Viroqua will again be alive with the sound of great music when the Driftless Music Festival (DMF) celebrates its 7th anniversary on Saturday, July 14, 2018. Food vendors start serving at noon and music plays from 1 to 10 p.m. in Eckhart Park adjacent to the Vernon County Courthouse on Decker St.

Dedicated to the proposition that great cities have great music festivals, the DMF will, as usual, feature a diverse array of musical genres, all by some of the finest talent across the Midwest region and beyond. There is no admission fee to the Festival. The music starts at 1pm with The Full Monte Project, an Illinois-based four-piece specializing in instrumental deep-pocket feels with plenty of groove + soul. The group was founded in 2015, and has been comprised of several Northern Illinois University jazz students over the years.

At approximately 2:30 Miss Tess and the Talkbacks take the stage. From Nashville, Miss Tess and her band regularly steal the show at venues with something a little rowdier and more eclectic. Infused with classic country and honky-tonk, southern rhythm & blues, New Orleans jazz and swing, and sounds of swamp pop and early rock n’ roll, she is an embodiment of everything that it still home-grown in America.

Following Miss Tess is In BLACK ‘n WHITE, a Wisconsin Reggae, Rock ‘n Soul band takes command of the stage. Collectively this band brings over 250 years of experience to the stage for your enjoyment. Backgrounds in Jazz, Classical, Rock, R&B, Latin, and Reggae gives the band an eclectic seasoned approach. Add some smooth vocals and it all becomes an extraordinary mix for your listening and visual delight.

Our featured band comes all the way from Louisiana. Cedryl Ballou and the Zydeco Trendsetters will definitely get you out of your chairs and on the dance floor. A young but seasoned zydeco musician and singer, Ballou shifts easily from drums to accordion and vocals, fronting the Zydeco Trendsetters and touring extensively with regional Zydeco artists, including Andre Thierry, Corey Ledet, Rosie Ledet, Step Rideau and Soul Creole.

As the sun sets and the lights come on, a collection of unique performers bring this year’s festival to a close. Mila is a professional women’s vocal ensemble grounded in the harmonic traditions of Eastern Europe and Russia. The ensemble typically performs a cappella at concerts, vocal and cultural workshops, festivals, schools, and corporate and private events.

The group also collaborates with instrumentalists and dancers, for special performances. Food vendors at this year’s Fest will provide a delicious variety of options, including pizza, crepes, Jamaican food, hot dogs and brats, hamburgers, and tacos, as well as strawberry shortcake, smoothies, French pastries and other tasty desserts. All vendors utilize local and regional sources as much as possible for their offerings.

More than 90 sponsors and donors from the region underwrite the cost of the Driftless Music Festival so that fine musical offerings can be heard for free. More information about the Festival, or about becoming a donor to support the event, is available at driftlessmusicfestival.com or by email to driftlessmusicfestival@gmail.com

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