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Kent Folk Festival info

By Rich Heldenfels Published: May 6, 2014

For more than 46 years, Kent State University presented its annual Folk Festival. Produced by KSU students during it's first 34 years, the Folk Festival grew from simple beginnings to one of the most recognized folk festivals in the country. Each year, musicians that represented the best the folk/Americana/traditional genres had to offer, performed to large crowds around the Kent State University community. Since 2000, WKSU-FM assumed KSU's leadership roll in presenting the festival. In 2002, WKSU-FM and Western Reserve Folk Arts Association (WRFAA) began working together with the majority of the concerts relocating to The Kent Stage.

In recent years, the Folk Festival began to undergo further changes culminating in 2013 when the name changed to "Kent State University 'Round Town Music Festival." The elimination of the word "Folk" from the event title illustrated the fundamental shift in the direction of this traditional event and greater emphasis on other genres of music.

The leadership of the Western Reserve Folk Arts Association has decided to continue the historical tradition of the Folk Festival in Kent. Beginning this year, the Western Reserve Folk Arts Association is producing the Folk Festival with a significant investment of its funds, expertise, staff time and energy. In fact, the Kent Stage exists as a result of the off-campus growth of the Folk Festival in 2000. In 2001, concerned with the Kent State Folk Festival presenting concerts in Akron, Peninsula, Cleveland and on-campus, but not in downtown Kent, the Community Development Director of the City of Kent set-up a meeting with WRFAA and the former operator of the Kent Cinema in an effort to develop a downtown venue for the Folk Festival event.

The festival will now be called the Kent Folk Festival and will no longer take place in the fall. In an effort to support the ever expanding number of downtown Kent restaurants and merchants, it will take place in the early summer. Both the WRFAA and Kent Stage are proud to announce that the new Kent Folk Festival will take place June 5th - June 14th.

Della Mae
Thu, June 5, 2014 Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

In a relatively short period of time, Della Mae has become a sensation in the music world. Commanding a powerful collective chemistry with vocal, instrumental, and songwriting talent to spare, the Boston-based combo mines time-honored elements to create music that's unmistakably fresh and contemporary.

An Evening with The Mavericks
Fri, June 6, 2014 Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Mavericks are back. The country-steeped garage band with a Cuban American lead singer, emerged from Miami with their sultry debut that was equal parts innocence, intensity and vintage influences. But time has a way of melting when you're busy living life - and two decades has passed since their polyrhythmic brand of post-modern country has given the world "All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down," "Here Comes The Rain" and "Dance The Night Away."

Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys -
Farewell Tour
Sat, June 7, 2014 Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley on his final tour will make a stop at the Kent Folk Festival. The bandleader, who holds an honorary doctorate in music from Lincoln Memorial University, will be accompanied for the trek by his band the Clinch Mountain Boys, with assorted country and bluegrass guests appearing to support him. The tour will coincide with Ralph's 67th year of performing..

Legend Night w/ John Sebastian
Sunday Jun 8, 2014 Doors: 6:30 PM /  Show: 7:30 PM

Over four decades the contributions of John Sebastian have become a permanent part of our American musical fabric.His group The Lovin' Spoonful played a major role in the mid-'60s rock revolution, but what leader, singer and songwriter Sebastian had in mind was actually a counter-revolution. "We were grateful to the Beatles for reminding us our rock & roll roots," John explains, "but we wanted to cut out the English middlemen, so to speak, and get down to making this new music as an 'American' band."


Cabinet & Driftwood - New Music Monday
Monday Jun 9, 2014 Doors: 6:00 PM / Show: 8:00 PM

Cabinet is a band with roots firmly planted in the Appalachian tradition. They wear their influences like badges, honoring the canon of roots, bluegrass, country, and folk, weaving these sounds into a patchwork Americana quilt. But this music isn't romanticizing or rehashing the past.

Black Lillies
Wednesday Jun 11, 2014 Doors: 7:00 PM / Show: 8:00 PM

The Black Lillies are an Americana band from Knoxville, Tennessee that was founded in early 2009 by Cruz Contreras (formerly of Robinella and the CCstringband). Other members include Tom Pryor on guitar/pedal steel and Jamie Cook on percussion (both formerly of The Everybodyfields), bassist Robert Richards and vocalist Trisha Gene Brady. Cruz plays guitar and mandolin as well as providing vocals and song writing. The Black Lillies music provides a unique sound with influences from rock, country, blues, bluegrass, and jazz.

David Wilcox plus Seth Glier
Thu, June 12, 2014 Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

David Wilcox is a father, a husband, a citizen and a songwriter. He is also a traveler - an adventurer at his core, always on his way somewhere. So it is appropriate that the career of David Wilcox, celebrated songwriter and creator of more than 18 albums, began with a bike ride through North Carolina when he was just a teenager.

Livingston Taylor & Cheryl Wheeler -
Legends of The Kent Stage
Sat, June 14, 2014 Doors: 7:00 PM / Show: 8:00 PM

Livingston Taylor picked up his first guitar at the age of thirteen, beginning a forty-year career that has encompassed performance, songwriting and teaching. Born in Boston and raised in North Carolina, Livingston is the fourth child in a very musical family that includes Alex, James, Kate and Hugh. Livingston recorded his first record at 18 and has continued to create well-crafted, introspective and original songs that have earned him listeners worldwide.

Tickets for the concerts above and other shows are available now at the
Kent Stage Box Bodega office at:

181 East Main Street
Kent, Ohio 44240
(877) 987-6487

or online at:


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