Lake Erie Folk Fest Fills Shore Cultural Centre
It seemed that every hall, room and space inside Shore Cultural Centre was filled on Saturday, February 24, with the foot tappin’ sounds of folk music during the 3rd Annual Lake Erie Folk Fest. Folk and traditional music lovers from Northeast Ohio and beyond enjoyed and took part in a variety of events throughout the day and night. Over 600 people attended the free afternoon events while the evening concert in Shore auditorium drew more than 500.
People participated in popup jam sessions in hallways, basement corridors and rooms especially designated for jamming. 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. Three workshops in the afternoon featured members of Ten Strings And A Goat Skin, the evening concert’s headliner. Young people were entertained with various kinds of dancing, storytelling and crafts. 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 served sandwiches and an array of hot foods to hungry attendees. No matter where one found themselves during the day, they were met with big smiles and spirit lifting music.
That evening, many of the same people and more were treated to a concert featuring an eclectic mix of musical artists. The show began with the stirring and rhythmic dancing and drumming of Tam Tam Magic, an ensemble dedicated to music and dance of West Africa. Wakeman, Ohio native now Cleveland resident, Emily Keener followed with a return performance of some of her original and mellow songs. Emily performed solo but filled the auditorium with her strong vocals and guitar playing.
Concluding the first half of the concert were the traditional sounds of Aaron Jonah Lewis (fiddle, banjo, vocals) & Lindsay McCaw (guitar, vocals). Aaron is an accomplished bluegrass and roots music fiddle player who accompanied Lindsay’s guitar and vocals. The highlight of the set was their cover of “The Mockingbird Song” featuring Aaron imitating a plethora of bird sounds on his fiddle.
The second half of the concert opened with the wonderful harmonic singing of Fantje na vasi, a Slovenian men’s chorus. Dressed in black tux’s, the thirteen gentlemen mesmerized the audience with their traditional native folk songs. Proceeding them were the headliners, Ten Strings And A Goat Skin from Prince Edward Island. Their hour-long set featured a blend of traditional and modern styles of French Canadian music. Caleb Gallant (percussion, vocals), Rowen Gallant (fiddle, vocals) and Jesse Periard (guitar, vocals) captured the audience from the very beginning with their masterful performance. At the end the crowd, in unison, came to its feet applauding and cheering. The three-hour concert left the over 500 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, Guitar Riot of Cleveland, Studio Strings in Medina, the Village Blacksmith and Sam Ash Music Stores along with the many who donated to the Festival on-line at Indiegogo.com.
Jim is the Programming and Marketing Manager for the Shore Cultural Centre.