42nd Folk Fest hits Kent this weekend

Pamela Crimbchin

‘Round Town event brings record number of venues on board

The Kent State Folk Festival dates back to the 1960s when it was started by a group of college students who were members of All Campus Programming Board. These students wanted to spread the knowledge of folk and heritage through concerts, workshops and educational programming.

Yet in 2000, ACPB decided to end funding for the folk festival.

WKSU has been a part of the folk festival for a long time, promoting and broadcasting the event. When the students stopped funding the events, WKSU decided to present the festival in order to keep it going.

The festival has been known to present famous artists such as Bob Dylan and Roger McGuinn of The Byrds. This year, WKSU tried to bring Willie Nelson but was unsuccessful.

While the festival has essentially remained the same since its start, there is one significant difference. Friday’s Folk Alley ‘Round Town, a day of free shows around Kent, has grown tremendously over the years.

“I think the first year we had something like 10 (venues),” said Bob Burford, public relations director for WKSU. “This year we have 36 different places in Kent.”

WKSU hopes this year’s festival will help economically, drawing in tourists and making more businesses known to the students.

“(The festival) is still about keeping the tradition of this music alive,” Burford said, “but, we want the festival to be successful for the university and the city.”

WKSU already has venues and bands ready to participate in next year’s festivities.

“We’re shooting for more than 40 (venues) next year,” Burford said, “but let’s get through this year first.”

Contact all correspondent Pamela Crimbchin at [email protected].