The Department of Music presents the annual Bluegrass and American Roots Festival workshops.

Notice: this information is for a past event.
Ticket Info: Free

The Department of Music presents the annual Bluegrass and American Roots Festival. This year, the festival will feature two nationally renowned bands - The Henhouse Prowlers, a Chicago-based bluegrass powerhouse that promotes the genre worldwide through its Bluegrass Ambassadors program and Never Come Down, a five-piece group from Oregon that blends modern and traditional styles of Bluegrass and Americana music. 

Please see below for a full schedule of events. Denison’s Bluegrass and American Roots Ensemble, directed by Adam Schlenker, will open each concert with a short set.


For ticketing questions, please contact the box office at 740-587-6220. The box office will be closed December 20 through January 4th. 

Friday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. in Swasey Chapel: Never Come Down 

Weaving together modern and traditional styles of bluegrass and Americana, Never Come Down is a Portland, Oregon-based 5-piece composed of Joe Suskind (guitar), Crystal Lariza (vocals), Brian Alley (banjo), Kaden Hurst (mandolin), and Ben Ticknor (bass). Their dedication to thoughtful songwriting and dynamic arrangements highlight polished technical skills and a commitment to listening to each other. Formed in 2018, the band’s self-titled debut arrived shortly thereafter, and their second album Better Late Than Never was released in 2021. They’ve toured internationally and have found acclaim from festivals and venues such as Iceland Airwaves, John Hartford Memorial Fest, Americanafest, FreshGrass, and RockyGrass. Ticketed event. 

Saturday, Feb. 17, from 12-3 p.m. in the Eisner Center: Workshops 

Workshops with Henhouse Prowlers and Never Come Down will begin at noon with a Band Mixer. Each of the band members along with Denison’s American Roots faculty will form pop-up bands with students and community members. Each band will rehearse for 45 minutes to work up a short set of music and then perform for each other. Musicians of all skill levels are welcome to participate and everyone is welcome to observe. No tickets required. 

Saturday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. in Swasey Chapel: Henhouse Prowlers 

Founded nearly two decades ago with the simple desire to play original and powerful bluegrass, this Chicago-bred quartet now finds itself at the intersection of performance, diplomacy, and education. 

Onstage, the group’s enthralling performances give audiences a sense of how much they love what they do. On record – including their latest offering, 2023’s Lead and Iron, released via Dark Shadow Recording – the band explores their collective life experiences through songwriting and intricate instrumentation. While bluegrass is the undeniable foundation of the Prowler’s music, the band bends and squeezes the traditional form into a keenly developed sound all their own. 

Working with the U.S. State Department and under their own nonprofit, Bluegrass Ambassadors, the Prowlers have toured over 25 countries across the globe. The group’s experiences with people and musicians across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East have shaped the band’s worldview and broadened the group’s direction toward bridging cultural gaps with music, educational programs, and workshops. Using traditional American music as a foundation, connecting folk music, customs, and history the world over, the Prowlers incorporate international elements into their already robust repertoire of unique traditional American music. 

Whether playing live or presenting seminars, wherever they are, the Henhouse Prowlers find and spread the commonality we share as human beings through the universal language of music. Ticketed event.

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