Visitors to Oklahoma City during September have the opportunity to experience the ultimate weekend of Pickin’ and Grinnin’ September 7th – 9th. The focus of the banjo world will be on Oklahoma City as the American Banjo Museum honors the 2017 inductees into the American Banjo Hall of Fame with three days of concerts, informal performances, parties, jams and other musical events called BANJO FEST!
“Every year we strive to bring together and honor banjo’s best of the best from both the past and the present,” said Johnny Baier, executive director, American Banjo Museum. “Each of this year’s Hall of Fame honorees has displayed a lifelong commitment to the banjo and changed the way the public sees and hears America’s instrument.” 2017 inductees include Nitty Gritty Dirt Band founding member, John McEuen; new age tenor banjo pioneer, Paul Erickson; “Super Picker” star of Hee Haw, Roy Clark; 1840s pioneer banjo star, Joel Walker Sweeney and contemporary roots music icon, Tony Trischka.
BANJO FEST weekend festivities begin with a reception beginning at 6PM on Thursday, September 7th at the American Banjo Museum, 9 East Sheridan, in the heart of Bricktown. The evening will feature live music - including a very special performance by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band founder, John McEuen, as well as the presentation of the American Banjo Museum Awards of Excellence.
Visitors are invited to attend the American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame ceremonies taking place on Friday, September 8th at VAST located in Devon Tower. This formal event is open to the public and will include a reception, dinner and the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. Musical performances by honorees John McEuen, Paul Erickson and Tony Trischka along with other celebrity guests will highlight the night. Along with the Hall of Fame inductions, the annual Jack Canine Award will be presented to internationally known banjo collector Jim Bollman. Canine, a major benefactor of the museum, chose this year’s recipient based on Bollman’s decades-long commitment to the preservation of the banjo’s colorful history.
The festival continues Saturday, September 9th at noon, at the American Banjo Museum with performances by new HOF inductee, Paul Erickson, and four-time national banjo champion, Gary “Biscuit” Davis, as well as an historical presentation by noted banjo scholar and performer, Bob Carlin.
Saturday evening the weekend comes to a crescendo with the second annual BANJO FEST Concert at the Hudiburg Performing Arts Center at Rose State College in Midwest City. This year’s BANJO FEST concert will be headlined by the amazing Kruger Brothers. Internationally revered as purveyors of new American folk music, the Kruger Brothers take their audiences on a musical journey through the genres of bluegrass, folk, jazz, and classical music, all melded together into their own unique mix via virtuosic instrumental abilities and soulful vocals.
Mainstream popularity came to the Kruger Brothers in 2013 when Jens Kruger was awarded the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo by Martin himself during a national appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. Anxious to share with their audiences a seemingly endless array of exciting new compositions from the fertile musical mind of Jens Kruger, the Kruger Brothers record and tour constantly, either as a trio or as guest artists with major symphony orchestras.
Other BANJO FEST concert performers include four-time national banjo champion and bandleader for superstar Dolly Parton, Gary “Biscuit” Davis, and a unique jazz banjo trio known as The Banjo Summit comprised of new American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame inductee Paul Erickson joined by Lance Dieckow and Johnny Baier. Following the concert, the BANJO FEST weekend is capped off with a postconcert afterglow party at the American Banjo Museum beginning at 10PM.
The American Banjo Museum is a worldclass facility honoring the rich history and vibrant spirit of the banjo. The museum’s collection features more than 400 instruments along with recordings, film, video, and memorabilia associated with banjos and players. Galleries include replicas of primitive banjos developed by African slaves in the mid-1600s, minstrel-age instruments from mid-1860s, classic banjos from the late 1800s and early 1900s, and later instruments used in bluegrass and folk music.
A special exhibit, America’s Super Picker – Roy Clark, is currently on display. Through his own words, artifacts of his career, and rate photographs from his personal collection, Roy Clark shares what can only be described as an amazing life and career. The exhibit chronicles the entire spectrum of Clark’s musical life – from his earliest musical exploits (including practicing the guitar until his fingers bled!) to performing with Brad Paisley on the nationally televised Country Music Association awards program in 2016.
The American Banjo Museum is open Tuesday thru Saturday from 11am-6 pm and Sunday, Noon – 5 pm. All BANJO FEST weekend events are open to the public. For tickets, pricing and information regarding the Museum and all BANJO FEST weekend events call 405-604-2793 or visit www.americanbanjomuseum.com.
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