KSU folk fest to be held in the fall

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By Julie Pavelich Record-Courier staff writer After 30 years of delighting thousands of people in the Kent Student Center and Kent State University Auditorium, the annual KSU Folk Festival is moving out _ literally. In an effort to attract even more visitors and to better promote folk music, the three-day event will jump from February to September and be held outdoors on the KSU campus. The 31st festival will take place Sept. 12 to 14 with concerts to be held on the KSU Commons and workshops outside at several locations. ``The popularity of the festival has just exploded. We probably had about 5,000 to 7,000 people last year ... every one of our workshop rooms was packed with people,'' said Tom Simpson, KSU events and activities coordinator. ``That was in February when it is cold, and we realized that is not the most ideal situation for a festival of this size.'' The festival, which started in 1967 to celebrate folk music and featured nationally known artists Judy Collins and Gordon Lightfoot, has grown to include musicians from throughout the world. ``The popularity of folk music is back on the upswing in a major way as a number of popular folk artists are being played on the alternative (radio) stations,'' Simpson said. ``We are trying to look at acts and see who will they appeal to because we want something for everybody.'' As in other years, the festival will feature evening concerts Friday and Saturday beginning at 6 p.m. However, a Sunday night show also will take place this year. All of the concerts will be on the Commons and will cost $10 for KSU students and $15 for others. KSU's All Campus Programming Board is booking acts and expects tickets to be on sale by Aug. 1, Simpson said. ``We will try to have a Kent person, whether it be a student, alumni, faculty member of resident, in each concert performance,'' Simpson said. ``There will be local, regional, national and international performers ... up and coming people as well as some who are real legends.'' In addition to the concerts, the festival will continue its tradition of offering a variety of free musical workshops from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 13 and 14. They will be held outdoors throughout the center of campus, including on Manchester Field. ``This is the second longest running folk festival on a college campus in the United States,'' Simpson said. ``This festival has developed into what I consider to be the premier folk event in the state ... and moving outdoors seemed to be the next logical step.'' ACPB also is considering having a one-day traditional folk festival in February, he said.

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