Folk Music Festival 2017

June 9th and 10th

East Grove Farms, located 9 miles south of Mt. Pleasant just off Highway 218, 1 mile east on 335th street. Look for the signs and the large green victorian house. Just follow the signs and parking guides. It is a kid friendly event and there will be free tractor tours of the farm! Admission is only $10 for two days of incredible music and fun!


The Music

Awful Purdies

2016 Marks the 10th anniversary of Awful Purdies, an eclectic quintet of female multi-instrumentalists who take turns stepping up as songwriter and lead singer. The ensemble "purdifies" each song they meet, filling in sweet harmonies as they let the song lead the way. While one song might require channeling the Andrews Sisters or Gillian Welch, another song might reach out to a rock-a-billy or Motown sensibility. With "The Katies" (Katie Senn on cello and Katie Roche on accordion) laying down each song's base, their songs sound full and orchestrated, while Nicole Upchurch's banjo, Marcy Rosenbaum's mandolin and Sarah Driscoll's guitar skillfully root Awful Purdies in the modern folk genre. Ten great years, three albums, numerous compilations, a major grant from the Iowa Arts Council, and many film and television placements later Awful Purdies hope to continue to share the music they make together for a lifetime.

The Creek Rocks

Influenced by Jimmy Driftwood and Grandpa Jones, The Creek Rocks (Cindy Woolf, husband Mark Bilyeu, and their bass player) bring authentic Ozark Mountain folk music to this year’s festival. Based in Springfield, MO, they just released a new CD “Wolf Hunter” to much acclaim. We caught Cindy’s solo performance at the 2013 Elderberry Festival at Hartsburg, MO and were very impressed by her expressive musical style and heartfelt lyrics. We won’t forget how she took the time to stop by our Owl Camp for a sample of our Elderberry Mead. We are extremely pleased to have The Creek Rocks perform at this year’s festival!

Flash in a Pan

Self described as a collective of Iowa City musicians that have teamed up to ramble every where from street corners to red carpet events, Flash in Pan is making a return visit to the farm where they’ve generated quite a large fan base. Founded in 2012, named on the assumption they would play two shows and dissolve, the band is currently in its third year of playing all over Iowa and surrounding states. This band will have your toes tappin’ and feet stompin’!


Grass Fed Mule

Grass Fed Mule is a St. Louis based quartet composed of Gerard Erker, Drew Jameson, Matt Flory & Drew Lance. Drawing energy from their river town roots in bluegrass, old-time, blues, indie-folk & jazz, the band’s upbeat shows flood the ears with strong vocal harmonies and instrumental finesse, featuring sounds of claw hammer banjo, harmonica, mandolin & washboard. If you like the sound of bluegrass in a jam, Grass Fed Mule should be sweet to your ears.

Mercer and Johnson

Mercer and Johnson are Brock Johnson and s.mercer. The duo put their first recordings online for free in June of 2010. They immediately took off to find places that would let them play, as often as possible, logging thousands of downloads and hundreds of thousands of miles. The band uses a mix of traditional string-band instrumentation on their recordings, to craft songs that vary in origin from traditional style ballads and up-tempo numbers, to songs influenced by singer-songwriters and modern indie rock.
Live, the two feature mostly mandolin and bass in a stomping shouting manner that people find enjoyable, yet puzzling. The puzzle is the mandolin, which they often mistake for a wide variety of other instruments.

Nella Thomas

Nella Thomas is an alternative country and folk pop singer-songwriter. Nella, an Iowa native, often brings the familiar sounds of a Midwestern childhood into her music. In her lyrics, she shares her life experiences in a gentle and sometimes raw and honest way, leaving her listeners with melodies that are both light hearted and haunting. Nella collaborates with many well-known Iowan musicians in the recording studio and on the stage. Joining her will be April Ziskovsky, of "Adam Bruce," on back-up vocals, William J Locker on drums, Jon Locker on bass, and James Biehn on lead guitar.


River Kittens

The River Kittens’ sound — which the members describe alternately as “raunch folk” and “Americana feels” — hinges on the trio’s tightly rehearsed, soaring three-part vocal harmonies and primitive string-band accompaniments, with the two elements contrasting in always exciting and sometimes unexpected ways.
They’re sweet. They’re a wreck. They’ve got something really cool.

Whiskey Friends

A brand new band in southeast Iowa exploring all the talents and capabilities of its members with their backgrounds in classical music, heavy metal, rock, blues, and folk. At this point in time they could be described as a blues, rock, and folk band. Song writer sessions might include a nip of good Kentucky bourbon or Tennessee whiskey, hence the name Whiskey Friends and the band’s signature song.

Eric Pettit Lion

Eric Pettit Lion is an Americana band that has developed a mix of folk, blues, and country songs that dive headfirst into intense narratives. Their sound can be best compared to the artists they have opened for this year - William Elliot Whitmore, Ben Miller Band and Honey Honey. Like the gritty Mississippi River they reside by, Eric Pettit Lion continue the classic river metaphor by creating music that everyone can relate to. From a review in the magazine, Little Village - "It feels so good listening to this kind of music that you just can't stop doing it."


The Food

Cynful Smokers

Cynful Smokers, the only professional award winning BBQ team in eastern Iowa, will be on hand to provide their mouth watering BBQ. Be sure to try the baked beans!