Just Us Folks

What has become a major music festival in the Northeast Ohio region has long had the backing of an area public broadcaster.

The 45th Kent State Folk Festival turns the Akron suburb of Kent into Folk Music Headquarters…and given that Kent State NPR outlet WKSU/89.7 dedicates a programming stream to its “Folk Alley” service, it’s no surprise that the station is heavily involved.

We brought WKSU’s OMW Handler Ann VerWiebe – who honestly has a more impressive marketing-related title than that – up for some air a bit.

And in this edition of “Ann’s Corner”, she delves into the history of WKSU’s involvement with the Folk Festival:

WKSU has been involved with the Kent State Folk Festival since the beginning in 1968 (there were two festivals each year for the first two years).

After long offering support, doing live broadcasts and artist interviews, the station took over managing the festival in Dec. 2000 (soon after celebrating the station’s 50th anniversary) when the student-run All Campus Programming Board decided to no longer fund the event.

We added Folk Alley ‘Round Town a few years later.

We joke that we brought our friend Ann “up for air” because she is very, very involved in making the Kent State Folk Festival a successful event.

Anyway, here’s (nearly) the full release on the 45th Kent Folk Festival.

We are putting this up kinda late, so we’re sorry we missed the Grammy winning “Carolina Chocolate Drops” (tonight)…but they’re probably as tasty as their name would indicate.

The rest of the release Ann sent us some time ago:


With anticipation mounting, this year’s line-up has been made even more exciting with the addition of three notable opening acts: David Wax Museum and Sleepy Sun on Saturday, Sept. 24 in support of rising stars the Low Anthem, and Seth Glier on Sunday, Sept. 25 before folk legend Peter Yarrow – both at the Kent Stage. Local favorites Mo’ Mojo get the crowd warmed up for the hot sounds of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band at the Kent Stage on Thursday, Sept. 22.

David Wax Museum caused an unexpected stir at the 2010 Newport Folk Festival. Taking the smallest stage as the result of a contest win, the band brought down the house and was invited to the mainstage for this year’s event in Newport. A mix of Americana, folk and rhythms from Mexico (where leader David Wax spent summers working), the band features an intriguing blend of harmonies and instrumentation – including Suz Slezak adding percussion with an authentic donkey jawbone.

In Ohio, California seems like a single destination – the freewheeling left-coast state, home to Hollywood and San Francisco. But Sleepy Sun, like the state itself, is also about the mountains and ocean and quiet moments between the glitz and glamour. Welcomed to South by Southwest (SxSW) and as openers for Arctic Monkeys and the Low Anthem, Bret Constantino; Matt Holliman, Even Reiss, Brian Tice and Jack Allen blend vocal harmonies and a folky psychedelic sound that could be the memory of Donovan – or the sound of the future.

Like the songs of Peter, Paul & Mary, Seth Glier uses his music to tell stories and inspire the audience to consider its relationship with the world we live in. His performances build a conscious connection between the artist and the listener. A Berklee-educated singer/songwriter/pianist, Glier has played the mainstage at the prestigious Falcon Ridge and Kerrville folk festivals and appeared with his idol, James Taylor.

Tickets are now on sale for all Kent State Folk Festival concerts and are available at the Kent Stage, by phone at 330-677-5005 or online at www.KentStateFolkFestival.org. The festival website has been updated with artist bios and video, along with the complete list of free Folk Alley ‘Round Town performances throughout Kent on Friday, Sept. 23 and community workshops at the Kent State Student Center on Saturday, Sept. 24 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Kent State University students may buy discount tickets for all shows by presenting a valid KSU ID at time of purchase.

The line-up for the 45th Kent State Folk Festival (all concerts at The Kent Stage unless otherwise noted):
Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 8 p.m.: The Carolina Chocolate Drops (KSU Auditorium in Cartwright Hall) – $25 reserved, $15 KSU Students.*

Thursday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m.: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band with Mo’ Mojo – $25 reserved, $15 KSU Students.*

Friday, Sept. 23 (various times): Folk Alley ‘Round Town (36 venues throughout Kent) – FREE.

Saturday, Sept. 24, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.: Workshops (KSU Student Center) – FREE.

Saturday, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m.: The Low Anthem with Sleepy Sun and David Wax Museum – IN ADVANCE: $20 reserved, $15 Students*, $10 KSU Students. AT THE DOOR: $23 reserved, $18 Students*, $13 KSU Students.

Sunday, Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m.: Peter Yarrow with Seth Glier – $35 gold circle, $25 reserved, $15 KSU Students.*
*With valid ID

Festival support is provided by Kent State University, the City of Kent, Marc’s and Kashi, Cascade Auto Group, Dominion East Ohio, Audio-Technica, Seagram’s Smooth, Lehman’s, PARTA, Fifth Third Bank and Great Lakes Brewing Company.


One Response to Just Us Folks

  1. Ann V. says:

    Thanks, OMW guy! We had a great opening night and look forward to a successful festival. Everyone should come to Kent for Folk Alley ‘Round Town – tons of great music and it’s absolutely free (except for the stuff you buy on Main St. and any frosty adult beverages you may consume)!

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