Critically Acclaimed Folk Singer To Perform At OU-Lancaster

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Four years ago, Joe Pug was a carpenter. Today, he's an up-and-coming folk musician who is touring the U.S., including a scheduled stop at the Ohio University Lancaster campus on Saturday, May 4. Pug is the second act to play at the Wagner Theatre as part of an expanded relationship between the Lancaster Festival and the OU Lancaster Campus.

"I’m pleased to help bring Joe Pug to Lancaster. His songwriting is detailed and vivid, easily drawing listeners into his world," said Lancaster Festival Executive Director Lou Ross. "It excited me the first time I heard his music and can’t wait for others to discover him, too. With his engaging style, I know he will leave here with a new following of fans."

Originally from Chicago, Ill., Pug quit his job as a carpenter to focus on his music career. After attracting the attention of the Chicago scene by giving fans free copies of his homemade CDs, he decided to make his music available to everyone–still free of charge–on his website,

In 2010, Pug signed with Nashville indie label Lightning Rod Records, which released his debut album, Messenger. Since then, the singer-songwriter has performed at Lollapalooza and the Newport Folk Festival and toured with Josh Ritter and Levon Helm. Pug's most recent album, The Great Despiser, was released in 2012.

Last fall, the Lancaster Festival and Ohio University Lancaster agreed to expand their relationship beyond the traditional summer musical events that made use of the outdoor resources of the campus for more than 25 years. The two organizations are working together to bring cutting-edge artists to the campus’ indoor venue, the 500-seat Wagner Theatre.

"The concert in the fall with Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires was well-attended and showed us there is a great interest in music and culture in Lancaster and throughout central Ohio," said Lancaster Campus Dean Jim Smith. "We think the Joe Pug show will build on that momentum and we’re excited to have him perform here."

A pre-concert party will be held in the Lancaster Campus parking lot from 6 to 8 p.m. with the Pizza Cottage Food Truck and a hospitality tent featuring a performance by central Ohio band Dying Breed. An opening act will be announced soon.

Tickets are available online at or by calling 1-800-LAN-FEST (536-3378).