Blue Sky Folk Festival Concert Lineup

2018 Featured Performers

Benjamin Franklin Strings 11:30am-11:50am
J Scott Franklin & Michael Bay Noon-12:45pm
Matt Watroba 1pm-1:45pm
Rachel & the Beatnik Playboys 2:15pm-3:15pm
Vicki Chew Band 3:45pm-4:45pm
Bill Lestock Band 5:15pm-6:30pm



Young musicians from the Cleveland area bring their music training to the folk music experience on the Blue Sky main stage, accompanied by Scott Franklin and Michael Bay. Come see the students as they venture into public performance and collaboration, and help light their fire for folk music. .



J Scott Franklin has played throughout America, Canada and Europe. But to him, it’s not about the place, it’s about the people. He is a poet who lassoes moments in time.  Currently, he is featured on season 2 in the nationally syndicated PBS “Songs from the Center.” Scott’s style is best described as Americana because it draws from nearly every American born style; Country, Rock, Bluegrass, Jazz, Folk, Blues.

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Michael Bay is a highly respected influence in the Northeast Ohio music community, best known in the jazz and blues scene in Cleveland and as guitarist in the Bad Boys of Blues. Michael’s career included being a guest guitarist on numerous CD’s, in live performances, and special events with artists both local and international.

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MATT WATROBA, Performing Artist and Emcee  1pm-1:45pm

Matt Watroba

Matt Watroba sings songs that you will feel and remember for a long time. You will love his music, you will love the journey that his music takes you on, and you will love the place that his music takes you to.

Many know Matt here as former producer/announcer at Previously he was known as the voice of folk music in Michigan for his 20-year stint at WDET-Detroit Public Radio.

Matt has come in contact with many aspects of folk music and culture, shaping a repertoire and presentation that is unique on stages across the state and country. He has shared the stage with some of our greatest performers, including Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Arlo Guthrie, Christine Lavin, Peter Yarrow, and Richard Thompson. Add Matt’s own special brand of humor and you are in for a most entertaining day.

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RACHEL & the BEATNIK PLAYBOYS  2:15pm-3:15pm

Rachel and the Beatnik Playboys are a delicious musical anachronism – Americana music of today that seems like it could have come from a time when milk came in glass bottles and doctors still made house calls.

“Soaring voice, audacious musicality” – Holly Gleason, Plain Dealer

Powered by singer-songwriter Rachel Brown’s multi-octave voice, fed by guitarist Dave Huddleston’s tasty licks and harmonies, decorated by the smooth grooves of string bassist Bill Watson and drummer Roy King, the band journeys through the musical landscape of country, jazz, blues and gospel on a trip you want to take over and over.

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VICKI CHEW BAND  3:45pm-4:45pm

Vicki Chew has been playing guitar and writing songs since she was 15. Since that time she’s written many songs and recorded three CDs – “Your Perfect Life” with Bill Lestock; “The Bells of St. Rose” featuring Jackie Warren, Peter Dominguez and Ron Godale; and “People in the Sun” with her current band mates, drummer Gary Naherny, Paul Lawson on bass and guitarist Dave Huddleston. According to Vicki, “I love performing. Love, love, love recording. But most of all I love to write a song!”

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THE BILL LESTOCK TRIO  5:15pm-6:30pm

Bill Lestock, flanked by Anthony Taddeo, percussion (left) and Andrew Bonnis, Bass (right)

Bill Lestock‘s mandolin playing and music are truly inspiring and different than all others in Northeast Ohio. Bill plays original instrumental mandolin music that is a compelling blend of bluegrass, old time, baroque and blues perhaps best defined as New Acoustic or Modern Acoustic. Accompanying musicians are Anthony Taddeo, percussionist and Andrew Bonnis, upright bass.

Bill’s mandolin offers a profound sound inspired from both the outside and inside world, woven from several walks of life. He was described by the late Martin Juredine, creator of the Barking Spider Tavern, as the “Great Enhancer,” an accomplished accompanying musician who paints a landscape to each song with everyone that he has played with.

He has performed with the groups Under The Tree, Mo Mojo, Cats On Holiday, Charlie Wiener, Clearfork Bluegrass Band, Wallace Coleman and others. The change from playing music full time to being hired on the Cleveland Fire Department in 1991 brought a new world of imagery to his music.

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Anthony Taddeo has toured North American and Europe extensively playing at the Bern Jazz Festival in Switzerland and Ciclo 1906 Jazz Fest in Spain. His versatility as a musician has also led him to record on more than 20 albums with an array of musicians and genres. He teaches drums and percussion at Cuyahoga Community College. Anthony is an active composer and arranger for projects in New York City and Cleveland. He is currently endorsed by Out of the Drawer Percussion as a performing artist.

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Andrew Bonnis has been a professional musician for 14 years. As a multi-instrumentalist, he has played with many bands spanning multiple genres including Long Road Home from Boulder, CO featuring Pete Wernick of Hot Rize fame on banjo, and he pairs with Christine King in Bonnis & The King in venues such as the American Roots Music Festival in Kent, Ohio.

 Videos           Website



Please donate to Northeast Ohio Musical Heritage Association to help ensure the vitality of folk music in Northeast Ohio!