FAIRfest ’15 Headliner Lineup

A worldclass mix of Americana, bluegrass, new grass, rock, folk, and blues

Bands from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine converge on Fairfield, Iowa for three days of free and continuous music


June 19-21


Check the website for additions to the lineup and other festival related events

Also find us on Facebook at fairfestiowa.com and follow us on Twitter at fairfestiowa


FAIRfest is brought to you by KRUU 100.1 FM community radio with the support of KMCD/Classic 96 Radio

 and dozens of other supporters, sponsors and volunteers who make FAIRfest ’15 possible

Line-up Showcase Announcements!

Cyril Neville's Royal Southern Brotherhood 


Funky, bluesy, soulful rock. Cyril is Grammy Award winning vocalist and driving force of one of America’s most treasured bands The Neville Brothers. 

New Orleans-based Cyril Neville has been called a philosopher, poet, and one of the last great southern soul singers. In 1970 he released his debut solo single, “Gossip” b/w “Tell Me What’s On Your Mind,” which included backing music by brother Art’s new outfit, the Meters. The Rolling Stones invited the Meters to support the band's World Tour and Mick and Keith wouldn’t have it any other way. “You guys should come on tour with us with Cyril as your singer.” is how it was put to the Meters, who obliged.
Cyril has co-written songs with Bono of U2, Taj Mahal, and Daniel Lanois, to name a few, and was credited by Lanois as the musical catalyst that led to the Neville’s Grammy Award winning record ‘YELLOW MOON.” Cyril is featured on recordings by Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson, Dr. John, Tab Benoit, Edie Brickell, Willie Nelson, plus many more. He has performed all over the world including the infamous Amnesty International tour with U2 and the Police and has sung for Nelson Mandela. Nominated three times for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame has claimed Cyril Neville and NOLA to be his new crush. The Royal Southern Brotherhood has been featured in an episode of HBO’s “Sonic Highways” series, an 8-episode show that follows the Foo Fighters as they visit different towns they consider to be musically unique and important.

Greg Brown

Grammy nominated singer/songwriter and Iowa treasure [His daughter Pieta Brown will also be performing Sunday at FAIRfest]

Greg Brown's mother played electric guitar, his grandfather played banjo, and his father was a Holy Roller preacher in the Hacklebarney section of Iowa, where the Gospel and music are a way of life. Brown's songwriting has been lauded by many, and his songs have been performed by Willie Nelson, Carlos Santana, Michael Johnson, Shawn Colvin, and Mary Chapin Carpenter. He has also recorded more than a dozen albums, including his 1986 release, Songs of Innocence and of Experience, when he put aside his own songwriting to set poems of William Blake to music.
Rolling Stone's four-star review of his critically acclaimed 1996 release, Further In, called Brown "a wickedly sharp observer of the human condition." 1997's Slant 6 Mind (Red House Records) earned Brown his second Grammy nomination. His 2002 album, Going Driftless: An Artist’s Tribute to Greg Brown feature guest vocal performances by Ani DiFranco, Gillian Welch, and Shawn Colvin.

Elephant Revival

Rising stars of Contemporary folk, Americana, Celtic, Bluegrass, Indie rock

Singer Bonnie Paine has a voice that calls to mind Natalie Merchant and even occasionally Dead Can Dance or Lisa Germano. Their style of music is often referred to as "transcendental folk," which incorporates elements of Scottish/Celtic fiddle tunes, original folk pieces, traditional ballads, bluegrass, psychedelic country, indie rock, reggae, 40s/50s jazz standards and an occasional hip-hop beat. All members of the band are multi-instrumentalists and contribute vocals and to songwriting. 
Based out of Nederland, Colorado, Elephant Revival's release Break in the Clouds earned the Best Album of 2011 award from the Indie Acoustic Music Project, establishing the band as an up-and-coming force on the national scene. They are fan and musician favorites at the Telluride Bluegrass Festivals and perform later this year at Red Rocks.
Members of Elephant Revival have played with Bela Fleck, Yonder Mountain Stringband, Little Feat, Nickel Creek, String Cheese Incident, Michael Franti, Railroad Earth, Shanti Groove, and many others. Their captivating use of bluegrass and old timey instruments creates a sort of new age, dark, whispy vibe is unique unto themselves.

Sam Llanas Band

Iconic American singer, roots guitarist, and songwriter. 

Best known for his unique and distinctively soulful voice, Llanas supplied the trademark vocal on Robbie Robertson’s “Somewhere Down the Crazy River.”
Sam Llanas (pronounced Yah-niss) co-founded the BoDeans, a roots and heartland rock band from Waukesha, Wisconsin that moved into the genre of alternative rock after their critically acclaimed debut album Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams produced by T-Bone Burnett. A Rolling Stone reader poll voted them Best New American Band in 1987. That year they toured extensively with U2 on the Joshua Tree Tour. Sam provided backing vocals on three tracks of Robbie Robertson's self-titled debut album which won the Juno Award for “Album of the Year” as well as “Producer of the Year” for producers Daniel Lanois and Robertson.
In the late 1980s and early 90s, the band had several singles in the top 40 "mainstream rock" charts. Their second album was produced by Jerry Harrison of the Talking Heads. The band had two top 10 songs in the "Adult contemporary" charts in the mid-90s. The BoDeans have a permanent installation at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland. Sam left the BoDeans in 2011 to pursue a solo career. In late 2014 he released The Whole Night Thru, an all new studio record featuring nine new Llanas originals.

Ian Moore

An eclectic blend of folk, rock and roll, world music and blues

Encouraged by his parents, Ian Moore took up the violin at age six, moving to guitar nine years later. The Austin-based blues-rocker's early influences included the Beatles, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder and Sly & the Family Stone. He gained experience touring as a guitarist with Joe Ely, which led to a solo tour opening for the Rolling Stones and ZZ Top. He signed with Capricorn Records and made three records from 1993-95. Though hailed as one of Texas' great singer/songwriters, heir to Stevie Ray Vaughn's throne, Moore abandoned that path when he felt the flash and dazzle were overshadowing what he wanted to express musically and embraced a more intimate eclectic compositional songwriting style.
His evocative vocals, described by some as a velvety croon, and effortless command on guitar, combined with an engaging sense of humor, make for magical performances. Accompanying Ian is Kullen Fuchs, a musician from the Hill Country of Texas, who brings unusual savory flavors to the mix with instruments such as trumpets, vibraphone, accordions and omnichord.

The Pines

A fusion of indie rock, Americana, and ethereal swamp pop

Rising out of the prairies of the Midwest, The Pines are one of the most distinct and powerful indie rock/Americana groups to hit the national scene in years. Emerging from the same Minneapolis music world that spawned such notable acts as The Jayhawks, The Replacements and Bob Dylan, The Pines have gathered a stunning line-up of musical talent, in both their live shows and on record, that has gained them a faithful and growing following.
Frontmen Benson Ramsey and David Huckfelt share a common musical language rooted in the songs and songwriters of their native Iowa, while each bringing a distinct voice and sensibility to the sound that Rolling Stone senior writer David Fricke called “quietly gripping” stark-country. The mysterious sound of The Pines fuses Benson’s ethereal, otherworldly, heart-piercing songs with David’s earthy, darkly romantic and rough-hewn visionary tales. With masterful guitar work, beautiful vocals and the graceful keyboard and vocal additions of Benson’s brother Alex Ramsey, the core of The Pines’ sound captivates and elevates with rare intimacy.
The Pines signed with acclaimed indie label Red House Records in 2007, releasing their breakout album Sparrows in the Bell, named one of the top roots releases of the year by Q Magazine. After wowing audiences in 2008 at SXSW, the band released Tremolo which garnered rave reviews in magazines like Rolling Stone. It also landed them coveted performances on Daytrotter.com and Bob Harris’ popular BBC show, attracting new fans across North America and Europe. They have shared the stage with such diverse acts as Jolie Holland, The Arcade Fire, Iris DeMent, Mavis Staples, Bon Iver and The Holmes Brothers.

Shook Twins

Folk, roots, groove and acoustic soul

"The Portland, OR folk group is ready to rattle the mus7 world with its 'What We Do' album."  --USA Today
Identical twins Laurie and Katelyn Shook have spent the last eight years pursuing their passion for music and winning fans over with their layered vocals, heartfelt syncopated songs, and quirky folk. Born and raised in Sandpoint Idaho, the Shook Twins migrated to Portland, Oregon, a rich musical scene. Their sound consists of a wide range of instrumentation including banjo, guitar, electric and upright bass, mandolin, electric guitar, electronic drums, face drum (beatbox), glockenspiel, ukulele, banjo drumming and their signature golden EGG. Beautiful twin harmonies, feathered upon acoustic and electric instrumentation coupled with Laurie’s inventive use of percussive and ambient vocal loops, and Katelyn’s repurposed telephone microphone, set their sound apart, creating a unique and eccentric blend of folk, roots, groove and soul.
The Shook Twins have shared the stage with Ryan Adams, David Grisman, Mason Jennings, Blizten Trapper, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Sarah Jarosz, Laura Veirs, The FruitBats, Jonatha Brooke, JJ Grey and MoFro, The Indigo Girls, Crooked Still, Jason Webley, The BoDeans, Elephant Revival, The Head and The Heart, The Lumineers and many more. Eclectic, amusing and whimsical, Shook Twins have a laid-back and fun stage presence that draws the listener in and takes the audience on an enjoyable adventure.

Pieta Brown

Alt country, singer/songwriter, dreamy folk rock

This is Pieta Brown's third year playing FAIRfest and we couldn't be more delighted that her father is playing the festival as well, something we've been hoping would come together for three years. Pieta, who grew up in the hills of Iowa and in Birmingham, Alabama, started writing songs on an old piano when she was just eight years old. Some have described her distinct, languid, ethereal vocal delivery as a mix between Lucinda Williams, Tom Waits, Johnny Cash and the Cowboy Junkies' Margo Timmins. But if you ask me, it's pure Pieta, straight up. She's taken her work to the Mexican border and New York City, and just about everywhere in between. 
In 2005, she recorded In the Cool with Bo Ramsey (magical guitarist and producer who has worked in those capacities with Lucinda Williams and many others) in the co-producer's seat, where he has been ever since. The album reached far and wide and was played on Americana radio. Pieta released the acclaimed Remember the Sun in 2007. BY then she and Bo were no longer just musical partners, they were married.
Signing with the venerable modern folk music label Red House in 2009, her debut for the label, One & All, appeared in 2010, followed quickly by 2011's Mercury. Both were well-received not only by listeners but also by musicians. She opened for Mark Knopfler, Mavis Staples, J.J. Cale, Ani DiFranco, Calexico, and many others. In 2012, Pieta guested on Amos Lee's Mission Bell. She recorded her latest release Paradise Outlaw in late 2014 with Ramsey and a slew of guests including her father, Lee, and David Mansfield.

Giving Tree Band

A fun-loving, high energy mix of Americana, bluegrass and rock'n'roll

The Giving Tree Band is a rock & roll band from Yorkville, Illinois. They all live together, travel together and perform with a wide array of instruments from acoustic & electric guitars, slide guitars & banjos to violin, mandolin & pedal steel. Though the group uses an instrumentation largely associated with bluegrass and Americana, their sound often drums up comparisons to such classic rock icons as The Band, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and The Beatles. 
In 2008, the band set out to record a carbon-neutral album at the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Their third full-length album, The Joke, The Threat & The Obvious, spent multiple weeks on various Americana radio charts, peaking at number 15 on the Roots Music Report and number 40 on the Americana Airplay Chart. The album also received critical acclaim, including a spot on Acoustic Guitar Magazine's "Best Acoustic Albums of 2010" list, as well as garnering positive reviews from such publications as Relix Magazine, The Huffington Post, and American Songwriter. A review from the Nashville Metromix described The Giving Tree Band as being "a neo-retro take on The Band or the American answer to Mumford & Sons".
The band is also known for extraordinary environmental stewardship and eco-friendly music production. They use a number of instruments that were handmade from naturally fallen trees and reclaimed woods. They have recorded with renewable energy and package all their CDs with 100% recycled materials. National and international environmental media, such as The Sierra Club, The Discovery Channel and Mother Earth News, have also highlighted the band's activism, with the latter referring to them as "the greenest band in the land". When asked if they needed lodging provided for FAIRfest, the vegan collective, named as one of the "Top Ten Great Vegan Activists" in 2010 in a list that included Natalie Portman, Ellen DeGeneres, and Alicia Silverstone, said they preferred camping. Their latest release Like A Freight Train is due out April 7, 2015.

Muddy Ruckus

Portland, Maine-based acoustic power duo playing an original blend of Americana, gypsy stomp and epic rock

"Darkly inventive Americana."  --New York Music Daily
Muddy Ruckus is Ryan Flaherty and Erika Stahl. Originally from Rock Island, IL, Flaherty met Stahl in 2013 in Portland, Maine. They played on porches, street corners and campfires and became Muddy Ruckus. An explosive mix of gypsy inspired guitar, edgy percussion, obscure lyrics and growling vocal harmonies, Muddy Ruckus pulls inspiration from the music they love: old-timey folk music, dirty blues, circa 1940, hot swing and American rock, dressing it with Dylan-esque lyrics that poke fun at society and examine the state of the world. 
Muddy Ruckus released their self-titled album in the fall of 2014. The band has toured regionally and nationally, was nominated for the New England Music Awards "Best in State of Maine", and included in Daytrotter's "Best Songs Of 2014" list.

Chad Elliot

Alt country, singer/songwriter, Americana, folk rock, roots

“…Chad Elliott stands out as a timeless and genuine musical poet with supple-strong roots like the bluestem and buffalo grass of Iowa prairie.”
--Todd Partridge, NoDepression.com
Averaging over 150 shows per year, Elliott has been on the road for more than a decade performing a blend of Americana, roots and country music. Perhaps the most surreal moment in his career happened in 2009 while he was portraying Buddy Holly for the Surf Ballroom on the 50th anniversary of the fateful plane crash which took the rock legend’s life. He was asked to sing “Oh Boy” with Buddy’s widow Maria Elena Holly. She whispered in Elliott’s ear after the song faded, “You’re my Buddy.”
Elliott has shared the stage with Eric Church, Lonestar, Counting Crows, Brantley Gilbert, R.L. Burnside, Odetta, Tom Paxton and Loudon Wainwright III, among others. He has released 19 full-length albums since he began his songwriting career. In 2009, he released “Redemption Man,” working with producer and guitarist Bo Ramsey (Lucinda Williams, Greg Brown) to achieve it’s distinctive electrified roots sound. It also features Pieta Brown on the song, “Same, Old Way,” which was the 2009 Woody Guthrie Festival song contest winner as well as a 3rd place winner in the 2009 International Songwriting Contest for the Americana category. Two other songs on this album, “Redemption Man,” and “Illinois,” won Elliott a new folk finalist spot in the 2008 Grassy Hill Kerrville Folk Festival.
Elliott is working on his 20th original album. He has been traveling to Nashville, TN to record with producer/drummer Ken Coomer of Wilco and Uncle Tupelo. He released his first children's record in November 2014.

Gipsy Moon

Folk, gipsy bluegrass, old-timey, new-fangled jazz

Gipsy Moon is a five-piece group of wandering artists on an endless journey toward good times and raw expression. Their sound, sometimes referred to as Gipsygrass, is something like a backwoods hoedown meets the smoking basement of a New York jazz club. Their soothing harmonies, raging solos and dirt encrusted bass lines bring an old time style into an exciting new dimension; one that hippies and poets, lovers and dancers, freaks and families alike can all come together and move in ways that their bodies have never known. 
The members, made up of Silas Herman (guitar/mandolin), David Matters (banjo/vocals/guitar) Mackenzie Page (guitar/vocals/tenor banjo/washboard), Andrew Conley (Cello) and Matt Cantor (bass) all hail from the windy mountains of Nederland, Colorado. When they are not on the move you can find them here, forming cantos high up in the Rockies. Their lyrics are a tasteful blend of nature-based love songs, anti-establishment singalongs and down home simplicity with a gentle kiss of civil disobedience. They create music meant to plant inspiration in the soul and start a fire in the heart. They perform with the intention to build community and to invoke love in its wildest manifestation.

Plus 20-25 other local and regional acts with still a few surprises in the offing.

Remember, there'll be a lot of corollary activities going on throughout the weekend, plus after parties...

More on that later.

FAIRfest '14 volunteers ROCK!

A big shout out to all of our Fairfest Volunteers this year. You know who you are! Our hearts are full of gratitude and appreciation around the absolutely amazing energy, enthusiasm and devotion you brought to the table this weekend. The hours were long, sometimes tiring...but please know you all pulled off something great and grand. All of our musicians, organizers and festival goers noticed. Our needs were big this year...because we were creating something big! And you made it a huge success. Thank you thank you thank you!!