August has become synonymous with roots music in Lawrence. The fair has packed up and headed out of town, and we’re essentially in flux between major tours. This is when the fid pickers and the string pluckers come out to play. From a couple of major festivals to the business-as-usual local shows, there’s a lot to explore in Bluegrass this month. Don’t worry; there are some non-Bluegrass music events as well. Here are our best bets for August.
Abe & Jake’s / Lucia / The Granada | August 25-26
The big story this month is Kaw River Roots Fest. Normally we post events in chronological order, but we’re kicking off the list with the big show this month.
Spread across venues throughout Downtown Lawrence—including Lucia, The Granada, and the very scenic Abe & Jake’s overlooking the mighty Kansas River—the festival draws in big-name roots acts and puts them on stages alongside local bluegrass bands. Considering the clientele it attracts, this is perhaps the most laid-back festival to hit the region. Bring only good vibes, friends.
Bonus points: This event is family-friendly, and kids under 12 can attend for free.
This year’s lineup includes Molly Tuttle (sure to be a huge hit, as she sold out the Bottleneck at her last performance), Michael Daves and Jacob Joliff, Opal Agafia (a favorite and familiar face in Lawrence), as well as locals ranging from Unfit Wives (pictured above) to the Matchsellers.
You can get a full view of the lineup, as well as tickets, over on the festival’s website.
RIYL: Bluegrass festivals, kicking off your shoes and dancing
South Park | August 27
The other big roots music event to watch out for comes at the end of the month, just one day after Kaw River Roots Fest. The Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championships, less formally known as Fidpick, brings the best of the best. You don’t need a ticket for this one, just pull up a lawn chair and get familiar with some of the state’s most talented flatpickers, fiddlers, and harmonizers. You’ll enjoy the massive swarth of talent to feast upon, but what really draws folks in is the jam circles gathered under the trees in South Park. Again, this is a “good vibes only” kind of event.
RIYL: the sound of a fiddle floating through the air on a Sunday afternoon in the park
The Bottleneck | August 12
Bully, the moniker for Alicia Bognanno, might be one of the last good grunge acts on the planet. She’s studied it, devoured it, lived it. Because of her strong background in sound engineering, she knows how to get those perfect tones out of her guitar. Powered by her songwriting strengths, she’s kept fans coming back since her debut album, Feels Like. She’ll be joined by Bev Rage and The Drinks for this tour stop. Fans of guitar work and garage rock, you won’t want to miss this.
RIYL: Speedy Ortiz, Diet Cig, Soccer Mommy
The Granada | August 19
It’s not too often we get a lot of shows in for our Spanish-speaking friends, so make sure you’ve got this one on your calendar.
Hailing from Mexico City, Girl Ultra features Mariana “Nan” de Miguel sings almost exclusively in Spanish and has been wowing fans with her very smooth vocals over a Westernized pop aesthetic (mainly R&B). Most recently featured at this year’s SXSW, Girl Ultra’s knack for mixing a nostalgic sound with her cultural heritage is definitely turning heads.
RIYL: Tessa La, Silvana Estrada, Sotomayer
The Bottleneck | August 26
Our music cup will definitely runneth over the last weekend of August. Adding to the mix of an overflow of shows is this delightful fundraiser for Amplify Lawrence (a local rock camp that caters to a variety of genders). Trans-fronted rock-and-rollers The Creepy Jingles are taking the charge on this one, recruiting Mellowphobia and LYXE, as well as powerhouse drag performers Kansas Campbell, MsAmanda Love, and Jeni Tonic. DJ Chance Romance rounds out the bill, assuring that this is going to be a high-energy, must-see event for the season.
RIYL: Supporting trans kids who want to rock out
Other events to keep on your radar:
The Replay | August 3
The Bottleneck | August 11
The Replay | August 24
Lucia | August 26
Live Music Calendar
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