Bishop Hill’s Midsommar Music Festival will return Saturday, June 22th with a strong line-up of musical performers. In Sweden, Midsommar is one of the most important days of the year, rivaling Christmas with its festive spirit and traditions. Given Sweden’s long, dark winters, it is not surprising that the arrival of the longest day of the year is a reason to celebrate. Bishop Hill honors its Swedish roots by hosting its own Midsommar celebration. Highlights of this all-day event include Main Stage performances, a Swedish Maypole celebration, and an Old-Fashioned Barn Dance.
The free Main Stage performances in the village park gazebo will begin at 11 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. This year’s lineup includes Black Hawk Pipes and Drums, Orion Community Band, Jazz on the Side, and the Norwegian Bachelor Farmers. Black Hawk Pipes and Drums has been performing reels, jigs, and slow airs since 2000. The appearance of the Orion Community Band continues our practice of featuring Henry County’s town bands. Jazz on the Side returns to Bishop Hill to entertain the crowd with their big band standards and jazz selections. Kyle and Dave, the Norwegian Bachelor Farmers, have been entertaining audiences for over two decades with their eclectic blend of upbeat Scandinavian folk music, humor, and storytelling.
Immediately following the Main Stage performances, everyone is invited to decorate the Maypole with flowers and to join the procession. Accordionist Ernie Sandquist will lead the Maypole procession. It will begin in the park and end at the Colony School where visitors can join in the Maypole dancing and have refreshments provided by the Bishop Hill Vasa Lodge. Later, at 6 p.m., there will be a barn dance at the Colony School with Cloud Nine and caller Gail Hintze. Admission to the barn dance is $5 per person.
The Bishop Hill Heritage Association will also be having its annual Rabarber Fundraiser. The BHHA will be serving homemade rhubarb baked goods, with coffee and lemonade, at the Steeple Building Museum front porch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Proceeds from this fundraiser will be used to support BHHA activities.
The Vasa National Archives, a short block from the park, will be offering a Midsummer Respite featuring drinks, snacks, and hands-on activities for the kids. The public is welcome to view exhibits and enjoy some light refreshments. Children can enjoy the Magic of Midsummer, in which kids can help measure and mix ingredients in various household science experiments to see what happens. The Vasa National Archives will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Midsommar Music Festival is sponsored by the Bishop Hill Arts Council, Bishop Hill Heritage Association, Bishop Hill State Historic Site, Bishop Hill Old Settler’s Association, Bishop Hill Vasa Lodge #683, and area businesses. Partial funding for this festival is provided by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation. For directions and more info, visit www.bishophillheritage.org , call 309-927-3899, visit the Bishop Hill Heritage Association Facebook page, or email email@example.com.