Countless Music ExperiencesClick on the icons to visit the performer’s music sample libraries
Acoustic Eidolon is what happens when you cross a guitar with two necks and a cello with attitude! Colorado musicians Joe Scott on double-neck guitjo and Hannah Alkire on cello, have graced stages throughout the U.S., Australia, Europe, and Canada. These masterful artists are Festival favorites and continue to captivate audiences worldwide with their signature “new acoustic” sound, sharing boundless possibilities in blending Celtic, folk, world, and Latin influences.
After decades of playing Big Band music, Bobby Layne continues keeping the music of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s alive with “String of Pearls,” “In the Mood,” “Stardust,” and many other favorites.
“What we provide isn’t just musical entertainment,” lead vocalist and drummer Fred LeBlanc explains. “It’s an experience.”
Cowboy Mouth last mesmerized audiences at the 2001 River Festival and is back for a return performance. Their band’s live show is still the high-energy performance that keeps crowds coming back. Their roster is stronger than ever: a lineup of four rock ‘n’ roll veterans, all working together to stir the band’s unique gumbo of pop, big-easy blues, soul, punk, and redemptive rock ‘n’ roll.
Brandon and Teryn Draper are no strangers to the Smoky Hill River Festival. This year, the Drapers and their Drum Safari program partnered with SHRF to design and curate more audience participation activities specifically for kids in Artyopolis. Additions this year include a brand-new science show featuring Magic Bubbles, puppet shows, and the impromptu drum jams that make Drum Safari famous!
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!
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!
Music made by the Kansas-based band Haymakers comes from the intersection of blues, folk, bluegrass, country, and more. Dustin Arbuckle, a mainstay of the Wichita music scene, is joined by his band of esteemed bluegrass and folk musicians. With all members adding to the vocal blend, the Haymakers’ unmistakable appeal rests in its universality and diversity.
Have a tree hug with amazing real-life Hedge People! Introducing one of the planet’s most quirky, outrageous, and downright silly walkabout entertainment acts – The Living Topiary! Straight from the pages of a fairy tale, this human-shaped bush comes to life to walk, talk, and cuddle his way around the park.
This roving odyssey returns for the third year, combining a live DJ/turntablist, live drums, and audience participation. This working DJ station will circle the park all weekend and feature DJ JocMax, cash hollistah, and Brandon Draper, among others. Festival-goers of any age are encouraged to participate in the spontaneous creation of freestyle hip-hop, drumming, and dancing.
Jarabe Mexicano invites audiences on a joyride through a versatile songbook of Mexican folk as well as rock ’n’ roll, Tex-mex, Latin rock, and reggae-cumbia. Performing on stringed folk instruments accompanied by lively percussion, Jarabe’s dramatic, harmonized vocals in Spanish and English have gained them admiration from audiences across the country.
Kyshona (Kuh-SHAUNA) Armstrong, a music therapist gone rogue, has a natural gift for using music to tap into emotion. She began her career working in mental-health hospitals and correctional facilities, writing music with her patients, and using it to redirect behaviors and emotions. Kyshona soon found the need to write music independently, to process her daily experiences with clients. Audiences will find a common thread of overcoming, hope, and empowerment in her songwriting and storytelling, showcasing vocal stylings reminiscent of Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and Al Green.
Steve Treder brings giant bubbles and stilt walking all the way from the California coastline! With the help of a scientifically formulated bubble solution, you’ll witness one of nature’s thinnest and strongest geometric shapes. Performances include the cloud of tiny bubbles, bubble manipulation, bubbles inside of a bubble, giant bubbles, and a person in a bubble!
With his legendary trombone skills and a crew of skilled musicians from Kansas City, Marcus Lewis delivers modern jazz for music lovers of all ages at the Smoky Hill River Festival. Notable artists that Lewis has performed with over the years include Aretha Franklin, Prince, Janelle Monáe, and Bruno Mars.
With over a decade of sideshow entertainment-industry experience, Martika is one of the most in-demand sideshow performers in the Midwest. From designing her own stunts to teaching classes and workshops, Martika eats, sleeps, and breathes sideshow entertainment.
The Phantom Blues Band is an internationally renowned two-time Grammy Award-winning group. These six men have contributed to blues and rock ‘n’ roll musical history as session players and sidemen with Taj Mahal, Joe Cocker, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, John Fogerty, Elton John, Gregg Allman, Ziggy Marley, The Rolling Stones and many more. The Phantom Blues Band explores everything from Texas blues to Memphis soul, with an injection of reggae for good measure.
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.
The Sunset Sinners are a collection of four of the region’s finest musicians, playing whisky-barrel rock and a fusion of Southern & 70’s rock with red dirt country. The Sinners are super high energy performing their own originals along with Sinnerized classics! Their single and music video for their original song, “Always Time for One More Beer” has garnered a lot of attention with the video going viral throughout the Midwest and Southern US & Eastern Europe. The Sinners will also have the dynamic Taylor Kline (guitar, harp, vocals) join them for a rocking classic ending to the 2020 Smoky Hill River Festival!
The Hooten Hallers are a high-energy blues-rock band known for hard-traveling and wild live shows, with a seemingly endless tour schedule. The myriad of influences in their music incorporates elements of rhythm & blues, rock ’n’ roll, honky-tonk, jazz, soul, and punk, with a thematic penchant for the strange and unexplained. Their live shows take listeners on a seamless ride from raucous blues on the lap steel and bass sax, to sweet three-part harmonies to a romping dance number.
Festival favorites Johnna and John Perry interact with the crowd while twisting and turning plastic balloons into artistic 3-D creatures, hats, and more, as they rove throughout Oakdale Park. Even the youngest Festival fans will be the stars, as these balloon masters deliver one-of-a-kind creations to enhance the Festival’s 45th year of arts celebration!
Would you like to perform on one of our stages at the Smoky Hill River Festival? Fill out an application and submit to be considered for next year’s event.