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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Grammy Award-Winning Guitarist Bill Frisell to Headline 2023 Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival

Music lovers save the date: this year's Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival is taking place May 9-13 and features the Bill Frisell Trio as the headliner. Grammy award-winning guitarist Frisell was previously named one of America’s 21 most vital and productive performing artists. He has also been named "Guitarist of the Year" twelve times by Downbeat magazine and five times by the Jazz Journalist Association. 

Frisell has recorded 40 studio albums, with over 800 additional album credits from collaborations and compositions featured on other albums. During his long career, he has played alongside greats across many genres of music. Frisell’s guitar style combines jazz, avant-garde, modern bluegrass, country blues, and Americana.

The Bill Frisell Trio will perform after the Knox Jazz Ensemble on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at the Orpheum Theatre in Galesburg. The show begins at 7:00 p.m. Floor and balcony seats are free, while mezzanine seating costs $20. 

“The greatest guitarist alive is coming to Knox. Google it, he's every guitarist's favorite guitarist,” Andy Crawford, Knox College's managing director of jazz and instrumental programs, said. “If you’re a music fan, you don’t want to miss this concert.”

The Knox-Rootabaga Festival begins May 9, 2023, and features a school tour in Galesburg and Monmouth, and public performances at Knoxville High School, Galesburg Community Arts Center, and Galesburg Public Library throughout the week. For more information, tickets, and a full list of performances, head to 

The Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival began more than four decades ago as a unique collaboration between Knox, Galesburg, and the surrounding schools and businesses. The festival showcases performances by the Knox Jazz Ensemble, faculty, alumni, multiple junior high and high school bands, and guest artists. The festival is also the culmination of the Knox Jazz Year, a year-long series of concerts and educational experiences encompassing dozens of live events.

May 9, 2023
Knoxville High School • 7:00 pm
Lenard Simpson and the John Tate Trio Rootabaga School Tour Group
Free and open to the public

May 10, 2023
Galesburg Community Arts Center • 6 pm-10 pm
Galesburg JH Jazz Band
ROWVA HS Jazz Band
Canton HS Jazz Band
John Tate Solo Set
Cherry St Combo
Admission: $3

May 11, 2023
Galesburg Community Arts Center • 7:00 pm-10:00 pm
Knox Faculty and Friends Combo
Admission: $5

May 12, 2023
Galesburg Community Arts Center • 6:00 pm-11:00 pm
Galesburg High School Jazz Bands
Knox Alumni Big Band
John Tate Trio ft Lenard Simpson
Admission: $10

May 13, 2023
Galesburg Public Library • 10:00 am
Rootabaga Kids: John Tate Trio ft Lenard Simpson
Free and open to the public

May 13, 2023
Orpheum Theatre • 7:00 p.m.
Knox Jazz Ensemble and the Bill Frisell Trio
Free floor & balcony seats
$20 reserved mezzanine


The Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival is made possible by the generous contributions of dozens of private and business donors and major support from the Galesburg Community Foundation and the Greig-Post Fund.

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Printed on Saturday, May 18, 2024