Great Lakes Folk Festival offers music and culture for all

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Friday, August 7, 2015, 9:10 am
Caitlin Leppert

Whether you identify as a jazz connoisseur, or you are looking for an affordable way to enjoy your weekend, the annual Great Lakes Folk Festival offers fun for all. The festival runs this weekend, Aug. 7-9 in downtown East Lansing.

Festivities begin Friday evening at 6 p.m. with the Uke Strum, led by Ben Hassenger. Visitors are invited to bring their own ukuleles and join in with Hassenger at City Hall Stage, on Abbot Road.

Festival visitors are invited to participate in an array of musical and dance activities on Friday, closing with what is certain to be an energetic performance by The Tannahill Weavers, a Scottish Celtic group. The “Tannies,” as they are known by fans, were among the first musical ensembles to incorporate Great Highland bagpipes as a main instrument. Catch the Tannies from 10-10:50PM at the M.A.C stage, located at 300 M.A.C Ave.

Saturday’s festivities begin with a second performance by The Tannahill Weavers on the M.A.C stage at noon. Festival attendees also are invited to a special showcase, “Celebrating Alan Lomax and the Folk Music Collections at the Library of Congress.” Folk musicians are set to perform renditions of folk tunes inspired by the collection at the Library of Congress.

Sponsored by the MSU Museum, the Festival features various historical showcases, including “Into the Archives,” Saturday at noon, at 200 Abbot Road. Visitors will be able to listen to classic jazz and blues recordings, provided by MSU Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Research Collections. Recordings will include blues music from Son House, Appalachian ballads from Sarah Gunning, Ukranian folksongs, reels played by hammered dulcimers, Yiddish ballads, songs of lumber camps and rope-skipping rhyme.

MSU Museum Acting Director Lora Helou said the festival is an opportunity for the MSU community to unite with the City of East Lansing.

“We are very proud of this partnership with the City of East Lansing that brings our museum programs outside of our building and into the city for learning, engagement, culture and greater understanding.”

Sunday concludes the festival, with a full day of performances from noon until 5PM. Musical acts will include Uprizin Steel Drum, a Caribbean drum performance, Masters of Harmony, a capella gospel, and The Hot Club of Cowtown, a Western swing band, among others.

East Lansing residents, MSU students and all visitors are welcomed to the East Lansing Folk Festival, where music and culture intersect.

The Great Lakes Folk Festival begins at 6:00PM Friday, August 7th and runs through 6:00PM Sunday, August 9th. A full schedule of performances is available here.

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