That’s all folks

Marissa Mikolak

The 39th annual Folk Festival closes weekend with Donovan

Legendary folk artist Donovan played at the 39th Annual Kent Folk Fest Saturday evening in the Ballroom of the

Student Center.

Credit: Jason Hall

“Step, ball, change, chug!”

Clogging instructor Laura Lewis called out this step as people young and old learned traditional clogging Saturday.

The 39th Kent State Folk Festival brought another successful year to an end with educational workshops and a concert featuring the legendary and poetic singer/songwriter Donovan.

The festival ended with Donovan’s performance, which used stories and epic songs to transform audiences back to the beatnik days of the ’60s and ’70s.

“Donovan has been called the ‘Dylan of Scotland,'” said Bob Burford, public relations director of WKSU, which sponsored the event.

The Scottish performer, who attended art school and dreamed of one day becoming a poet, gained popularity in the hippie counter-culture days of the mid-’60s.

Donovan performed his folktale-like songs, which were influenced by artists such as Woody Guthrie, with the help of his green acoustic guitar named “Kelly.”

Among the songs performed were hits “Mellow Yellow” and “Sunshine Superman.”

He also told stories of his friendship and travels with The Beatles as the nearly 1,500-person crowd cheered.

The preceding afternoon was educational and inspiring as different aspects of folk music were taught and performed.

The workshops filled the halls and rooms of the third floor of the Student Center with people enjoying the sounds of clogging, fiddles, banjos and more.

“Folk music is huge for me,” said Lewis, who led the banjo workshop. “If I didn’t have it, I would have a huge void.”

Men and women filled the rooms for educational workshops, which took place from noon to 5 p.m.

The topics of the 50-minute sessions included guitar, women in blues, accordion styles and songs of the Balkans.

Leaders of the workshops were well known, respected and experienced in their fields. A true love of folk music and its practices was evident in the packed conference rooms.

“The cool thing about Appalachian clogging is that you don’t have to have a partner,” Lewis said. “Anybody can do it.”

Lewis encouraged audience members to try each clogging move.

Down the hall, a Celtic workshop took place, producing music comparable to “Riverdance” or “Lord of the Dance.” One woman jumped up from the seat she had made on the floor after all the chairs were filled and began an energetic jig.

Phil Cartwright, husband of President Carol Cartwright, performed with other musicians during a banjo workshop.

“The folk festival allows amateur and professional musicians to come together,” Cartwright said. “People jam who have may have never played together before.”

Musicians could be heard jamming throughout the halls as crowds of people moved from workshop to workshop.

“I’m encouraged to see so many young people into music,” Cartwright said. “Performance is so important to humanity – It is the essence of humanness.”

Contact off-campus entertainment reporter Marissa Mikolak at [email protected].