Music fest returns

The Lehigh Music Festival this weekend will feature "something for everyone" at the Elks Lake. Bands will play everything from bluegrass to country to rock.



June 8, 2021 - 9:59 AM

Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy. Photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Plant roots, and see what grows.

The Lehigh Roots Festival began seven years ago as a way to honor blues, folk and bluegrass music as well as enjoy the surroundings of Elks Lake.

The event has grown to celebrate all types of music and as such has changed its name to the Lehigh Music Festival.

The festival returns Friday and Saturday, with gates opening at 4 p.m. Friday. The first band takes the stage at 6 each night. There is a $10 admission fee, which is good for both days. Camping is available.

Several improvements have been made to the Elks Lake grounds, which will result in better views of the lake and more “usable ground” for the audience and activities. 

Organizers also spent more money on recruiting bands this year, landing groups they had tried to book for years. They also changed their fundraising method, offering special music events including a pub crawl and a dinner to raise money to pay for the bands.

The result is a very eclectic mix, from bluegrass and jazz to country to music from the 80s and 90s, and from the 2000s to more modern music. 

“We really try to listen to the community,” organizer Mike Jewell said. “That’s why we switched from a roots festival, so we could offer something for everyone.”

Jewell said the festival grew out of his desire to give back to the community, especially as he lost more and more of his eyesight. 

“Many times, when people have something happen to them, they want to turn it around and give something back or do an activity that makes them feel like they are still part of the community,” Jewell said.

“So, yeah, it’s kind of selfish for me. This whole blindness thing makes me want to do something, to stay a thriving part of the community and make an impact.”

THE LINEUP of bands includes:


6-7 Huff & Pritch

This duo brings a world-renowned fiddle player to get the party started. Jewell describes the opening act as “a weird musical experience.”

7:45 – 9:15 Grody Riggins

The band performs country and bluegrass with a 1970s feel. The Wichita band had been scheduled to perform at last year’s festival, but the show was modified because of the coronavirus pandemic and the band was not able to come.

10-12 The Juice

This Arkansas-based band will play hits from 70s funk up through the 90s. They describe themselves as “the world’s saxiest party band.”


6 -7 Sprout the Anti Hero

Sprout the Anti Hero is a singer/storyteller who comes armed with an acoustic guitar and a death-metal background. He’s flying solo, but has lots of experience playing with well-known bands.

Jewell describes his music as “Nickleback meets Dave Grohl.”

7:45 – 9:15 Terry Quiett Band

The Wichita-based band offers a different type of blues than has typically been offered at the Iola festival, Jewell said.