Americana singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan will perform at the Symphony in the Flint Hills concert this year. Tickets for the June 9 concert go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 3.
“We are really excited to have her,” says Christy Davis, executive director of the iconic event. "She will be a great fit for the Kansas City Symphony. She is classically trained but she’s an Americana artist. I had an opportunity to hear her live some time ago, and I was just blown away."
O’Donovan is well-known among progressive bluegrass fans as founder and lead singer for “Crooked Still.” She is currently touring with the trio “I’m With Her,” which includes Sara Watkins of Grammy-winning Nickel Creek, and Sarah Jarosz, a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter from Texas.
O’Donovan sang on cellist Yo-Yo Ma's “The Goat Rodeo Sessions,” and has performed with the Boston Pops Orchestra and the Utah Symphony Orchestra. Her songs have been featured on television soundtracks including HBO’s True Blood. And Allison Krauss recorded her song "Lay My Burden Down" on her 2011 album "Paper Airplane."
“Our music committee and the Symphony will work with her on a program,” Davis adds. “Usually with a guest artist, we work with some of their work which is orchestrated.”
Symphony in the Flint Hills, which draws about 7,000 music lovers each year, will take place June 9. The daylong event rotates between new and old sites in the large expanse of tallgrass prairie. This year, it will return to the 2014 site, Rosalia Ranch in Butler County.
“It’s a favorite among everyone, including our board and myself, and it has great landowners and a great ranch manager,” says Davis. “The view is spectacular. And the community has been so supportive this year. We worked a lot with Butler County and El Dorado, and they have welcomed us with open arms.”
Rosalia Ranch is a 10,000-acre working ranch with about 12,000 cattle. It’s about 170 miles west of Kansas City.
Selection of the site usually begins with a visit to make sure it looks good and, in this case, that it has recovered from the last time it hosted the Symphony, Davis says. But that’s not usually an issue as the organizers go to great pains to prevent damage to the land ahead of time.
“There’s not a lot of ‘restoration’ that goes on,” she added. “It’s in how the setup happens. In 2015, when it was at the National Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, we didn’t have a tire move anywhere without plywood under it because it was a wet year, and it takes 70 to 80 semi truckloads to set up. We take a lot of measures up front.”
The daylong event includes prairie walks, covered wagon rides, story circle, poetry, inspirational talks, a juried art exhibit and auction and stargazing. There is also a Flint Hills store as well as food and beverage options.
The day ends with a sunset evening concert by the Kansas City Symphony, followed by a party and dance.
Symphony in the Flint Hills debuted in 2006 as a way to heighten appreciation and knowledge of the Flint Hills tallgrass prairie and has sold out every year since.
General admission tickets are $95. Tickets are $50 for children under 12. They can be purchased online or at the Livestock Exchange Building, 1600 Genessee, or the Great Plains Nature Center in Wichita starting at 10 a.m. on March 3 only.
For more information, visit the Symphony in the Flint Hills website or call 620-273-8955.