Kent Folk Festival closes with a “Big Damn” end

Neville Hardman

The Kent Stage will end its Kent Folk Festival on Thursday after hosting folk musicians for two weeks.

Seven acts performed during the festival and genres ranged from folk, bluegrass and Celtic. Tom Simpson, director of the Kent Folk Festival, said the music choices were selected to garner a mix of people to the venue.

“We had a lot of different segments of music represented in the whole thing,” Simpson said. “You don’t want to have the same thing all the time.”

Simpson said there are only so many people who listen to folk music in Kent, so most of the traffic came from people traveling from different cities.

The festival’s most popular night was Saturday when former lead guitarist for the Eagles Don Felder performed, Simpson said.

Ravenna resident Sherri Smith, 52, held a book in her hand called Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles hoping Felder will sign it after the show.

Smith said she wasn’t an Eagles fan when she was younger. She didn’t even like their album “Hotel California,” she said, which ranks 37 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”

“Now I have absorbed all of the albums and Don Felder’s books,” Smith said. “Don Felder has a CD out of his own, which is excellent.”

John Markulin, a 60-year-old Euclid resident, sat on a bench outside of the Kent Stage waiting for the doors to open, and clutched a hardcover book protected by teal-colored wrappings.

Markulin said he wanted Felder to autograph page 308 of his book, Rock ‘n’ Roll and the Cleveland Connection, where his name is listed near the bottom. His book is filled with more than 900 signatures from a slew of musicians and he wants to get an autograph from every living musician listed in the book, he said. He calls it a “rock ‘n’ roll scavenger hunt.”

He and his wife traveled to more than 80 cities in Ohio in order to attend shows and collect signatures, he said.

“We travel as long as it’s in driving distance,” Markulin said.

Simpson hopes to move the date of the festival next year so it isn’t competing for attention against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He said attendance suffered every night the Cavs played.

“Crazy doesn’t happen here very often and that’s okay,” Simpson said.

Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band will wrap up the festival on Thursday at 8 p.m.

Contact Neville Hardman at [email protected]