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Opening Night Party and ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival

Opening Night Party

September 2017

Krannert Center’s 2017-18 season begins with the Opening Night Party—which also launches ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival and celebrates the University of Illinois’ Sesquicentennial. Patrons attending can revel with a stage-to-stage lineup of incredible artists (James Jones Trio, Samantha Fish, and Soulive), plenty of all-ages amenities, food options in an outdoor tented space, and a spark of six-stringed exhilaration to set the whole season aglow.

Doors open and food sales kick off at 6pm. Music warms up with the Star-Spangled Banner performed by Matt Stewart before Danville’s own James Jones Trio fires up traditional blues with modern inflections at 6:30pm. Then at 7:30, we’ll hear from Samantha Fish, heralded by ELLNORA alumni like Buddy Guy and Luther Dickinson, who is a Kansas City-born Blues Music Award winner known for her commanding voice and penchant for writing and covering songs that rock. Soulive—the jubilant trio of artists that comprise guitarist Eric Krasno and brothers Neal (Hammond B-3 organ) and Alan (drums) Evans—will keep the party going with soulful, surging funk rhythms that green light good times.

Stop by the Studio Theatre for a showcase of mini-performances by featured ELLNORA artists such as Kevin Breit, Jontavious Willis, Makana, and others, included with your Opening Night Party ticket. Patrons can also participate in guitar pick jewelry-making or screen printing with Weiskamp, shop festival merchandise at the ELLNORA Store at Promenade, visit the four-panel guitar mural on the terrace and Bubble Man in the Amphitheatre, marvel at the community guitar gallery hung throughout the Lobby, enjoy the Koester & Bradley kids’ craft area, and recharge with delicious food options from Siam Terrace, Fired!/Smoked, Rick’s Bakery, El Oasis, Caribbean Grill, Piato, Jet’s Pizza, and more!

General admission tickets for the Opening Night Party are just $5 (kids 5 and under are free but need a ticket) and are available from our event page or by calling 217.333.6280.

For those who want to keep the party going even later, Krannert Center is offering a limited-capacity Spontaneous Combustion event beginning at 10:15pm in the Studio Theatre. The all-improvised set will feature ELLNORA Ambassador Artist Kevin Breit, Lulo Reinhardt, Daniel Stelter, and Rez Abbasi. Tickets are $10-35.

Get the entire ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival lineup at


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