Hope springs eternal for ‘Live on Winnebago’ revival

By Roz Weis

The streets of downtown Decorah may soon recapture a bit of the past.

A group of like-minded community supporters have hopes of rekindling the flame of “Live on Winnebago”, a one-day celebration of entertainment and the arts.

According to organizer Caleb Ulring of Decorah, “After a hiatus, the eclectic music festival ‘Live on Winnebago’ is set to make a triumphant return, promising a day of captivating performances and community engagement.”

Ulring and board of directors members Simon Cropp, Hannah Tulgren, Sophie Nall and Jeanine Scheffert, have yet to announce the exact date of the festival, which will celebrate the rich tapestry of musical talent in the heart of Decorah on Winnebago Street. They are hopeful a fall date will comply with city permits and calendars.

“Live on Winnebago” has long been cherished for its diverse lineup, welcoming artists spanning genres from folk and indie rock to blues and electronica.


Live on Winnebago started in 1999, the brainchild of Scott Hervey of Decorah, who got the idea after attending a seminar in self-expression and leadership in the Twin Cities. The seminar culminated with Hervey and other participants accepting the challenge to plan a project in their hometown. His idea was a street dance. The project grew from that initial seed, with dozens of local and regional bands, food vendors, artists and more participating. Hervey and Ruth Hampton and dozens of other volunteers put on the annual event for seven years. In 2005, “Live on Winnebago” was listed among the Des Moines Register’s “Top 10 things to do when visiting the State of Iowa”.

Ulring said this year’s revival promises to uphold that tradition, showcasing both established acts and emerging talents, ensuring an unforgettable experience for attendees of all ages.

One of the defining features of “Live on Winnebago” is its commitment to accessibility. True to its roots, the festival will remain free to attend, welcoming music enthusiasts from near and far to join in the festivities without the barrier of admission fees.

“Moreover,” Ulring continued, “the event prides itself on being family-friendly, fostering an inclusive atmosphere where music lovers of all ages can come together to celebrate their shared passion.”

“We’re thrilled to bring back ‘Live on Winnebago’ and reignite the spirit of community through music,” said the organizers. “This festival has always been about more than just the music – it’s about connecting with one another, celebrating diverse musical talent and creating lasting memories. We can’t wait to see familiar faces and welcome new friends to experience the magic of ‘Live on Winnebago.’”

As preparations ramp up for the highly anticipated event, excitement is building among residents and music enthusiasts alike.

Ulring and the other board members still have a few hoops to jump through in organizing the event, including city permits (the organizers are requesting a Sept. 21 festival date in the application) and other logistical issues, but they urge the public to stay tuned for upcoming announcements regarding the lineup and additional details, as “Live on Winnebago” gears up to reclaim its place as a cornerstone of Decorah’s cultural landscape.

The event’s mission statement continues today:

“Live on Winnebago is an annual music and arts festival held in Decorah, Iowa, celebrating the diversity of musical and artistic talent and fostering community engagement. With a commitment to accessibility and inclusivity, the festival welcomes attendees of all ages, offering free admission to enjoy a day of captivating performances and cultural exchange.”

For more information, contact Caleb Ulring by e-mail at bookingonwinnebago@gmail.com or call 563-379-0828.

Submit A Comment

Fill out the form to submit a comment. All comments require approval by our staff before it is displayed on the website.

Notify of
0 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments