Banjo Fest 2017 September 7-9

During the weekend of September 7th thru 9th, the focus of the banjo world will be on Oklahoma City as the American Banjo Museum honors the 2017 inductees into their Hall of Fame with three days of banjo-centric events.  Honors for this year’s inductees – John McEuen, Tony Trischka, Roy Clark, Paul Erickson and Joel Walker Sweeney have been a year in the planning and promise something for every musical taste.

“Each year we strive to honor banjo’s best of the best from both the past and the present and this year is no exception,” said Johnny Baier, executive director, American Banjo Museum. “Like past inductees, each of this year’s honorees has displayed a lifelong commitment to the banjo and changed the way the public sees and hears America’s instrument.”

Festivities begin on Thursday, September 7th with an evening reception at the American Banjo Museum welcoming Hall of Fame honorees and guests.  The evening will feature live music - including a special performance by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band founding member, JOHN McEUEN as well as the presentation of the prestigious ABM Awards of Excellence.  

The main event takes place the following evening when inductees and guests venture to the spectacular VAST at the top of the Devon Tower in downtown OKC for the 2017 American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.  Always a highlight of the banjo year, in addition to a reception, dinner and the award presentations themselves, this formal event will feature musical performances by Tony Trischka, John McEuen, Paul Erickson, Gary Davis and Bob Carlin.  In addition to Hall of Fame honors for evening’s special guest of honor, Oklahoma’s own Roy Clark, presentation of the annual Jack Canine Award will go to internationally known banjo collector Jim Bollman.  The major benefactor of the museum, Mr. Canine selected this year’s recipient based on Bollman’s decades long commitment to the preservation of the banjo’s colorful history.  

The party continues at noon the following day at the museum with informal performances by Paul Erickson and Gary Davis as well as an historical banjo presentation by noted scholar and performer, Bob Carlin.

The performance jewel of the weekend takes place on Saturday evening, September 9th at 7PM when the second annual BANJO FEST concert takes the stage at the Hudiburg Chevrolet Performing Arts Center at Rose State College in Midwest City.  Starring the amazing KRUGER BROTHERS, other performers include four-time national banjo champion, GARY “BISCUIT” DAVIS, and the jazz banjo trio of Paul Erickson, Lance Dieckow and Johnny Baier known as THE BANJO SUMMIT.  Following the concert, the weekend concludes with a post-concert Afterglow party at the American Banjo Museum from 10PM until midnight.

“Our museum and Hall of Fame celebration brings people from around the world to Oklahoma City,” said Baier. “During this special weekend, the banjo spotlight is on our city and, as all of our Hall of Fame weekend events are open to the public, it’s a great opportunity for Oklahoma City to show its support.”

Previously, the National Four-String Banjo Hall of Fame was established in 1998 to honor jazz age four-string banjo pioneers as well as the contemporary artists, educators, manufacturers and promoters who carried on the traditions of their predecessors. The American Banjo Museum was, in its infancy, an extension of that Hall of Fame. In the years preceding 2014, the Hall of Fame honored 71 individuals and entities in the four-string banjo world whose career accomplishments might have otherwise gone unrecognized.

As the museum grew to embrace all types of banjos and playing styles, it became clear that the Hall of Fame should evolve as well. As such, in 2013, the American Banjo Museum Board of Directors voted to establish an annual performance category to honor all styles of five-string banjo playing as well as opening the other previously four-string banjo exclusive non-performance categories to all types of banjos. With this move the American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame was established.

At the American Banjo Museum, the artistry that goes into crafting highly ornate instruments and the skill and talent that goes into playing them is on full display.  The American Banjo Museum brings history and art together in a song hundreds of years in the making.  

HALL OF FAME EVENTS ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!  For tickets, prices or more information on the Hall of Fame weekend, upcoming events, or to become a member of the American Banjo Museum, visit or call (405) 604-2793.

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12 Jul 2017

By Michelle Brock