Countless Music ExperiencesClick on the icons to visit the performer’s music sample libraries
Authentic fife and drum music from the American Revolution, the Civil War, adaptations of Irish, Scottish, English folk tunes, and modern rudimental-style field drumming greet you at the Events Center Bridge and throughout the Festival.
Ann Zimmerman sings with thousands of Kansas school kids each year. She uses her confident Kansas style, irresistible stage presence, and award-winning songs to tell stories and paint portraits, leaving audiences laughing, thinking, singing, and playing. She performs across the country but always comes home to Salina.
Rising from the forests and rivers of central Wisconsin, Armchair Boogie’s high-energy take on the Jamgrass genre fuses intricate arrangements of acoustic guitar and banjo with the funky backbeats of electric bass and drums. Armchair Boogie can be defined by their pickin’ skills and infectious grooves.
Ayllu (pronounced I-U) is a Pan-American musical ensemble. Its essence lies in its name – the Quechua word for family. Through their unique instrumentation, uplifting rhythm, and vibrant melody, they celebrate the joy of creating community. Ayllu roots their sound in the rhythms, melodies, and instruments of the rich cultures of the Americas, honoring the Mother Earth, and by extension, all her children. The songs fluctuate between personal introspection and high-energy, leading the listener through a dynamic heart-opening experience.
Carter Sampson is an Oklahoma-born and raised, award-winning musician & songwriter blessed by a musical family legacy that includes talents like Roy Orbison. As the self-penned “Queen of Oklahoma,” her voice is rooted in country songwriter-driven music traditions. With a history of passionate performances and support from her full band, her music will resonate with Festival-goers of all musical interests.
Cash Hollistah is a dynamic hip-hop artist who delivers a funky, high-energy, fun-filled performance that will keep Festival-goers engaged. No novice to the stage, Cash has shared the stage with diverse notable acts, including Common, T.I., Kirk Franklin, and Naughty by Nature.
Clan Tynker is a troupe of brothers and sisters who perform a stunning array of talents in a fanciful “Vaudeville” style of Circus. Their all-ages show presents an amazing menagerie of entertainment from “around the world” set to an exciting live musical soundscape.
Salina’s dynamic musical trio, Dean Kranzler, Dex Umekubo, and Randy Gobel, perform an eclectic collection of oldies, pop standards, and classic country hits. Dex’s vocals and guitar, combined with Dean’s percussion wizardry and Randy’s funky bass lines, create musical fun for audiences.
Brandon and Teryn Draper are no strangers to the Smoky Hill River Festival. This year, Festival-goers can expect surprise guests, live DJs, rhythms of the ocean, dancing ribbons, hula hoops, and the impromptu drum jams that make Drum Safari famous!
Family fun for ALL AGES! Featuring a live DJ, drumming, dancing ribbons, hula hoops, and a few surprise guests…THIS is the place to be!
Keep your eyes (and ears) peeled for this rhythmic flash-mob experience! When you hear the rumble, be prepared to get your groove on and JOIN IN the fun — percussion instruments are provided for ALL participants!
Duke Otherwise is a playful wordsmith, a spirited performer, a skilled guitarist, and a captivating tap dancer. Using his distinct baritone, he sings hilarious and imaginative songs that all ages delight in together. Duke’s energetic live show is filled with improvisation, audience participation, dancing, and outrageous fun!
Everyday Lights is a group of Salina-based musicians with a love for folk and jazz rhythms. Their unique instrumentation and improvised harmony give them a fresh, creative sound that is best realized in their original music. Their ability to combine a variety of musical styles including folk, country, rock, and bluegrass keeps the audience guessing and looking forward to the next song.
Gangstagrass brings together different kinds of American music and creates a whole new category, greater than the sum of the parts.
As their latest album, No Time For Enemies, climbed to #1 on the Billboard bluegrass chart, Americana Highways magazine proclaimed Gangstagrass “America’s Band” because they take so much of what’s amazing about this country — ingenuity, creativity, freedom, unity across differences, people’s individual strength and struggles — and distill it into a message of common ground in the form of original songs that have everyone up & dancing!
Dennis Porter is sure to keep crowds laughing as he engages Festival fans young and old in a host of entertaining games and activities. Teaching, playing, and having lots of fun is what these shows are all about. Come give it a try!
Magic doesn’t have to be complicated and expensive. Learn easy to perform tricks that can be made from ordinary items that you may already have at home. A great way to add fun magic tricks to your life.
For the past 20 years, Jason Boland & The Stragglers have dazzled audiences all over as one of the leading ambassadors of the Oklahoma and Texas music movement also known as red dirt country music. Now, on the cusp of his 10th studio album, The Light Saw Me, the message that Boland aims to share is a universal one: Everyone and everything is connected by love.
Jazz Tangent has performed in the surrounding area for many years. Their repertoire includes many different jazz genres, including straight ahead, fusion, bebop, and Latin. Having performed at the Festival in years past, they are back this year for your listening pleasure.
John Depew is a musician, songwriter, and traveler with a knack for combining traditional sounds with thoughtful lyrics and intriguing musicality. He has been described as the “midwestern Nick Drake” and jokingly refers to his music as “progressive old-time.”
Kansas City multi-instrumentalist Amado Espinoza, featuring Brendan Culp on percussion, will delight audiences with the Junkyard Orchestra, demonstrating how musical instruments can be made out of practically anything. Whether they’re playing a classical Arabic flute made from a broom or a Bolivian guitar fashioned out of a cookie tin, the Junkyard Orchestra demonstrates how the science of music and art can combine to help save the planet Earth.
Keo & Them is a band created to collaborate with everyone of every style. With a diverse and funky neo-soul sound, the band hopes everyone can be a part of the family they have created and vibe together.
“Kidz Bop” albums are comprised of kid-friendly versions of Top 40 radio hits and are sung by and for young children. Join Festival favorites from the Banninger family for this karaoke session just for kids!
The Kansas Wesleyan University Faculty Duo is an active group of performers and educators in the Salina community that shares their passion for music and the performance of the violin and the piano. The Faculty Duo features a diverse repertory, highlighting music from the Americas, especially from their home country, Brazil.
Born and raised east of the Los Angeles River, Las Cafeteras remix roots music and tell modern-day stories of Latino and immigrant lives. Using traditional Son Jarocho instruments like the jarana, requinto, quijada (donkey jawbone), and tarima (a wooden platform), Las Cafeteras sing in English, Spanish, and Spanglish and meld styles, from rock to hip-hop to rancheras. Las Cafeteras use music as a vehicle to build bridges among different cultures and communities and create “a world where many worlds fit.”
A singer/songwriter/keyboardist with deep musical DNA, Rudy Love Jr. has developed a distinctive voice, giving his all with every performance. Seamlessly blending R&B, soul, funk, pop, and rock, Rudy is bringing his full band to the Festival mainstages.
Mattson and Weaver a long-time Salina folk duo, will rove throughout the Festival. Look for them amongst the bustle, or take a break for some of their music in an out-of-the-way shady spot.
Mike will be writing notes for festival-goers on postcards and his 1950s Royal manual typewriter.
Relativity Brass is a Nola-style brass band playing soul classics, re-imagined modern pop, and original music. Catch them on the mainstages and roving through the park!
Hedge People, the Recycle Cycle, and more. Richard Renner is bringing his wacky bag of tricks to the Festival this year! Each day, visitors will experience new characters and opportunities to interact. Why have a little fun when you can have TOO MUCH?!
Friends of the River Foundation’s river puppets are on the loose at the Festival. Watch for their flowing 25-ft River Puppet and Bella Beaver, Bartholomew Bullfrog, Mr. Great Blue Heron, and Edna C. Channel Cat.
Salina Central High School’s Jazz Combo is a student-centered learning ensemble-driven by the question “How do we create an entertaining program?” Come listen and enjoy these young musicians playing America’s art form of jazz.
Now celebrating an impressive 137 years, this hometown band plays from the great American songbook and much more.
Led by the inimitable Eddie Creer, this ensemble will display surprising set choices, arrangements, and vocals.
Sally and The Hurts is an Americana Roots band from north-central Kansas that brings award-winning lyrics, beautifully crafted violin, haunting theremin, and woodsy upright bass to the stage.
StatuEscapade™ Statues are a work of art and more! What looks like a classic Greek or Roman statue when still becomes a modern scene-stealer when moving. Their absurd antics will make a grand impression as they interact directly with guests, then freeze motionless for minutes on end! It is art imitating life and life imitating art and both having a good laugh!
Brooklyn-based SunDub, an inventive and collaborative mix of New York City musicians, offers a classic reggae repertoire peppered with soul and funk selections. Joanna Teters’ commanding and smoky lead vocals blend seamlessly with the super-tight arrangements of the SunDub rhythm section. The result is a standout expression of reggae’s classic undulating pulse and lush subterranean grooves, reinvented for Festival listeners of all ages and fans of all genres.
Tamara Howe School of Dance performs specially prepared dances to Ayllu’s music. Catch them at the Eric Sein Stage and Stage II!
Bring the whole family to hear Thad’s good time songs and unique instruments featuring: ukulele, harmonica, bucket bass, jaw harp, washboard, one-stringer, and homemade percussion. Hop on board for a harmonica train ride, crow with Chicken Joe, dance with Pumpkin Jack, and join the Jug Band Jam! Don’t miss this fun-loving performer, songwriter, and teaching artist.
Salina’s own horned-based party band always has something new to offer – great vocals, amazing percussion, and a feel-good vibe.
The Box Turtles have been stomping around Kansas for many years now, progressively making more and more noise along their way. We are a group of guys trying to find as much fun as music will grant us. Like many Turtles before us, we enjoy sunsets and tasty beverages at the end of a long day. Music is our passion; we are following it to our fullest extent.
Brooklyn-based five-piece band The RT’s are known for their eclectic take on rock n’ roll, which mixes punk rock energy, horn-drenched soul & precise musicianship with a lighthearted but sincere delivery.
“The RT’s are the pizza of bands. You’re always in the mood for it,” – Rachael Price (Lake Street Dive)
Festival favorites Johnna and John Perry interact with the crowd while twisting and turning 100% natural rubber balloons into artistic 3-D creatures and structures of EPIC proportions. Look for them throughout the park, especially in Riverside.
Voler (vo-lay) – Thieves of Flight, Kansas City’s premier aerial performance collective, is an edgy and experimental collaboration of aerial dance and acrobatics. Their performance features performances aerial silks, straps, hammock, lyra (hoop), aerial yoga, and contemporary dance. They will delight you with gravity-defying acts that steal your breath (and perhaps your heart).
Would you like to perform on one of our stages at a future Smoky Hill River Festival? Fill out an application and submit to be considered for next year’s event.