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Walnut Valley Festival’s NewSong Showcase Under New Management


Winfield, Kansas–Organizers of the Walnut Valley Festival have announced that Chris Jones, front man for Chris Jones and the Night Drivers, is the new curator of the festival’s long-running NewSong Showcase.

Chris Jones, who has several times appeared at Winfield with the Night Drivers, is known as one of the hardest-working musicians in the business, maintaining a busy touring schedule as well as a writing and broadcasting schedule. He is a broadcaster for Sirius XM’s Bluegrass Junction and writes a weekly column for the website Bluegrass Today. Chris Jones and the Night Drivers have had thirteen #1 songs on Bluegrass Today’s weekly chart in recent years, including #1 song for the year in 2013. They have collectively won 16 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards, of which six have been awarded to Jones, including an award for Song of the Year that he received for “Fork in the Road” in 2007.

Last year fans at Winfield learned that Kelly and Donna Mulhollan, known musically as the duo Still on the Hill, would no longer be overseeing the songwriting showcase. The duo hosted the showcase for 25 years, after inheriting the job from Crow Johnson. Johnson, in turn, had succeeded Aileen and Elkin Thomas, who originally proposed the idea of a showcase for aspiring songwriters, and had gotten it up and running.  Over time, the Showcase has built up a solid following of supporters, and at the 2019 festival the Mulhollans were honored by festival organizers and fans alike.

The NewSong Showcase is a chance for aspiring songwriters to submit their work for review by a professional songwriter/artist, with a chance to appear on stage at one of two sets during the festival. It features ten categories, including songs about Winfield, Children, Religion/Spirit, Feelin’ Blue, Instrumental, Sweet Memories, Love Songs, Better World, Humor and None of the Above. This year entries may be made entirely online, allowing participants to upload their song and accompanying lyrics, rather than sending in CDs by mail. For additional info, check

WVA Executive Director Bart Redford: “On behalf of Walnut Valley Association, I want to express our gratitude to Kelly and Donna Mulhollan, who did such a fantastic job for so many years with the NewSong Showcase. We are also incredibly pleased that Chris has now agreed to take on this project. They say that, “if you want to see that something gets done, find someone who is busy doing a lot of things.” I think that definitely applies to Chris, who excels in so many different areas, as a talented songwriter and musician, as well as a broadcaster and writer. We are thrilled to have him on board.”


The Walnut Valley Festival, which will be held Sept. 16-20, 2020, in Winfield, Kansas, draws a crowd of 10,000-15,000 people to celebrate a blend of all kinds of acoustic music, including bluegrass, folk, Americana, Celtic, western, blues, jazz, swing, and more.