Bela Fleck among Miami University Regionals

Concert series announces 2016-17 lineup.

Miami University Regionals Artist Series will kick-off its 2016-17 season on Friday, Sept. 16, in Hamilton as banjo masters Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn return to perform at Parrish Auditorium.

This year’s nine-concert series will present several returning acts, along with a few artists that are new to the series. Some of the highlights will include Jim Messina, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and The Wailin’ Jennys, said Dr. Howard Epstein, director of the series.

“Artists like Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn and (bluegrass mandolin player) Sam Bush have played the series in so many different ways, but they are the kind of performers that have been cornerstones of the series for 27 years in some way, because they first came to the series in 1989,” Epstein said.

While it’s still early, he said, it could be a record year. “I don’t know yet, but we’ve already sold almost 200 season tickets between the Hamilton and Middletown campuses. Plus, there are some regular season ticket holders that haven’t purchased their tickets yet.”

“This year, all nine shows have the potential to do very well, artistically and financially,” Epstein said.

Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn have previously performed at Middletown once, he said, but Bela has played the series between Hamilton and Middletown 12 or 13 times.

With a solid season lineup of artists — from a strong mix of singer-songwriter styles to those that will feature a range of instrumental virtuoso — concerts will be offered at the Middletown and Hamilton campuses in a non-alcoholic listening environment.

“We can’t be everything to everybody, but you’ve got to give people a reason to make the drive from Cincinnati or Dayton, or even further. Last year, we had attendees from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan and Indiana. It’s not just guests from Butler County that are coming to our series,” Epstein said.

Other series performances at Miami Middletown’s Dave Finkelman Auditorium include: Jake Shimabukuro on Wed., Nov. 2; Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on Sun., Mar. 12; Rhonda Vincent and the Rage on Sat., Apr. 8 and The Wailin’ Jennys on Sat., Apr. 22. Ticket prices vary. Miami Middletown is located at 4200 N. University Blvd. Concerts will be held in Dave Finkelman Auditorium.

Additional performances scheduled as part of this year’s lineup at Miami Hamilton’s Parrish Auditorium include: Jim Messina on Fri., Oct. 14; The Milk Carton Kids on Sat., Oct. 29; Sam Bush on Sat., Nov. 5 and Balsam Range with special guests, Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley on Sat., Apr. 15. Ticket prices vary. Miami University Hamilton is located at 1601 University Blvd. Concerts will be held inside Parrish Auditorium.

All shows will begin at 7:30 p.m. at both locations.

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Contact this contributing writer at gmwriteon@aol.com.

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