Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Festivals are Fun!

If you love folk music and are up for a visit to Michigan, mark your calendars for 2009 – the second week in August!

Last weekend was the annual Great Lakes Folk Festival. The event takes place the second weekend of August each year.

(Personally, I think the event is badly named, though by definition, true. But when many people think of “folk music” they think of the Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary.)

True, but it’s so much more.

This is really more like a Folk-and-World festival, combining such genres as bluegrass, Cajun, Quebecois, Cape Breton, Celtic, African, Texan, Blues and more.

On top of that, are great traditional arts exhibits, street folk, like this balloon fellow...

...and terrific ethnic food. (This line…)

Is for the homemade root beer stand!

The event begins on a Friday evening and goes through Sunday, with four-five stages operating at any one time, including a dance stage and a legacy stage (more talks or demonstrations), along with three performance stages.

I enjoyed a number of things, musical and otherwise including blues artists Cephas and Wiggins, a guitar workshop, in which several representatives from various groups played and talked about their craft…

Cats and the Fiddle, a terrific bluegrass group of kids about 12-14 or so…

Vishtan, from Prince Edward Island…

April Vertch, a wild fiddler…

The Singletons (a gospel group that would have been great if they weren’t so loud)…

And Mamadou Djibate who plays the kora, He was my favorite. Incredibly beautiful music on this fascinating instrument.

He was backed by a bass, native xylophone-type instrument and drums.


Musicians hang out on the street, eager to talk with anyone!

We only went on Saturday, which was a combination of sunny, relatively cool but comfortable, and unseasonable Michigan weather (generally the festival is hot and humid!) to big bursts of rain!

My buddy David, who runs sound for the fest, had his hands full caring for equipment between cloudbursts, but did so admirably!

I also enjoyed this woman who bites patterns into birch bark and they actually look like turtles, dragonflies and other things. This art is a Native American one and she was great!

They had finger weaving…

Basket weaving…

And African American quilting (among other arts),

And those participating were very eager to share the history and techniques of their art.

So, mark your calendar for next August! If music is your thing, you’ll find it – free! (Don't forget the dog!)


jet1960 said...

Jeanie, you have too much fun! We don't have anything like that around here, or if so I've not found it yet. Looks like it was a blast!

Rosa said...

So much to take in. I could spend hours upon hours taking in everything! Homemade rootbeer! Wow! I love rootbeer floats! Sign me up. And birch bark? I used to love to pick sasafrass roots and make tea. What a fun time!

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