Bluegrass returns to Naperville, Illinois

Kim and Joyce Kraemer

Illinois grassers recall the festivals that ran in Naperville, starting in 1986. They were managed by Terry and Jan Lease, who retired from the bluegrass scene in 2014.

The Leases had been active in promoting bluegrass events throughout Illinois, and in Missouri, Indiana and Ohio as well. At the time of their retirement, they expressed a desire that someone would take up the mantle and continue the legacy they had created. But for the past five years, no one did.

Well, this week came the announcement that the Naperville Bluegrass Festival will be returning in March of 2020, under the direction of Kim and Joyce Kraemer. Kim has been involved in Illinois bluegrass for many years, and is the current President of the Northern Illinois Bluegrass Association (NIBA), and editor of its monthly newsletter. He and Joyce have formed a 501(c)(3) non-profit called Midwest Bluegrass, and plan to redirect any profits they realize into promoting future events.

Though they aren’t affiliated with the Leases, the Kraemers are hoping to resurrect other shows that Terry and Jan had put on during their 20 plus years in the business.

Their debut Naperville Bluegrass Festival will be hosted at the same location as the previous event, so it will be familiar to folks who remember going from its early days. It will be held March 27-28 at the Naperville Marriott Hotel, with special room rates available for festival goers. Jamming rooms will be set up both days where pickers are welcome to play on into the wee hours.

Booked to perform are Bobby Osborne, Special Consensus, The Farm Hands, The Baker Family, and Circus No 9. Full details can be found online.

Best of luck to Kim and Joyce Kraemer. Here’s hoping they find success in Naperville and beyond!

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.