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Opening Night Party with James Jones Trio, Samantha Fish, and Soulive

James Jones Trio, Samantha Fish, and Soulive

When the calendar rolls around to September, it’s time to head to Krannert Center for one of the biggest can’t-be-missed moments in the community—the Opening Night Party. And this year, we’re not just opening the season, we’re celebrating the University of Illinois’ Sesquicentennial and ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival 2017! Get ready to revel with a stage-to-stage lineup of incredible artists, plenty of all-ages amenities, seriously tasty options in the food tent, and a spark of six-stringed exhilaration to set the whole season aglow.

We’re kicking things off with Matt Stewart performing the national anthem, followed by the James Jones Trio, who hail from just down the road in Danville, Illinois, and serve up traditional blues with modern inflections. Samantha Fish, heralded by ELLNORA alumni like Buddy Guy and Luther Dickinson, is a Kansas City-born Blues Music Award winner known for her commanding voice and penchant for writing and covering songs that rock. And after nearly two decades of making music together, the jubilant trio of artists that comprise Soulive—guitarist Eric Krasno and brothers Neal (Hammond B-3 organ) and Alan (drums) Evans—know a thing or two about igniting a party from the stage. Whether they’re collaborating with John Scofield, Derek Trucks, Joshua Redman, or Robert Randolph, their grooves never quit, the solos are always soulful, and the surging funk rhythms give the green light on good times.

Matt Stewart, 6:20pm—Stage 5
James Jones Trio, 6:30pm, Lobby—Stage 6
Samantha Fish, 7:30pm, Lobby—Stage 5
Soulive, 8:45pm, Lobby—Stage 6
Food sales begin and doors open at 6pm

Studio Showcase Schedule:
7pm, Kevin Breit
7:15pm, Matt Stewart
7:30pm, Jontavious Willis
7:45pm, Garrett Gunter
8pm, Makana
8:15pm, Guido Sánchez-Portuguez
8:30pm, Jose Emilio Gobbo Jr.

Try your hand at guitar pick jewelry-making or screen printing with Weiskamp, stop by the Studio Theatre for a showcase of mini-performances, 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, help your little patron revel at the Koester & Bradley craft area, and be sure to recharge with delicious food options in the tent including Siam Terrace, Rick’s Bakery, El Oasis, Caribbean Grill, Piato, Fired!/Smoked, and Jet's Pizza! Download the menu.

All ages are welcome. Kids under 5 years of age receive free admission; a complimentary ticket is required.

Download the ELLNORA 2017 mobile app on iTunes or Google Play for the latest festival updates!

Patron Sponsors

  • Gözen & Chris Hartman
  • Jill & James Quisenberry

Patron Co-sponsors

  • Frances & Marc Ansel
  • Beth & David Chasco
  • Beverly & Mike Friese
  • Brenda & Stephen Pacey
  • Mary & George Perlstein
  • Julia & Gene Robinson
  • Anonymous

Corporate Platinum Sponsor

  • WCIA 3

Corporate Gold Sponsors

  • The Daily Illini/WPGU-FM 107.1
  • Koester & Bradley, LLP
  • The Whip at Backland Radio dot com

Corporate Silver Sponsors

  • The Blind Man Hunter Douglas Gallery
  • Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon
  • Comfort Suites
  • Kessler Optical
  • Lite Rock 97.5-WHMS FM
  • Smile Politely
  • The Upper Bout
  • Visit Champaign County
  • WEFT 90.1

Corporate Bronze Sponsors

  • Analog Outfitters
  • Barham Benefit Group
  • Dimond Bros. Insurance, LLC
  • ESPN 93.5
  • Events at Refinery
  • golive.fm by Greencopper
  • Weiskamp Screen Printing

The three-day guitar spectacular of ELLNORA is possible only because of individual donations and corporate sponsorships. Krannert Center thanks our event sponsors—performances at the Center could not happen without their support. We hope you will consider joining them, to ensure Krannert Center’s vibrancy now and for generations to come. Learn more about sponsoring an event »

Event Details

Lobby and Terraces
Th Sep 14, 2017 - 6:00pm
$5 (As always, your additional financial support is welcome! Consider choosing "Round Up" at checkout.)