Walnut Valley Contest Winners Perform in Festival Pre-Concert
By Mandolin Cafe
September 1, 2009 - 7:30 pm
Walnut Valley Festival
Winfield, Kans. — This year a new addition has been made to the first place winners of the the previous year's Walnut Valley Festival instrument contests. Each first place winner from the 2008 Walnut Valley Festival Championships has been offered an opportunity to return to this year's festival to perform in a special concert on Wednesday evening as a showcase for festival attendees with full festival tickets.
Of the eight 2008 champions, five have agreed to return and participate. Returning will be the International Autoharp Champion Craig Harrel, Walnut Valley Old Time Fiddle Champion Jason Shaw, International Finger Style Guitar Champion Tim Thompson, National Flat Pick Guitar Champion Tyler Grant and the Walnut Valley Mandolin Champion Josh Hungate.
The concert will start at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday evening with each champion having a 45 minute time slot to entertain the fans in attendance. Unlike the contest performances, the artists will be able to talk to the crowd, and most will invite other musicians to accompany them on stage.
Appearing in front of the fans at Walnut Valley is not a new thing for everyone this year; with the exception of mandolin champion Josh Hungate, all of the other artists are past winners of Walnut Valley contests. Jason Shaw is by far the most awarded performer of the group with nine top 3 finishes including 3 first place fiddle wins and a first in the flat pick guitar contest.
The contests at the Walnut Valley Festival have over the years reached a high level of prestige in the acoustic music world. Winners have used winning at Winfield as a springboard to catapult their careers to the next level. Some are today's headline performers in the bluegrass music industry such as Alison Krauss, Mark O'Connor, Chris Thile and Martie Maguire of the Dixie Chicks.
To attend the contest winner's concert on Wednesday evening fans need to have a full festival ticket. The 2009 Walnut Valley Festival begins on September 16 with hands-on workshops as well as the evening contest winner's concert and the stages open September 17-20 at the Winfield Fairgrounds.
Advance tickets are on sale now and may be purchased through 5:00 p.m. September 15 by going to the festival office at 918 Main Street in Winfield. For additional information fans can call the office or visit the festival web site.
Walnut Valley Festival web site