Folk Festival has more than 50 acts in four days

Max Hayden

When The Secret Sisters perform their song “Cold Eye” at the Kent Stage Saturday night, it might make more sense for them to change the lyrics “if you choose the world to see, just leave your heart in Tennessee” to “just leave your heart in Kent.”

The Secret Sisters are just one of over 50 acts scheduled to perform as part of the 44th Annual Kent State Folk Festival.

Sponsored by WKSU’s Folk Alley, the festival is a four-day concert series, bringing folk artists to Kent State and its surrounding area.

“Kent is an important city for folk,” said Ann VerWiebe, marketing associate for WKSU and the Folk Festival. “Folk’s lyrical content has a greater social message, and the shootings here emphasized those messages.”

The festival started Wednesday night at The Kent Stage with a performance from Brazilian singer/songwriter Luca Mundaca. Mundaca, who won Best World Fusion musician by the Independent Music Awards in 2008, was accompanied by the Moises Borges Trio, Samba Joia and Ismail Douglas & Group for the show.

The 21-year-old Kent native Jessica Lea Mayfield headlines at 8 p.m. with help from Tim Easton and Frontier Ruckus.

Friday sees the festival sprouting legs as Folk Alley ‘Round Town brings a large slew of folk artists to over 35 music venues across the Kent community for performances.

Everywhere from bars such as Mugs, Water Street Tavern and The Zephyr to restaurants such as The Rusty Nail and Bistro on Main will host local artists, performing their own rendition of the folk genre.

Grammy-winning female singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin will cap the night off with a performance at the Kent Stage at 8 p.m.

The festival will conclude with quartet Eddie From Ohio headlining the Kent Stage at 8 p.m., a workshop at the Student Center from noon to 5 p.m. and The Cave Singers ballroom performance at 8 p.m.

Along with bringing folk music to Kent, the Folk Festival is partnering with activists The Love Initiative for Music for Meals, a food drive that is uniting the performing art communities of northeast Ohio to help aid the Cleveland and Akron-Canton food banks during the weekend before Thanksgiving.

“We are very excited to have the Folk Fest as a participant in this event. They bring together so much of the area’s music community,” said Zach, the single-named local singer/songwriter who organized the food drive. “I think it can be a good opportunity to collect a good amount of food because every venue is participating.”

The venues will have a location to donate during each of the scheduled performances.

So while The Secret Sisters choose to leave their hearts in Tennessee, over 50 other folk acts will bring theirs to Kent.

Contact Max Hayden at [email protected].