A blog sponsored by the Michigan State University Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Program, a partnership with the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Sharing news and information about the Great Lakes Folk Festival, Quilt Index, the MSU Museum's traditional arts activities, Great Lakes traditional artists and arts resources, and much more. Development of content for this blog supported by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Monday, March 30, 2015

MSU Museum's Great Lakes Folk Festival Set for August 7-9, 2015

The Tannahill Weavers, Photo courtesy of the band
Where else in the world will you find French-Canadian, Celtic, Tejano, Creole and Western Swing? Throw in some 'Blind Boy' Blues, 'Uprizin' steel drum and 'Down Hill Strugglers' and it can only be the MSU Museum's Great Lakes Folk Festival, turning downtown East Lansing in to a living museum of roots, rhythms and richness Aug. 7-9.

 The preliminary music and dance program includes:

Learn more here: Music and Dance Program

Most groups play 2-4 times throughout the weekend, including sets on a 2,400-foot dance floor.

Musicians from different groups take the stage in popular Traditions Showcases -- fiddlers, percussionists, accordion players, etc. -- to share and compare traditions and techniques of their instruments.

Also, for festival-goers to participate: an old-time jam, community sing, and shape note singing.

A performance schedule will be set in July.

Exhibits, demonstrations, storytelling, marketplace, Kidlore children's folk activities, Taste of Traditions foodways, and Heritage Awards make the Great Lakes Festival a one-of-a-kind celebration of culture, tradition and community where visitors can sample and savor the distinctive cultural expressions throughout the festival weekend. Special programs for 2015 include:

Lomax Centennial: Celebrating Alan Lomax’s 100th Birthday

"Treasures from the Archive Roadshow: Celebrating Alan Lomax & The Folk Music Collections at the Library of Congress." This roadshow draws together nationally recognized folk musicians who play songs they have learned directly from the Lomax Family Collection and other important collections at the American Folklife Center. These performers will tour nationally during Lomax’s centennial year.

At GLFF, the roadshow includes The Down Hill Strugglers with legendary musician and folklorist John Cohen (of the New Lost City Ramblers), Jerron “Blindboy” Paxton, Frank Fairfield, and Dom Flemons (formerly of the Carolina Chocolate Drops).

Michigan Folksong Legacy: Grand Discoveries from the Great Depression
Through Oct. 18, 2015, Heritage Gallery, Michigan State University Museum
Exhibition bringing Alan Lomax's 1938 Michigan field trip to life through words, song lyrics, photographs, and sound recordings from Detroit to the Upper Peninsula including lumberjacks, miners, schoonermen, and more.

Community Sing: focus on Lomax's popular songbooks, which include songs like Goodnight Irene, House of the Rising Sun, Jesus is on the Mainline, and more!

The China Experience: An MSU Exploration of Arts & Culture
The China Experience is a university-wide thematic year that focuses on the arts and culture of China. For more information visit: artsandculture.msu.edu.

As part of the university wide focus on China GLFF has special China related activities led by Chinese students from the International Studies and Programs at MSU in the Global Traditions, Local Connections tent; activities will include traditional Chinese Calligraphy, games, clothing and more!

Arts and Health
Attendees will learn about arts and health through panel discussions on the Campus and Community stage and exhibits including quilt & fiber art displays and an Orphan Tower, comprised of beaded dolls representing the number of AIDS orphans in one South African village.

Great, Guaranteed!

2015 Michigan Heritage Awards 
Each year at GLFF, the MSU Museum presents the Michigan Heritage Awards recognizing the state's leading tradition-bearers in music, material culture and community leadership. This year's honorees are: Ronald Ahrens, Three Oaks (Berrien County), for lacemaking; and Stephen Stier of Empire (Leelanau County), for historic barn preservation.

The GLFF Marketplace returns with more recycled and upcycled green goods, from jewelry to garden and fiber art, and sculpture. The MSU Museum also showcases master artists in textiles, basketry and other traditional arts. (Attention prospective vendors: apply here!)
Children’s Area ‘Kidlore’ Activities 
 Kids will have the opportunity for hands-on experiences inspired by the artists and traditions of the Michigan Traditional Arts Program.

Taste of Traditions Foodways: with authentic regional and ethnic food - Greek, Indian, Mexican, Thai and more.

The festival site -- across the street from the MSU campus -- spans the downtown core of the city for three days of festival fun. Find out more at http://greatlakesfolkfest.net or follow GLFF on Facebook and twitter.

Admission is by donation (suggested $10 per day) and contributions leading up to the event and on-site -- sustain GLFF. Festival friends can make donations leading up to the event online at greatlakesfolkfest.net or at the MSU Museum.

Parking is available in downtown ramps and across Grand River Avenue on the MSU campus (in designated areas; free on weekends). GLFF also provides bike parking on-site.

More than 400 agile volunteers assist the MSU Museum in staging the event - from artist transportation, children's activities, information booth, site set-up and teardown, ice delivery and visitor surveys. To volunteer, click here!

The Great Lakes Folk Festival is presented by the Michigan State University Museum, Michigan's first Smithsonian affiliate. The MSU Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Program researches, documents, preserves, and presents our shared heritage and cultural expressions. Primary financial support for GLFF comes from Michigan State University Office of the Provost, University Outreach and Engagement, the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of East Lansing, and many MSU departments. In addition, nearly 100 corporations, foundations and organizations also support GLFF annually, as well as individual donors, "Great Friends."

This award-winning event is one of the region's premiere arts programs and is expected to draw more than 90,000 visitors throughout the weekend to celebrate culture, tradition and community. GLFF was named the state's top public humanities program by the Michigan Humanities Council.

Double the festival fun!
 It's a festival rich weekend in the Greater Lansing Area! The MSU Museum's Great Lakes Folk Festival and the Lansing JazzFest in Old Town will take over Mid-Michigan on the same weekend in August 2015. Traditionally JazzFest is the first weekend in August and GLFF is the second -- and depending on your interpretation and the quirk of how the dates fall this year, that is the weekend of Aug. 7 for both. Because of long-standing scheduling with artists and vendors, and working around the campus calendar and the lead-up to the MSU fall semester, GLFF is maintaining this weekend slot Aug. 7-9.

This won't happen again until 2020, so enjoy both festivals in one weekend for 2015!

Arts and culture at MSU play a critical role in nurturing the human spirit while contributing to a richer quality of life. Museums, galleries, and gardens along with libraries, historic sites, and performance spaces provide a catalyst for cultural exchange of diverse ideas and inspirations. At the same time, audiences on campus and around the world take advantage of academic and research outreach programs such as public broadcasting, online resources, and publications. Learn more at http://artsandculture.msu.edu.