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Jack (Who is called Jack) KSU Folk Festival (8) KSU Folk Festival 18 Sep 99


One of the longer running "Folk festivals" in the US happens at Kent State Univerisity in Kent Ohio, and is this weekend.

Friday, September 24th Matthew Abelson, Anne DeChant, Toshi Reagon, Tony Trischka, Eddie from Ohio, Dar Williams

Free workshops from noon until 4:00 pm. Friday night's Main Stage performance gates open at 6:00 pm, performance begins at 7:00 pm.

Saturday, September 25th Brian Henke, Ellis Paul and Don Conoscenti, Susan Werner, Laura Love Band, Robin and Linda Williams, John Prine

Free workshops from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm. Saturday night's Main Stage performance gates open at 5:00 pm, performance begins at 6:00 pm.

A personal note on this festival.

There was a time when I would have characterized this festival as one one of the Best Kept Secrets of the folk and tradtional festival circuit. At its height, when it was a winter festival held on the 3rd week of February, it was a mecca for many midwest, and east coast practitioners and afficionados of all kinds of folk and traditional music. A weekend festival, it was packed with over 100 workshops on everything from mountain songs, sea shantys, fiddle, banjo, humor, old swing, gospel, contra dancing, square dancing, Ragtime Piano, Ragtime Guitar, Guitar styles, with lots of jamming and song swapping. It was there I first sat at the feet of the likes of Ginny Hawker, John McCutcheon, Joel Mabus, and Dick Swain, and came in contact with players who knew and played the music of Rev Gary Davis, Missispi John Hurt, Blind Blake and the like. The two evening concerts were just the cherry on the sundae, where the acts would range from percussive dancing, traditional african, old time string band, just about anything, including the occaisional emerging songwriter like a John Gorka or Kristina Olson. Often they would be able to bring in a living traditional artist from appalaichia, or a practicing shape note choir.

Now unfortunately, funding concerns have forced them to change their approach, and move it outdoors in September. They have also cut back the workshops (which don't work as well outdoors anyway), and have shifted their booking policy from the authentic but obscure to the more well known and long established acts. Names that can draw advance sales, like Arlo Guthrie, Ritchie Havens, Dave Edmunds, John Prine, and Dar Williams. Still and all, its a good festival.


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