Because we’re not doing enough already, each fall half of the Folk Alley staff helps produce the Kent State Folk Festival (as part of our “day jobs” at WKSU). And, it’s almost here! In fact, the countdown has reached two days and a couple of hours before Melanie takes the spotlight at the Kent Stage in beautiful downtown Kent, Ohio on Nov. 8. Melanie was a flower child singer/songwriter in the ’60s and has kept on going. Steve Forbert opens. The next night at the Kent Stage, Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks present their “Salute to the Folk Years.” This show combines Hot Licks favorites with songs from the folk revival era that are the “real deal.” It’s a great opportunity to hear a really entertaining band play classics made popular by Pete Seeger, Buffy Ste. Marie, the Limelighters, the Kingston Trio and many others.
On Nov. 11, Kent Stage offers up a bluegrass package that includes Tim O’Brien AND Mountain Heart. It’s the best of both worlds! Mountain Heart’s high-energy bluegrass coupled with everything that Tim O’Brien sings (I’m so glad he won the Grammy!).
The second week features Honky Tonk Night with Joey Allcorn and Wayne “the Train” Hancock on Nov. 14 and Jam Band Night (we love theme nights!) with Blue Sky Mission Club and People of Earth on Nov. 15 (both at the Kent Stage). November 16 is Folk Alley ‘Round Town with free concerts throughout the city of Kent all day. This year, we’ve added venues, so we’re up to 30 (everyone likes ‘Round Town – which BTW is abbreviate FART). You can see the entire list of acts at KentStateFolkFestival.org. If you have a couple of bucks, you can see Steppin’ In It at the Kent Stage that night at 9 p.m.
The 41st KSFF concludes on Nov. 17 with free workshops from noon to 5 p.m. in the Kent State University Student Center, followed by the talent contest at 5 p.m. in the KIVA and the mainstage show in the KSU Ballroom featuring David Bromberg & the Angel Band (he has revived his once thriving career after a hiatus spent dealing in rare violins) and the never predictable Dr. John. Tickets for everything (tout le monde) are on sale now. Look for me live blogging and hawking T-shirts about the town.