Photos by Carla Waters

Watseka Family Festival Committee members announce the Roots and Boots Tour of Sammy Kershaw, Aaron Tippin and Collin Raye will headline the 2021 event.

The Roots and Boots Tour featuring country music artists Aaron Tippin, Sammy Kershaw and Collin Raye will be the main headliner of the Watseka Family Festival in 2021.

The festival committee made the announcement Thursday evening. The event is scheduled for Aug. 26-28 and will be at Legion Park.

Committee member John Marshino said that while the committee was disappointed it had to cancel the 2020 festival they went right to work with plans for 2021.

“As of today we still have our full carnival booked,” he said of the 2021 event. “Our food vendors, craft and flea markets, Illinois Masonic Family ID Program, toddler olympics, Switch It up Gaming Trailer, car show, cow ship bingo, all the kids activities are going on like we had last year.

“We have a volleyball tournament and are adding a bag tournament. So we’ve got quite a bit booked for our three to four day event,” he said.

“But our big thing is our entertainment, starting with Friday night. Friday night is going to be a ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s night. We’ll start out with a band from south of Lafayette called Rock America. They are a Journey, Styx, Boston and Foreigner band. The Friday night headliner is Creedence Revived. That is a Creedence Clearwater Revival Tribute Band. They are phenomenal.

“Saturday the local Nick Lynch Band will open,” he said. “Following that is our biggest accomplishment we feel this year. That’s going to be our main headliner. We were able to sign the Roots and Boots Tour. That is Sammy Kershaw, Aaron Tippin and Collin Raye.”

Marshino said all are accomplished musicians. Aaron Tippin has five albums certified gold and one platinum. He has three number one hits “There Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong with the Radio”, “That’s as Close as I’ll Get To Loving You” and “Kiss This”, along with top 10 hits “You’ve Got to Stand For Something”, “I Wouldn’t Have it Any Other Way”, “My Blue Angel”, “Workin’ Man’s Ph.D”, “For You I Willl” and “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly”.

Sammy Kershaw ha three platinum and two gold albums and more than 25 singles that have been on the Top 40. Hits include “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful”, “Cadillac Style”, “Anywhere but Here”, “Haunted Heart”, “I Can’t Reach Her Anymore”, “National Working Woman’s Holiday”, “Vidalia” and “Love of My Life”.

Collin Raye also has top 10 singles including “Love, Me”, “In This Life”, “My Kind of Girl” and “I Can Still Feel You”.

“We’re honored to have this group,” Marshino said.

He said this is not three individual concerts. The three artists will come out and sing together, and then the three will break away and each one will come on stage alone to sing their hits. They will end the show with the three back on stage singing together.

“We’ve seen it. It’s exciting. It’s good. It’s going to last two to two-and-a-half hours,” he said.

Marshino said they are still working on logistics of the event, so stage times may change. They are working to have everything end by 11 p.m.

They are also wanting to keep the cost as low as possible. The festival general admission is going to be $5 and those attending the concerts will be charged an additional $5.

“For $10 I don’t think you can go wrong,” he said.

“We want to bring something good to the town,” Marshino said. “We want something, good. Something positive. We want people to come see Watseka.”

He said they are expecting a large crowd to attend the festival both nights. The festival committee has worked hard to make sure there is ample parking and a good flow to the event.

Committee member Jason Cahoe said this year the concert will be on the baseball field. The old girls softball field will be the carnival. “We are going to try to leave the main road of the park open,” he said. “So you can drive through the park and see what’s going on. You can park on the low road. We’re going to have a couple different gates.”

“We’re very proud of this,” Marshino said. “We were going after one of them (music acts), and we got three of them.”

More information will be provided as the festival gets closer and more activities are finalized. The committee has a Facebook page which has the latest information.