Most of our staff should be wearing T-shirts today proclaiming “I survived another Folk Festival.” The annual Kent State Folk Festival is becoming a grand event with performances over two weeks that gives every fan a little of something they crave. The Folk Alley ‘Round Town event was the buzz of the community with 22 performances happening in our small town of Kent, Ohio. I hope you take some time and listen to the John Gorka & David Francey performance on our Folk Alley web site.
As I take a moment to reflect on the last two weeks of music, I am struck by a number of events that were defining moments for me. The first impression is that the audience for the festival is getting older and younger at the same time. I was pleased to see many old friends and thrilled to see the current youth movement in Folk Music. Musicians like the Dust Poets and Over the Rhine were just inspiring and attracted a number of students. At the same time, students rushed the stage to dance to Donovan’s Mellow Yellow, and I hope we can share a picture of that moment with our Folk Alley fans. That moment in time had to be one of the highlights for us to see the reaction from the crowd for Donovan, especially the students who all were born 20 years after most of Donovan’s “hits” were created wanted to dance a celebrate the music. My favorite moment though was at the Kent Stage for the after party when the folk community just got together to play some of our favorite songs, to me that’s what music creates, a community that represents the essence of humanity. As Dr. Phil Cartwright said, “Performance is the essence of humanness.” In those moments everything seems right with the world and we all walk away a bit more hopeful about the future. As Thanksgiving approaches here in the States, it is a time of reflection and many of us may just celebrate with a song or two among friends.