John Hartford Memorial Festival announces themed sets and band competition

By Matt Wickstrom


BEAN BLOSSOM, In. (March 29, 2018) – The John Hartford Memorial Festival (JHMF) has unveiled special John Hartford-themed sets, preliminary band competition results and workshop details for their 8th annual celebration, set to take place from May 30 to June 2 in Bean Blossom, In.

In keeping with the festival’s legacy and mission to direct awareness to its namesake, John Hartford, JHMF will once again open the main stage every day with 100 percent all Hartford sets. The themed sets begin on Wednesday, May 30, with The Wheelhouse Rousters and continues Thursday with Flatland Harmony Experiment, Friday with The Mighty Pines and Saturday with Robert Ellis and Courtney Hartman presenting “Dear John.”

In addition to the opening sets, fans can join Short Round String Band in an unplugged all John Hartford jam on the afternoon of Friday, June 1, in the Boogie tent. Later on the Jeff Austin Band and friends will perform Hartford’s entire Aereo-Plain album to close out the festival on Saturday night.

Along with the Hartford set reveals, the JHMF has also revealed the preliminary results for its band competition. Twelve bands will perform around a single microphone on the Hippy Hill stage on Friday, June 2. The four finalist bands will then perform on the Hartford Stage Saturday, June 3. Bands will compete for cash prizes totaling $2,000 and an opportunity for a Hartford Stage slot in 2019. The participating bands are as follows:

  • Barbaro: Winona, Mn.
  • GRASS2MOUTH: Murfreesboro, Tn.
  • Hillbilly Revival: Crestwood, Ky.
  • Klondike 5 String Band: Tulsa, Ok.
  • Latresa & the Signal: Mt. Juliet, Tn.
  • Mama Said String Band: Louisville, Ky.
  • Route 358: Fayetteville, Ar.
  • The Goldberrys: Gahanna, Oh.
  • The Half Step Sisters: Greenwood, In.
  • The Pistol Whipping Party Penguins: Minneapolis, Mn.
  • The Squarshers: Fayetteville, Ar.
  • The Wayfarers: Zanesville, Oh.

The JHMF has also announced details for workshops throughout the festival weekend, including the 4th annual Story Songs Workshop with Ernie Hill and the Pete Wernick Jam Camp taught by Jeff Burke.

The Story Songs & Songwriting Challenge with Ernie Hill will take place on Thursday, May 31, in the Boogie Tent. This musical brain picking session features Chicago Farmer, Mike Oberst, Micahlan Boney and a special appearance by Giri and Uma Peters. This workshop provides an opportunity to take a peek inside the heads of these artists as they get inside each other’s heads.

Jeff Burke has been a professional musician for over 15 years, specializing in mandolin, guitar, and banjo. As half of the duo Jeff & Vida, he has performed thousands of shows around the US and Europe. Jeff’s down-to-earth teaching and positive approach to playing and learning music have endeared him to students in classes and workshops far and wide, including at both The Country Music Hall of Fame and the Station Inn in Nashville.

Times for the Pete Wernick Jam Camp taught by Jeff Burke are as follows:

  • Thursday, May 31, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Friday, June 1, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 2, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information, visit

John Hartford Memorial Festival 2018


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