These Louisiana natives crisscross the country bringing zydeco music and hours of dancing wherever they go. With generations of zydeco music in their blood and Keith on the accordion to lead the way, this family band will remind you why you love zydeco or help you discover that you do. Their annual Saturday night set in the dance tent will keep you on your feet until sunrise.
Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys
Ryan Montbleau Band
Binghamton’s homegrown rockers with Americana/folk proclivities bring an energy to live performance that shakes the dance floor and lights up the eyes of the audience. Even when they slow things down, an electricity fires through Driftwood’s musical delivery. Flying fiddle, swift banjo, thumping bass, and a guitar that leads down many melodic paths, their road-tested sound will whip you into a good old-fashioned frenzy.
Sim Redmond Band
Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad
This reggae powerhouse group mixes sunny melodies with hard-hitting drums and bass lines that keep the crowd moving. Their stage presence is palpably rowdy, and we can’t deny their cool. It emanates from the chunky bass lines and the success they have gained through extensive touring. See the American reggae sound flourish in the skillful hands of GPGDS.
Preston Frank & His Zydeco Family Band
The Campbell Brothers
Big Mean Sound Machine
BMSM formed in 2009 with one goal: to create music that stimulates both body and mind. Today, they are a collective of over 15 analog artists bringing together musical languages of West Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and North America to create a lush bed of rhythm and harmony that embraces even the most hard-core fans of both traditional funk and avant-garde jazz. The polyrhythmic experience of a BDSM show is not to be missed!
When turntables and live instrumentation collide, guided by explosive hip-hop lyrics from a duo of top-tier wordsmiths, you’ve got the Gunpoets. Thick bass lines, heavy-hitting drum beats, and enough energy to get you moving no matter your conscious state, these guys want your attention, so listen up!
The Blind Spots
This female-fronted five-piece moxy rock band features eclectic vintage keyboard sounds, bold electric guitar stylings, and force-of-nature vocals from lead singer Maddy Walsh. Never will you see a group having more fun together both onstage and off as this powerhouse band from Ithaca, New York.
In Brazil, “galera” traditionally referred to the most popular place in a football stadium, the cheap seats where the most excited fans gathered. Now it means “a big group of friends.” Each one of Uma Galera’s band members hails from a different country. Their unique blend of perspectives and rhythmic styles unite with influences from Cumbia to Murga and funk to bossa nova. Listen to this group, fueled by friendship and communicating unity.
Walter Mouton & The Scott Playboys
His signature accordion style has been studied by Cajun greats and his dedication lived for 35 years straight in a weekly gig at La Poussiere Cajun Dancehall. Mouton plays a fluid style of Cajun music meant for dancing. He’s a cult legend in Creole, Cajun, and zydeco circles — come see why!
Taina Asili y la Banda Rebelde
New York–based Puerto Rican songstress, activist, and band leader Taina Asili sings a defiant song of resistance in the face of oppressions she will not stand. Joy finds its place alongside struggle in Asili’s Afro-Latin, reggae, and rock sounds. She has joined national tours in protest of the Trans Pacific Partnership, performed for the recent Women’s March, and continues to brandish her stunning vocals in the name of justice.
The Town Pants
Samite of Uganda
Danielle Ponder & The Tomorrow People
“Soul music is something that you feel. It gives you goose bumps.” The words of Danielle Ponder ring true to the experience of her powerful live performances. The Tomorrow People, her stellar band, refer to the future of soul and the power of artists to elevate one another. Get lifted on the sound of this dynamo Rochester, New York, band.
Mac Benford & Up South
Clawhammer banjo player Mac Benford is a holy name in the halls of Appalachian and authentic mountain music styles. He has helped preserve these traditions through string-band music for over 40 years and has storied skill to this day. He not only wows onstage, but has offered his knowledge as an instructor in the continued effort to help these musical traditions thrive.
Syracuse reggae with powerful vocals from Jessica Brown, this eclectic group drives a steady beat that reveals the decades of musical experience its members can claim. They’ve got sunny numbers to help you remember it’s summertime and tracks that thump like spring thunder. Dynamic percussion sets the pace and Brown soars over each song with inspiring grace.
Stone Cold Miracle
LaTrece Stevenson is a gospel-inspired vocalist so effortlessly spine-chilling that you’ll have goose bumps even in the summer heat. This band, comprised of Ithaca-based music-scene veterans and rooted in soul music, takes the audience along on just the funky ride you’re looking for.
Keith Secola & The Wild Band of Indians
Keith Secola is a member of the Anishinabe Nation and leader of The Wild Band of Indians. He combines folk rock and blues with Native American sensibilities, adding flutes, indigenous drums, and native chants to create a one-world musical vision which he has coined Native Americana. Keith Secola involves his audience in the magic of stories and music. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself part of a huge round dance at the end of an adventurous set with Secola.
The Cello and Hank Roberts: could be the name of a fairy tale, a very lively, spooky, jazzy fairy tale. Master of his instrument and fearless improviser, Roberts ambles from light string melodies to fierce compositions, speedy and wild. We can count on Hank to surprise, delight, and innovate in the fourth decade of his beautiful career as a cellist.
The Flying Clouds of South Carolina
Ithaca Bottom Boys
These young Ithacans have it out for the conventional and will chime, rap, scream, and yawn their way into your heart with barnyard anthems, boot-stomping ballads, and three-part harmonies. Self-described “experimental jam trance nature sounds,” this band of rogue gentlemen bring plenty of energy and swagger to a sound all their own.
Born into a legacy of struggle for Native American land rights, human rights, and defense of the environment as sacred, siblings Jeneda and Clayson Benally, from the Navajo Nation in Arizona, make up the passionate sound that is Sihasin. The heart of their bass- and drum-driven music is in the justice deserved by human beings and earth alike. The call of their voices sounds a universal cry for truth and equity to win the day!
Cortadito is a traditional Cuban Son quintet, which focuses on music of early Cuban origins from Son Montuno to Boleros and Bolero Son. This dynamic quintet brings you back almost 100 years ago, when Trio Matamoros and Ignacio Piñeiro ruled the airwaves, an era when popular music was Cuban and Son Montuno influenced the world over.
Master drummer and hoop-dancer from Polacca, Arizona, Moontee Sinquah beats out traditional rhythms and innovates as a teacher. Joy ushers from his face even in the fierce concentration of his complex dances. Watch Sinquah for a glimpse of unmatched skill and love of life, accompanied by his stunning group of dancers.
Richie and Rosie
Richie and Rosie are dynamic musicians performing gorgeous music rooted in the Americana tradition. With sweet harmonies featuring Rosie Newton’s elegant voice and glittering fiddle, and Richie Stearns’ spooky mantra-groove banjo, they expand the boundaries of traditional music. Together, they create a sound that is sometimes ethereal and sometimes just plain ol’ down home.
Roots and reggae music veteran Kevin Kinsella brings candid voice to the sounds of love, nature, and community. His distinctive voice and sweet guitar licks take you on a gentle ride. With a career spanning groups such as John Brown’s Body, 10 Ft. Ganja Plant, and The Tribulations, this time-tested leader has surely made his mark and continues to share his work in new ways to bring us light and serenity.
Country soul rejects no useful tool in its arsenal of dark expression — in the house of Johnny Dowd, drum machines and punk guitar tear the place apart and story puts things back together, even if there are cracks left in the walls from all the ruckus. His voice drives down the gravel drive with tires crunching and his collaborations with the likes of Anna Coogan and Brian Wilson showcase a loner willing to play nice if it serves the cause of the music at hand.
Jones Benally Family Dance Troupe
Three generations of Navajo/Dine traditional dancers, including two grandchildren just waist-high, dance to the rhythms of the earth, guided by world-champion hoop-dancer Jones Benally. See this family recall ancient ways of connecting to our land and one another through rounds of beautiful movement.
Community-minded reggae, inspired by dancehall, ska, dub, and more, Mosaic Foundation is fronted by Yao “Cha-Cha” Foli, whose high spirits could put a smile on the sourest face. Sway to the collective rhythm of a group of musicians who truly love to play together and hear the synthesis of their hard work in their joyful delivery of bold reggae music.
This indie label collective founded in Ithaca, New York, creates hip-hop that comes alive in their high-energy live performances. Ave Mack, DJ Cdz Nutz, Izzy B, and F1 combine forces to create the tight layer and memorable lyrical delivery that is...The Empire Kings.
The Dirty Pennies
Fall Creek Brass Band
Nonstop to Cairo
Post-punk. Rock. Ethereal and then thumping. Izzy True is that band you hear through the opening door of a bar and decide to walk inside. Izzy Reidy’s vocals are mesmerizing in their androgynous wandering. The sound knows where it’s going but might take the long way around. A level of comfort comes through, even in vulnerable revelation, perhaps because the band is made of family and dear friends. Signed to New Jersey label Don Giovanni, the band released album Nope last year and just embarked on a lengthy East Coast tour. Listen as they land on the GrassRoots stage.
With his haunting vocals and stunning guitar, Tenzin Chopak — along with expert bandmates Rosie Newton on violin, Angelo Peters on bass, and Greg Evans on drums — creates an experience not to be missed. There is a time-and-place quality to Chopak’s music, as if you could live in his songs, arrive in his melodies, and be somewhere truly stunning.
Jennie Lowe Stearns
GrassRoots is excited to bring you an Ithaca Underground curated block of performers includin Palleon, Rill Ghosties, Lady D and the Shadow Spirits, Wackgenius, and Robot Detective. Ithaca Underground is a local nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide the people of Ithaca and the surrounding communities with an all ages, radically inclusive environment for their do-it-yourself ambitions, ensuring that new and challenging music and art is available to all.
The Grady Girls
Traditional Irish music through the fingertips of these granddaughters of the Emerald Isle will have you dreaming of Celtic magic in no time. Raised in the Finger Lakes of New York with their Irish roots always at hand through story and study abroad, these cousins and sisters delight with their renditions of rollicking Irish tunes.
The Notorious Stringbusters
Vee Da Bee
Laila Belle plays sweet, classic country music that rocks as much as it rolls. Hailing from Trumansburg, New York, the band features Amy Puryear on vocals and acoustic guitar, Ward Puryear on electric guitar, Jason Shegogue on lap steel and electric guitar, Scott Nelson on bass, and Chris Ploss on drums. Listen for Amy’s serenely lilting vocals, but be prepared to give a few kicks of your cowgirl boots when their sly guitars take off!
Listening to Bronwen Exter feels like swimming in a dream. There’s silk, there’s weight, you lean in a little for the meaning. You could almost float, and then... it dissolves into the next scene. There, Exter meets you with more mystery, eerie soft vocals, and low-plucked guitar. Her band is always tight, her lyrics are poetry, and by the end of the set you might just figure something out about this dream we’re all swimming through.
Kenny T & Wildfire
A blend of rock, blues, and country, Kenny T & Wildfire are a whole lot of fun. Shake your hips, feel the twang of the country guitar, and kick back for some truly American entertainment.
We know “voice of an angel” is a cliché, but can we get away with it in this very special case? To marvel at the sound of Uniit’s voice is an awe-inspiring, hopeful experience, where the capacity of human beings to bring one another joy is on full display. Latin influences and country roots underlie the lyrical treasure that Uniit brings to the stage.
Folk-rock music with sweet vocal harmonies and the easy presence of folks who have played together for years, Calico Moon will sweep you into a dream where guitar licks and lilting lyrics lead the way.
Dead Sea Squirrels
They can lead a contra dance, help you get lost in sounds of the traditional South, weave Celtic-influenced guitar throughout, and nail a Cajun two-step, no problem! The Dead Sea Squirrels are versatile, buoyant, and a must-see act at this year’s festival.
GrassRoots Chamber Orchestra
A Sunday morning serenade is good for the souls of all GrassRoots goers! Sit in the Grandstand and listen to this local Orchestra bring in the final day of festivities and dance. A collection of some of the region’s finest classical musicians, led by Cayenna Ponchione, their symphonic beauty is an annual tradition held dearly in the hearts of many. Join their ranks!