Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots Festival and Stephen Wade on music and community


When Brenda Koenig founded the Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots festival, she wanted to inspire a place where people could dance, tell stories and enjoy the rich tradition sense of community that she says folk music creates. As a folk musician and fiddler herself, she says appreciating how the audience is enjoying the music, not being “the musician” in the spotlight is vital to performing folk music. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Koenig about why she and 80 volunteers put in the work to organize the festival. We’ll also hear from Matt Winters, a member of the C-U Folk and Roots Festival’s steering committee, about what’s new this year at the festival.

Then, during the second half of this hour on Focus, we’ll check in with author, banjo player and music researcher Stephen Wade. Wade is author of the book “The Beautiful Music All Around Us,” which documents the contributions to folk music made by everyday people – from prisoners to housewives to farm laborers. Meadows talks with Wade about going back to the communities where he did his research for the book. We’ll also hear a few banjo tunes and talk with Wade about why he’s dedicated his life to folk music.

Are you a folk music fan? What do you like about it? Maybe you’re a volunteer for the festival, why do you dedicate your time? Post a comment in the comments section below or find us on Facebook.