The Guitar Festival is back for their seventh installment!

ELLNORA is anything but your run-of-the-mill music festival. From September 14th to 16th, 2017, The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will host an event that will feature some of the world’s most remarkable and significant artists. Located at a vibrant micro-urban setting, the internationally recognized, biennial festival will feature “a prodigious array of the world’s most distinctive and influential guitarists” from all around the globe, according to Premier Guitar, including artists rooted in Gran Canaria, Spain, Germany, Canada, Pakistan, Australia, and from throughout the United States.

The stylistically diverse three-day event will take place at Krannert Center, which encompasses six extraordinary, state-of-the-art performance spaces that are particularly suited to the festival’s impressive range. This year’s festival will feature 14 ticketed events, including performances by Jeff Tweedy, Janis Ian, Ronnie Baker Brooks Band, Vicente Amigo, Rez Abbasi Quartet, Ryley Walker, Kevin Breit, Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge, Lulo Reinhardt and Daniel Stelter, Jontavious Willis, and family favorite Recess Monkey. The festival will also include at least seven free shows, featuring artists Germán López, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Sierra Hull, Makana, and local musicians Jack Brighton and Andy Baylor. Check out the festival website here.

Credit: Youtube

This year’s festival will feature guitarist Kevin Breit, who has previously enchanted Krannert Center crowds at previous incarnations of the festival with his bands Sisters Euclid and FolkAlarm, as an Ambassador Artist. He also has performed with an impressive list of artists including Cassandra Wilson, Norah Jones, Rosanne Cash, k.d. lang, Natalie McMaster, and many others. He is the recipient of JUNO Awards, a National Jazz Award, a Gemini Award and has featured on albums that have won up to 10 Grammys!

Recently, the “guitarist’s guitarist” has been dazzling audiences with his mandolin chops, complimented by his melodic singing and masterful skills as a band leader. He will perform in a special, late-evening ticketed event called Spontaneous Combustion on the opening night of the festival, Thursday, September 14th, along with some special surprise guests! You could also catch him with The Upper York Mandolin Quartet in a free show on Saturday, September 16, 6pm and at the festival’s closing performance on Saturday in the ELLNORA Last Call! concert.

Credit: Youtube

The $5 Opening Night Party on Thursday, September 14 will include traditional blues sets by Illinois native James Jones, blues-rock from Blues Music Award-winner Samantha Fish, and a surging funk sound from Soulive. The event will also be recognized by the University of Illinois as an official part of their sesquicentennial celebration. Female artists for 2017 include Cary Ann Hearst of Shovels & Rope, guitarist-singer-songwriter (and Bonnie Raitt collaborator) Ruthie Foster, and the prodigious talent of Australian-born Alberta Khoury, who is a Juilliard School student under the tutelage of 2015 ELLNORA Artist-in-Residence Sharon Isbin.

Rechristened ELLNORA in 2009, the festival originally went by the name Wall to Wall Guitar Festival, and has since been a model for other similar events in the United States and around the world. It is organized by Krannert Center for the Performing Artsdirector, Mike Ross, and his staff in collaboration with curator and artistic advisor David Spelman, founder/artistic director of the world-renowned New York Guitar Festival.

Watch the ELLNORA Short Film here!

View the Performance Schedule here!

SEP 14

6pm : Opening Night Party

6:30pm : James Jones Trio

7:30pm : Samantha Fish

8:45pm : Soulive

10:15pm : Spontaneous Combustion with Kevin Breit and Special Guests


SEP 15

12pm : Germán López

5pm : Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen

5:45pm : Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge

7pm : Lulo Reinhardt and Daniel Stelter

7:15pm : Sierra Hull

8:15pm : Jontavious Willis/Ruthie Foster

9:30pm : Lulo Reinhardt and Daniel Stelter

9:45pm : Shovels & Rope

11pm : The Bringing It All Back Home Project: Classic Bob Dylan featuring Jack Brighton and Friends


SEP 16

ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival

10am : Recess Monkey

11am : Rez Abbasi Quartet Cine-Concert: A Throw of Dice

12:30pm : Alberta Khoury/Los Angeles Guitar Quartet

1:15pm : Ryley Walker

2:15pm : Makana

3pm : Vicente Amigo

4:45pm : Janis Ian

6pm : Kevin Breit and the Upper York Mandolin Quartet

6:15pm : Alberta Khoury

7:30pm : Jeff Tweedy

9pm : Ryley Walker

9:15pm : Ronnie Baker Brooks Band

10:45pm : ELLNORA Last Call! featuring Andy Baylor and the 217 All-Stars


Event Tickets go on sale to the public at 10am on Saturday, July 8.

Get your tickets here!

Phone: 217/333-6280 or 800/KCPATIX (527-2849)

TTY: 217/333-9714 (for patrons who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or speech-impaired)



Mail: Krannert Center Ticket Office

500 South Goodwin Avenue

Urbana, Illinois 61801-3788

In person: Krannert Center Ticket Office, 500 South Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, Illinois, from 10am to 6pm every day.