The official word: The 46th Kent State Folk Festival once again lays claim to its autumnal residency with concerts and events lined up from Thursday, Sept. 20 through Saturday, Sept.22.
The Kent Stage hosts concerts each night with Folk Alley ‘Round Town driving up
the musical temperature throughout Kent on Friday and a big move downtown for the
free Saturday workshops.
WKSU Executive Director Al Bartholet says, “We are really excited about this year’s
line-up! The ‘Round Town buzz has already started and having workshops downtown
will add even more of a community atmosphere to one of the Kent State Folk Fest’s
most beloved events.”
The folk frenzy kicks off with two mainstage shows on Thursday, Sept. 20. Both shows
begin at 8 p.m. On Manchester Field at Kent State University, Delhi 2 Dublin brings a
raucous international fl avor to the stage. With a mix of Celtic, Bhangra percussion, and
Asian spice, the fi ve members of Delhi 2 Dublin twist multiple genres into a high-energy
stage show that has been an international hit at summer festivals, bringing audience
members to their feet wherever they go. This concert is presented in conjunction with
Kent State University’s Undergraduate Student Government Programming Board. .
Singer/songwriters John Gorka and Tracy Grammer co-headline the opening night
show at the Kent Stage on Main Street in Kent. With his warm sense of humor and
talent at crafting personal and touching songs, Gorka has been an audience favorite
since he emerged from the Boston folk music scene in the late 1970s. Grammer rose
to prominence as the partner of the late singer/songwriter Dave Carter. After Carter’s
death, Grammer has continued to interpret his work, discovering unreleased songs that
have added to his considerable library of beautiful, soul-stirring songs.
On Friday, Folk Alley ‘Round Town fills venues up and down the streets of Kent with
folk, roots and acoustic music ranging from intimate solo acts to rowdy bands. Nearly
three-dozen bars, clubs, restaurants, churches, shops and other community spaces are
committed to presenting free concerts beginning at noon and continuing late into the
night. Find the ‘Round Town performance matrix online at KentStateFolkFestival.org.
Also on Sept. 21, the Kent Stage welcomes Over the Rhine with openers Girlyman to
the Kent State Folk Festival. Led by husband and wife duo, Linford Detweiler and Karin
Bergquist, Over the Rhine has quietly become very popular. Sparked by Bergquist’s
powerful voice and the pair’s intelligent songwriting, fans across the country are drawn
to this Cincinnati-based group. Now performing as a quartet, Girlyman takes advan-
tage of skillful vocal harmonies to create engaging folk-pop songs that refl ect the band
members’ varied life experiences.
Saturday starts off with a seismic shift as the free Community Workshops move off
campus to downtown Kent. From noon to 5 p.m., the hour-long workshops will invite
musicians and music fans to learn more about everything from Russian folk and jug
band music to clogging and arranging music for group sings. Several workshops on the
business of being a professional musician will also be presented. A schedule grid for
workshops is available at KentStateFolkFestival.org.
For the grand finale on Sept. 22, three Legends of Folk come to the Kent Stage. All
three headliners – Tom Paxton, the Red Clay Ramblers and John McCutcheon – are
making return visits to the Kent State Folk Festival, the longest, continually running
folk festival on a college campus in the U.S.
A prominent player in the ‘60s folk musicrevival, singer/songwriter Tom Paxton has long believed in the power of a well-written folk song. Paxton was twice nominated for Grammy Awards and received a 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy. He has also picked up Lifetime Achievement Awards from ASCAP and the BBC.
For four decades, the Red Clay Ramblers have been taking North Carolina string music
to places it has never been. Adding bluegrass, country, rock, New Orleans jazz and
more to their old-time mountain music, the Ramblers have traveled around the world
and taken their game to Broadway, where they earned a Special Tony Award for Fool
Moon in 1999. The band’s musical Lone Star Love or the Merry Wives of Windsor,
Texas was debuted by Great Lakes Theater Festival in Cleveland.
Singer/songwriter John McCutcheon started his career by picking up an acoustic guitar
but quickly graduated to a roomful of instruments, including fi ddle, banjo, autoharp,
jaw harp and the hammered dulcimer (on which he is considered one of folk’s best
performers). When his children were young, McCutcheon used his songwriting skills
to create songs for the younger set that engaged them without condescension. His most
recent CD is a tribute tied to Woody Guthrie’s centenary.
Tickets are now on sale for all Kent State Folk Festival concerts and are available at the
Kent Stage, by phone at 888-718-4253 or online at TheKentStage.com. The Kent Stage
is located at 175 East Main St. in downtown Kent and the box offi ce is open Monday
through Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The festival website - KentStateFolkFestival.org
- offers artist bios and videos, along with the complete list of free Folk Alley ‘Round
Town performances Community Workshops at venues throughout the city of Kent.
The line-up for the 46th Kent State Folk Festival (all concerts at The Kent Stage unless
Thursday, Sept. 20 at 8 p.m.: Delhi 2 Dublin (Manchester Field at Kent State
University) – FREE.
Thursday, Sept. 20 at 8 p.m.: John Gorka and Tracy Grammer – $21.
Friday, Sept. 21 (various times): Folk Alley ‘Round Town (35 venues throughout Kent) –
Friday, Sept. 21 at 8 p.m.: Over the Rhine with Girlyman – $26.
Saturday, Sept. 22, 12 p.m.-5 p.m.: Workshops (9 venues throughout Kent) – FREE.
Saturday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m.: Legends of Folk featuring Tom Paxton, The Red Clay
Ramblers and John McCutcheon – $43 gold circle, $30 reserved.