EAST LANSING, MI — From Alaska across to Georgia, and Japan by way of Canada, musical artists converge in East Lansing for the 2005 Great Lakes Folk Festival, Aug. 12-14.
The Michigan State University Museum presents the annual event celebrating culture, tradition and community. Music and dance stages – sponsored by the City of East Lansing – feature rhythms, sounds, stories and spectacular musicianship over the three-day festival. The preliminary line-up of musical artists includes:
o Carey and Lurrie Bell, Charlotte, North Carolina and Chicago, Illinois – Blues
o Diouf, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, — "Quebegalese" percussionists — Senegal, Africa, drums and vocal ensemble
o Georgia Sea Island Singers, St. Simons Island, Georgia — Gullah music, dance and stories – call-and-response melodies adapted from African drumming
o Great Lakes Folk Songs — Lee Murdock, Kaneville, Illinois and Joe Grimm, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
o Kiyoshi Nagata Ensemble, Toronto, Canada — Japanese taiko ("big drum") drum and choreography ensemble
o The Bob Kravos Band, Cleveland, Ohio — Slovenian-American style polka
o Mountain Heart — Nashville, Tennessee — Bluegrass
o Gumbi Ortiz and the Latino Projekt, Florida — Latin/Afro-Cuban
o Quebe Sisters, Burleson, Texas — Western swing and old-style Texas fiddle
o Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, Mamou, Louisiana — Cajun
o Roots Vibration, Detroit, Michigan — Reggae/Calypso
o Bob Seeley and "Boogie" Bob Baldori, Detroit and Lansing — Boogie-woogie
o Bill Stevens, Fairbanks, Alaska – Athabascan (Native American) fiddle
o Téada, Dublin, Ireland — Irish music
o Ana Vinagre, Massachusetts — Portuguese fado ("fate"), songs of the sea
New for 2005
The festival’s maritime focus this year is helped by a major grant from the Michigan Humanities Council. The MSU Museum will bring together traditional artists and workers from all over the Great Lakes for a look at how we use the resources of the Lakes and inland waterways: traditional boat-builders, ice fishers, decoy makers, model boat builders, commercial fishers, people who fry, smoke, pickle and otherwise prepare and cook fish, skilled workers in wire rope splicing and knot tying, sail-makers, ice boat racers, maritime craftspeople, and men and women who have worked on the Lakes in a variety of maritime occupations will share their stories, skills, and experiences.
Also new for the 2005 festival program will be special activities celebrating MSU’s landmark 150th year.
The Great Lakes Folk Festival, which typically attracts 80,000 or more visitors annually, has become recognized as one of the premier events of its kind in the region. The Michigan Humanities Council honored the MSU Museum-produced event as the state’s Most Outstanding Humanities Project, 1974-2004. GLFF received an Imagining Michigan award for outstanding campus-community outreach partnerships in arts and humanities.
A half-mile festival site in downtown East Lansing features performances and living museum exhibitions showcasing the country’s rich cultural heritage. In addition to the popular music program, activities include a Taste of Traditions Food Court, with authentic regional and ethnic food specialties, Folk Arts Marketplace with hand-made goods, and Children’s Folk Activities area with hands-on games and projects – such as boat-building this year. The festival is developed by the MSU Museum’s Michigan Traditional Arts Program, the state’s center for research, documentation, preservation and sharing of the folk arts and folklife in Michigan.
Admission to the Great Lakes Folk Festival is free. Festival hours are: Friday, Aug. 12, 6 – 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 13, 12 noon – 10:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 14, 12 noon – 6 p.m. Parking is available in downtown East Lansing ramps, the MSU campus, and CATA will provide extended bus service to the site (from lots at Service Road, west of Hagadorn at MSU, and on Abbott Road just north of Saginaw in the Abbott Center lot in East Lansing).
Nearly 400 volunteers assist with set-up, information booths, artist transportation, bucket brigade and other aspects of producing this large-scale community event. To volunteer, see www.greatlakesfolkfest.net or call (517) 432-GLFF.