Lake Erie Folk Fest Fills Shore Cultural Centre

Tuvan throat singing ensemble Alash during their sound check for the Lake Erie Folk Fest.

Photo by Stephen Herron

It seemed as though every hall and empty room and space inside the Shore Cultural Centre was filled Saturday, February 25, with the foot tappin’ sounds of folk music during the 2nd Annual Lake Erie Folk Festival.    Folk and traditional music lovers from Northeast Ohio (and far away as Missouri and Minnesota), enjoyed and took part in a variety of events throughout the day and night.  Exact numbers are not yet known but an estimated 1,000 people attended the free afternoon events and the evening concert in the Shore auditorium.  The festival was produced by the Shore Cultural Centre and the Northeast Ohio Heritage Music Association(NEOHMA).  

People were spotted having spontaneous jam sessions backstage in the auditorium, the hallway near the Shore offices, basement corridors and the Culinary Bistro which was open serving food for Festival attendees and participants.  Banjos, fiddles and even metal saw bowing serenaded visitors as they entered the Shore throughout the day.

Workshops covered claw hammer banjo, ukulele and upright bass playing techniques; guitar making; folk dancing and bluegrass music.  A workshop on throat singing given by the Tuvan ensemble Alash (who also performed that evening) filled the old band room with many standing along the sides and back.  Young people were entertained with various kinds of dancing, storytelling and roots music.  The community room had a constant flow of people listening to performances by area musical artists and poets.  Downstairs in the Culinary Bistro, Chef Dan and his students were served sandwiches of all kinds to many of the hungry attendees.  No matter where one found themselves during the day, you were met with big smiles and spirit lifting music.

That evening, many of the same people and more were treated to a concert featuring the kind of musical artists one would expect at an event of such quality.  The show kicked off with the soul stirring blues of Austin Walk’ Cane singing and playing his steel guitar.  The Able Brothers and Stand Bayou followed with renditions of bluegrass and Cajun music tunes.  After a short intermission, 18-year-old singer/songwriter and Wakeman, Ohio resident Emily Keener, captured the hearts of the audience with her original material.  Emily performed solo but filled the auditorium with her strong vocals and guitar playing.  She then joined the enthusiastic audience in watching spellbound the Tuvan throat singing ensemble Alash.  The three musicians sang and played instruments of their homeland, Tuva, (near Mongolia) that mesmerized the audience with their unique sounds and rhythms.   Enthusiastic applause and cheering followed each tune in their 50-minute performance.  The members were able to enlist the audience in a singalong of a native song much to everyone’s delight.  At the end, the crowd, in unison, came to its feet applauding until Alash returned to the stage for one more tune.  The over-three-hour concert left the hundreds who attended thrilled and happy to have been a part.  It was a special evening, indeed, with such a variety of sounds and music types.

The Lake Erie Folk Festival was generously support by the Char & Chuck Fowler Family Foundation, Studio Strings in Medina, the Village Blacksmith and Sam Ash Music Stores along with the many who donated to the Festival on-line at   In addition, both Shore and NEOHMA enlisted the valuable assistance of their many loyal volunteers.  “You hear a lot about this or that event could not have been done without volunteers—the Folk Fest really could not be presented without the crucial help from ourvolunteers!”, said Chris Cipriani, Director of Programming and Marketing of the Shore Cultural Centre. 

And yes, there will be a 3rd Lake Erie Folk Fest next February! Stayed tuned for that date. 

The Shore Cultural Centre is located at:  291 East 222nd Street Euclid, OH  44123. Phone: 216-289-8578 Website: For further information contact:  Jim Spittle, Programming & Marketing Manger


Jim Spittle

Jim is the Programming and Marketing Manager for the Shore Cultural Center.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 4:01 PM, 03.09.2017