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation and with Quad City Arts Dollar$ funds, provided by Hubbell-Waterman Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, and John Deere. Donations are welcome. For directions and more info, call 309-927-3899 or email

Performers’ schedule is below:

Schedule for the day includes the following on the Main Stage in the center of the park in front of the gazebo:


Tim Ellis 11:00 a.m.

Black Hawk Pipes & Drums 11:30 a.m.

Hammer & Pick 1 pm

Jazz on the Side 2 pm

Big River Reeltime Band 3 pm

***Maypole dressing begins at 4 pm and procession to the Colony School begins just after it is dressed.

Barn Dance at the Colony School with The Rusty Pickup String Band – 7 pm. All dances called and taught by veteran caller Ms. Gail Hintze. No experience needed. Admission to the dance is $5 per person.