Folk music fans: These two events are for you

July 17, 2019

This paid event listing is sponsored by Strawbale Winery.

It’s hard to find a better soundtrack for summer than folk music.

And two events coming up offer a perfect chance to enjoy the best of Americana while giving to great causes.

Strawbale Winery will host its Folk Off and Rib Challenge from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 27. Up to 12 musical acts will compete in 20-minute sets for the chance to win three more performances: one that night as the opening act for headliner Red Willow Band, Aug. 2 at the Sioux River Folk Festival in Canton and Aug. 3 at Levitt at the Falls.

The Folk Off winner also receives a $250 prize. To register for a spot to compete, email  or call 605-543-5071.

“We enjoy collaborating with Strawbale,” said Greg Schmitz, president of South Dakota Friends of Traditional Music, organizer of the Sioux River Folk Festival.

“They provide much-needed funding for our nonprofit organization, and in providing the opening act for the festival, it adds interest for us.”

And then there’s the food. The Rib Challenge is expected to feature at least three vendors. It starts at 11 a.m. and lasts until the samples run out.

“We really try and support the local food trucks, but we have also been inviting vendors within a 100-mile radius of Sioux Falls,” Strawbale co-owner Susie South said.

“Our barbecue vendors will stay all day and sell amazing barbecue meals even after the challenge is done.”

Strawbale Winery also will offer almost 30 wines during the event, as well as three hard ciders and wine slushies.

“There is a wide range of dry to sweet wines, and we have something for everyone,” South said. “We also work with local distributors to carry different craft and domestic beers. This year, we teamed up with Surly, a brewery from Minneapolis. We will be selling a few of their beers and other guest favorites like Fernson’s Lions Paw.”

New this year, Children’s Miracle Network will benefit from the event along with South Dakota Friends of Traditional Music.

“Friends of Traditional Music is such a key part of Folk Off, and their festival has become a family tradition for so many, so we’re happy to support it,” South said.

“We also wanted to do a fundraiser for an organization that supports children, and so Children’s Miracle Network was an easy pick. In the past couple of years, we have had an attendance of over 2,000 guests throughout the day, so we are excited to add CMN to the event this year, and we expect that they will bring a lot of new guests to this event.”

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the event. To learn more and purchase, click here. 

Folk Festival milestone

The following week, the Sioux River Folk Festival will mark a milestone anniversary, celebrating 40 years of musical entertainment.

The event has maintained a steady following and gained new fans in recent years, Schmitz said.

“In the last decade, we’ve really shaken things up with the schedule and the acts we’re bringing in, including some that tempt the younger crowd,” he said. “We now have 12 to 13 acts with few repeats, which has definitely revived the size of our crowds the last four to five years.”

For the 40th anniversary, the event will feature national acts from Alabama, Texas and Illinois. It’s held at Newton Hills State Park south of Canton from 6 p.m. Aug. 2 through the afternoon of Aug. 4.

Food options will include BellaLuna Pizza, Breaking Burrito, The Big Orange Food Truck and coffee from The Source, along with Stone’s Famous Kettle Corn and ice cream sold as a fundraiser for Canton’s after prom. Workshops will include yoga and square dancing on the main stage at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

South Dakota Friends of Traditional Music was formed in 1975 and is governed by a 10-person board that includes several part-time musicians. Its mission is to preserve and promote traditional music for generations of South Dakotans.

“We currently focus most of our resources on keeping the festival fresh and alive, but we also support several other area events to promote and showcase live music,” Schmitz said.

That includes sponsorships of the concerts series at the Old Courthouse Museum and “The White Wall Sessions.” The group also provides a headline act for the Mondays at McKennan series and is working with Levitt at the Falls to book acts together. It runs a Music in the Schools program that brings artists into schools to work with students and discuss opportunities in the performing arts.

For information on the Sioux River Folk Festival and to purchase tickets, click here. 

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Folk music fans: These two events are for you

It’s hard to find a better soundtrack for summer than folk music. And two events coming up offer a perfect chance to enjoy the best of Americana while giving to great causes.

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