New folk and bluegrass music festival coming to Lawrence in August

photo by: Dylan Lysen

Abe & Jake's Landing, 8 E. Sixth St., will host the inaugural Kaw River Roots Festival in August. Mike Hannah, organizer of the festival, said he hoped to bring in 15 to 20 Americana, folk and bluegrass acts.

A new musical festival will be coming to Lawrence this summer, and its promoter has high hopes that it will become a signature event.

In launching what will be known as the Kaw River Roots Festival, local entertainment promoter Mike Hannah said he wanted to make Lawrence the Midwestern capital of Americana, folk and bluegrass music.

“That’s one of the main goals of this festival,” said Hannah, who owns and operates Hookset Marketing & Entertainment LLC. “To have Lawrence plant a flag in the ground as a center for roots music.”

Hannah first announced the festival Wednesday, which was New Year’s Day, on social media outlets. He told the Journal-World on Friday that the inaugural event was scheduled for Aug. 29 at Abe & Jake’s Landing, 8 E. Sixth St.

Hannah said he was teaming up with Mike Logan, owner of several Lawrence music venues, to establish the festival. They hope to bring in 15 to 20 up-and-coming regional acts and possibly one national headliner to perform during the daylong event.

“That’s the plan going into the future, is to bring in some national acts and pull in some people outside of Lawrence (to attend the festival),” he said.

The festival is currently negotiating with musical acts to perform at the event, and Hannah said he hoped to release an initial lineup of some of the performers in February and the full lineup in June.

While the festival plans to start with Americana, folk and bluegrass music, Hannah said he may work to expand the musical genres in the future to provide “a little something for everybody.”

Along with Abe & Jake’s Landing — which will provide four stages for the musical performances — Hannah said The Bottleneck, 737 New Hampshire St., and Lucia Beer Garden & Grill, 1016 Massachusetts St., would host late-night musical performances. The festival also plans to have craft beer and food trucks available.

Although the festival would be new to Lawrence, Hannah and Logan are not. Hannah said he and Logan have teamed up to bring many acts to Lawrence and have plenty of experience to help establish a long-lasting music festival.

“This is something that I’ve always wanted to do and I thought Lawrence needed it,” Hannah said. “I hope to turn this into a long-term project.”

Hannah said he expected tickets to go on sale in February. More information can be found on the festival’s website,

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