NIBA News & Articles


2017 NIBA Officers & Board of Directors

· President:           Kim Kraemer    (312-730-7469)


· Vice President:  Tom Gerber     (815-312-3964)


· Treasurer:           Cindy Kline      (224-569-6210)                     

· Secretary:           Mary Krasko    (815-879-2414)                


Board Members

Jim Berkland            630-479-6610

Bill Fulton                815-673-8694

Joyce Kraemer

Rich Krasko             815-879-2414 

Dave Erickson          630-746-1445





Please make all submissions for this newsletter by the 15th of each month to Send all printed copy and photos to:  NIBA, PO Box 310, West Dundee, IL 60118. This newsletter is copyrighted by the NIBA. 


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Including (but not limited to) member submissions, bio/song of the greats


NIBA Dates to Remember:


 Mar 1-4: Shorty’s Strickly Bluegrass Festival

 Jun 1-3: Bluegrass Festival

              of Northern Illinois

              (Hosted by the NIBA)


Put the Bluegrass Festival

of Northern Illinois

on your calendar!






Call to Start a New Bluegrass Jam

in the

Hampshire/Huntley Area!




Russ Ginn of “Bluegrass Escape” is excited about moving to the area but is not aware of any periodic gathering of the area’s greatest bluegrass pickers and singers.


Email Russ at if you would enjoy a new jam session in this area and include your preference for a day and time, and any other item you deem important for a fun and enjoyable jam.


Further any suggestions about a potential gathering place for the jam would be greatly appreciated.


Finally, please pass the word on to anyone in the Hampshire/Huntley area who you think would be interested.


Thank you so very much any help is appreciated!

Russ Ginn






Local Bluegrass Radio:


Strictly Bluegrass & When Country Wasn't Cool with Larry Robinson returns to the airwaves of WCSF 88.7 after a holiday break. The shows are heard every Sunday from Noon til 2pm (CT) at 88.7 fm locally (Joliet, Il) or world-wide on direct requests and comments to

Text Box: Note from your Pres.

Greetings to our Bluegrass Community!

The NIBA festival has been renamed to the Bluegrass Festival of Northern Illinois. The board decided to do this to promote a greater attendance outside of the NIBA. As well the NIBA membership fees do not support the cost of the festival which requires us to change how the festival is funded. We are working on getting festival sponsors and a gate fee. These changes will allow us to bring one or more National Touring bands into the festival to complement our member bands. This year we will feature the extremely talented Eric Lambert, next year we will be featuring Special Consensus. As well we will have other great member bands.
Please be sure to attend this year’s festival and encourage your friends/family to attend as well!

If your band has an article about your band that you would like published in our newsletter, send it on in! We are always happy to spread the word about our local talent.

The Triumph Jam has had a lower number of musicians and attendance these past few years. Please come out and support the Triumph Jam that has been going on for several decades.  Let’s not lose any of these great jams!

Spring is here and summer is around the corner with lots of great festivals and other events. Please support the local Bluegrass musicians and related events by attending! They cannot happen without a sufficient attendance! 

Kim Kraemer
President, Northern Illinois Bluegrass Association 
Text Box: ** Local Band Profile **


By Mike O’Cull, independent music journalist. 

    Fox Crossing Stringband is a four-member, six-instrument, and all-female bluegrass group from Chicago that’s made quite a splash around the Midwest region since forming in the Fall of 2016. The group plays traditional material, original songs, and grassed-up covers of popular artists ranging from Dolly Parton to Rod Stewart to The Rolling Stones. Fox Crossing has been winning new friends and fans at every show with this approach and why not? Great songs, quick picking, and sweet-as-soda-pop vocal harmonies combined with an entertaining stage vibe and energy are always a winning combination. 
    The four musicians in Fox Crossing Stringband are Allison Branch on guitar and vocals, Cassie Lynn Brooks on dobro, banjo, and vocals, Beth Earl on bass and vocals, and Despina Pafralides on fiddle, mandolin, and vocals. Together, they have the kind of organic musical chemistry that is impossible to manufacture. No music has been released yet but a debut record is expected by the end of 2018. 
    The first gig was at the Winter Roots Festival in February of 2017. It was a big hit and led to appearances at other impressive shows including the Frankfort Bluegrass Festival, Summer Stomp, Shoe Fest, the East Troy Bluegrass Festival, and the CU Folk Festival. The band has also performed at A-List Chicagoland clubs like Schuba’s, Martyrs’, and Fitzgerald’s. Already in 2018, the group is booked at the John Hartford Memorial Festival, the Ladies of Bluegrass Festival, and a whole lot more. These four will be bringing the high and lonesome wherever they go, along with a driving groove and the kind of songs careers are built upon. 
For Despina Pafralides, Fox Crossing is a dream goal come true. “Wanting to form an all-female bluegrass band was one of the reasons I started playing fiddle about 7 years ago,” she says. “Im lucky to know and be able to perform with such talented musicians. I couldn’t be happier that it's all coming together in Fox Crossing Stringband. I'm really looking forward to what the future of this band will be.”

Indeed, the future looks pretty promising for this bunch. With an ever-filling calendar of gigs and a debut release on the horizon, Fox Crossing Stringband is in an excellent position to level up and develop a larger audience. This is still an emerging band but one that punches above its weight, and that bodes well for the next couple of years. The reception these women have already received is also a good sign. Time will tell, as it always does, but there are a lot of people hoping to see Fox Crossing go national. Fans of progressive and compelling acoustic music will want to seek Fox Crossing Stringband out this summer on the festival circuit. Consider this your official invitation to the ground floor of something great. 

Visit the official Fox Crossing Stringband website at 
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