Organizers of the long running Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS have announced that Chris Jones will serve as the new curator of their NewSong Showcase. As they look forward to the 49th annual festival in 2020, their songwriting competition sees its first new manager in 25 years.
Chris is, of course, a regular face here at Bluegrass Today for his weekly humor column that has run since we launched in 2011. He is also well known from his time leading his own group, Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, which he has maintained for well over 20 years, with his lead singing and songwriting at the forefront. Many bluegrass lovers know him as well from his regular stints as host on SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction, channel 62.
In addition to being a popular bluegrass festival, the September Walnut Valley Festival is host to several highly selective instrumental competitions, including the National Flat-Picking Championship, and the International Finger-Style Guitar Championship. Pickers line up as well to enter the mandolin, dulcimer, banjo, autoharp, and fiddle contests.
Jones will take over the NewSong Showcase from Kelly and Donna Mulhollan, who perform as Still on the Hill. The Mulhollans have managed the competition this past 25 years, having taken over themselves for Crow Johnson, who had succeeded Aileen and Elkin Thomas contest founders who ran it in the early days.
Ten categories are available in which aspiring songwriters can compete:
- Songs about Winfield
- Feelin’ Blue
- Sweet Memories
- Love Songs
- Better World
- None of the Above
Bart Redford, Walnut Valley Association Executive Director, welcomes Jones to the staff while saying goodbye to two old friends.
“On behalf of Walnut Valley Association, I want to express our gratitude to Kelly and Donna Mulhollan, who did such a fantastic job for so many years with the NewSong Showcase. We are also incredibly pleased that Chris has now agreed to take on this project. They say that, ‘if you want to see that something gets done, find someone who is busy doing a lot of things.’ I think that definitely applies to Chris, who excels in so many different areas, as a talented songwriter and musician, as well as a broadcaster and writer. We are thrilled to have him on board.”
Full details on the 2020 Walnut Valley Festival, scheduled for September 16-20, can be found online.