Monticello – Allerton Park & Retreat Center has announced that Sam Bush and The Jerry Douglas Band will be the headliners for their inaugural Prairie Sky Music Festival, presented by the U of I Community Credit Union, on August 18-19. The two day festival will feature eight musical acts in the estate’s 14-acre Meadow at 515 Old Timber Road, Monticello.
After five years of successful outdoor concerts, this will be Allerton’s first multi-day festival, with a mix of local, regional, and national acts. Friday evening will feature Chatham County Line, with Phillip Michael Scales and Dennis Stroughmatt et l’Esprit Creole performing Saturday afternoon. Chicago-based quartet The Leadfoot Band will take the stage Saturday at 5pm, followed by The Jerry Douglas Band, and Sam Bush capping off the night.
“King of Telluride” Sam Bush started playing mandolin when he was 11, and would go on to change the course of bluegrass and roots music as the co-founder of the New Grass Revival. With a suite of Grammys, International Bluegrass Music Association trophies, and an Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award, Bush has expanded the horizons of bluegrass music, and played with a wide range of artists, from Emmylou Harris and Bela Fleck to Lyle Lovett and Garth Brooks.
Fourteen-time Grammy winner Jerry Douglas is recognized as the industry’s master of the dobro guitar: elevating, transforming, and reinventing the instrument in numerous ways. With a foundation of bluegrass, The Jerry Douglas Band’s instrumental roots music incorporates elements of blues, folk, jazz, country, rock, and Celtic, appealing to a wide range of music enthusiasts.
“The Prairie Sky Music Festival will take you on a musical journey through Americana as it was and is,” said Allerton’s Associate Director Derek Peterson. “With a deep respect for history, but with enough progress you will feel pure satisfaction after you experience it.”
When asked about the name of the festival, Peterson noted how a setting can change a musical experience, and the unique Midwestern atmosphere in the vast Allerton Meadow, that is surrounded by forests instead of cornfields.
“If it’s a cloudy afternoon, sunset, or star filled wonder, the open sky can draw you in,” he explained. “Mix that pull with music and you will have an afternoon and evening filled with perfection.”
Food and drinks will be available for purchase, and limited overnight accommodations on the estate will be available. Guests should bring blankets or chairs, and there will be a space for tailgating tents. Additional activities and shuttle services are still being arranged. Peterson also notes that Allerton has always focused on families, and this festival will be no different.
“Allerton is an iconic destination, and will continue to be known as a place to build memories with your family and friends,” he said. “We want to provide an experience where nature and music come together to produce a memory that you hold and treasure.”
The concert is made possible with the support of presenting sponsor, the University of Illinois Community Credit Union, as well as: the News-Gazette, The Ayers Family, Illinois Public Media, Country Arbors, The Friends of Allerton, Kirby Medical Center, AHW LLC, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD), The Herbold Family Trust, and Kennedy Hutson Associates.