The Comprehensive Guide to the 2016 Nebraska Folk & Roots Festival

The third-annual Nebraska Folk & Roots Festival returns this weekend, once again bringing folk, blues, soul and indie acts to an idyllic, rural setting.

Folk singer/songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov headlines the two-stage festival, set for the second straight year on Branched Oak Farms’ five-acre space just northwest of downtown Lincoln. The Johannesburg, South Africa, native is joined by a touring list that includes Nashville folk/rock artist Darrell Scott, Atlanta indie folk act Old Sea Brigade, folk pop duo Seasaw and more.

The wide-open outdoor festival also includes a strong list of local favorites. Fresh off its third studio album in three years, Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal closes the Friday night side stage, while fellow road-warrior blues rocking Kris Lager Band takes the main stage just before. Saturday’s local menu includes Mesjonixx, Andrea von Kampen, Jack Hotel, Evan Bartels & the Stoney Lonesomes and more, plus Bud Heavy & the High Lifes closing the festival.

While most of the attention will be focused onstage, there will be plenty of family-friendly activity surrounding the music to contribute to the festival’s laid-back atmosphere. The festival continues to foster a locally-minded feel, with food and arts-and-crafts vendors all based within a few miles radius. And there are a number of workshops starting Saturday at Noon, aimed at attendees interested in learning folk musicianship, songwriting and printmaking. Other activities include the Saturday Corn Hole Bean Bag tournament (details here) and a public mural project hosted by the Outlook Project.

photo from 2015 Folk & Roots Festival by Andrew Dickinson

Nebraska Folk & Roots enjoyed a largely positive, laid-back weekend in its Branched Oak debut last year, after relocating from its 2014 spot in the urban Railyard entertainment district. One can expect the event, with a two full years under its belt, to run even more smoothly in its third-edition.

Attendees are welcome to bring empty water bottles (for purified water on-site), lawn chairs and blankets, and with temperatures expected to breach triple-digits, sunscreen and hats are recommended. There will also be a small number of canopy tent plots available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Finally, Camping is available at nearby Branched Oak State Recreation Area. Find the map and details here.

To help you prepare for the festival, we’ve included a comprehensive guide to the musical acts, workshops and vendors below. Individual day passes are $20, while weekend passes are $30. VIP packages run $60 and include weekend passes, merchandise and meal tickets. Doors open at 4 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday. RSVP here and purchase tickets here.

Friday, June 10

(M- Mainstage; S- Side Mainstage)

5-5:45 p.m (M) — Pandas and People (alternative folk, Northern Colorado)

5:45-6:30 p.m (S) — Mezcal Brothers (rockabilly, Lincoln)

6:30-7:15 p.m. (M) — Edison (indie folk-rock, Denver)

7:15-8 p.m. (S) — Smooth Hound Smith (American roots, East Nashville)

8-9 p.m. (M) — Kris Lager Band (blues rock, Lincoln)

9-10 p.m. (S) — Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal (soul, Lincoln)

10-11:15 p.m. (M) — Gregory Alan Isakov (indie folk, Johannesburg, South Africa)

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and calling Colorado home, Gregory Alan Isakov has been traveling all his life. Songs that hone a masterful quality tell a story of miles and landscapes, and the search for a sense of place. His song-craft lends to deep lyrical masterpieces, with hints of his influences, Leonard Cohen and Bruce Springsteen. He has been described as “strong, subtle, a lyrical genius.” Isakov has just completed an album of his songs played in collaboration with The Colorado Symphony, scheduled to be released June 10, 2016.

Saturday, June 11th

12-12:40 p.m. (S) — Pleiades and the Bear (folk rock, Omaha)

12:40-1:25 p.m. (M) — Seasaw (folk-pop, Freeport, Illinois)

1:25-2:05 p.m. (S) — Root Marm Chicken Farm Jug Band (country/jug, Lincoln)

2:05-2:45 p.m. (M) — Matt Cox Band (Americana, Omaha)

2:45-3:25 p.m. (S) — Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters (Americana, Louisville, Kentucky)

3:25-4:10 p.m. (M) — CJ Mills (soul/blues, Omaha)

4:10-4:50 p.m. (S) — Old Sea Brigade (indie folk, Atlanta)

4:50-:5:35 p.m. (M) — Andrea Von Kampen (acoustic folk, Lincoln)

5:35-6:20 p.m. (S) — Evan Bartels and the Stoney Lonesomes (folk/country, Tobias, Nebraska)

6:20-7:05 p.m. (M) — Mike Semrad (Americana, Lincoln)

7:05-7:50 p.m. (S) — Mesonjixx w/ special guest INFNTLP (soul, Lincoln)

7:50-8:35 p.m. (M) — The Bel Airs (blues rock, Columbia, Missouri)

8:35-9:20 p.m. (S) — Jack Hotel (string folk, Lincoln)

9:20-10:15 p.m. (M) — Darrell Scott (folk/rock, Nashville)

10:15-11 p.m. (S) — Bud Heavy and the High Lifes (folk, Lincoln)

Workshops (Saturday)

12:00-12:30 p.m. — two-finger banjo with Maxwell Morrissey
12:30-1:00 p.m. — mandolin with Brian Gerkensmeyer
1:00-1:30 p.m. — guitar flatpicking with Brian Gerkensmeyer
1:30-2:00 p.m. — violin with Joshua Rector
2:00-2:30 p.m. — printmaking with Hannah Demma
2:30-3:00 p.m. — songwriting with Evan Bartels
3:00-3:30 p.m. — fingerstyle guitar with David Boye

Food Vendors

Tina’s Cafe
Branched Oak Farm
Davey Road Ranch
Tylo’s Hawaiian Ice
Motor Food

Arts & Craft Vendors

Sower Records – record label and band merchandise
KZUM – local community radio station merchandise and information
Shirts101 – Festival merchandise
G & G Smoke Shop – hand blown glassware and party supplies
Curio Collective – accessories, gifts, jewelry, etc.
Roundhouse Exchange – tools for simple living
Three Trees massage therapy – massage therapy
Backstage Adornment – Face painting and henna body art
Tsuru – clothing and accessories
The Sandhills Boot Company – handcrafted leather
Kinsey’s Crafts – handmade jewelry made on the spot
Vintage Vagabonds – vintage and repurposed items
Andy’s Items – candles, salsa, enchilada sauce
The ArtReach Project – traveling art for the masses
Produce From The Heart – sustainable agriculture informational booth
Gerdes Farms Creations – home grown seasonings, embroidery and rock painting


Kinkaider Brewing Co., Broken Bow (presenting sponsor)
Duteau Subaru
Butherus, Maser & Love Funeral Home
Legacy Retirement Communities
G&G Smoke Shop
Shirts 101
Zoo Bar
The Bourbon
Stahla Services LLC
Mac’s Creek Vineyards & Winery
Eagle Group
Cornhusker Bank
Nebraska Home Sales
Bold Nebraska
Dietze Music
Blue Raven Music Studios
Hear Nebraska