A day of homespun music and good times will serenade Ester Community Park this weekend when the 2019 Summer Folk Fest takes the stage.
The day of music and community starts at noon Saturday at the park at 3566 Old Nenana Highway and includes a lineup of performers, singers, artisans, crafters, vendors, and food and drink coming together to celebrate the 32nd annual Summer Folk Fest.
“It’s a great family event, meeting up with your friends you haven’t seen all summer,” said Pete Bowers, a longtime Folk Fest board member and Fairbanks musician. “It’s folk, bluegrass, Americana, old-timey, singer-song writer, Celtic artists. It’s a little bit of everything. A really important part of this is making it musician friendly and making it good for musicians.”
The nonprofit organization Fairbanks Folk Fest is the parent group behind the Summer Folk Fest, as well as a Winter Folk Fest and the Fairbanks Bluegrass Camp for Kids, which Bowers helps run.
The first Summer Folk Fest was held in August 1987 at Pioneer Park, according to the group’s history, and was instituted by Bruce Delbridge, Michael “Fiddlin’ Wolf” Cartusciello and Dick Ferris, plus a handful of volunteers. The event has called both Pioneer Park and The Blue Loon home in years past before moving to Ester Community Park. Summer Folk Fest is free to attend and open to the public, but donations are appreciated.
“The whole vibe of Ester Community Park is wonderful,” Bowers said. “That stage is incredible, and it’s a great location. It’s a great way to showcase our musicians.”
Music education is one of the group’s goals, and that led to the creation of the Fairbanks Bluegrass Camp for Kids in 2002. The week-long summer camp offers music instruction to as many as 50 kids, ages 8 to 16, in guitar, fiddle, banjo, bass, mandolin, vocals, songwriting and traditional dance. The primary goals of the festivals — both Summer and Winter Folk Fest — are to showcase the talent in Fairbanks and give as many performers as possible an opportunity to play in front of an appreciative audience, according to the group’s website, fairbanksfolkfest.weebly.com.
“We’re really excited about this year’s Summer Folk Fest,” Ryan Bowers, president of the board, said. “We’ve got an amazing group of people who’ve been working hard for months to make this happen. We have an awesome lineup of artists from Fairbanks and from around the state. We have an impressive list of vendors this year, and we’re especially excited to be working with Goldie’s Alaska to bring our festival-goers a beer garden for the first time in many years. And the afterparty was such a big hit last year, we’re doing that again, and adding a square dance. All in all, it’s going be a great festival this year, not be missed.”
Contact Features Editor Gary Black at 459-7504 or on Twitter at twitter.com/FDNMfeatures.
Summer Folk Fest Lineup
Noon — North Star Strings, a group of violinists, violists, cellists and bass player
12:20 p.m. — Terry Kelly, a pop-folk singer/songwriter with songs about bears, love and wildlife
12:40 p.m. — The De Anne and Eric Fiasco, a wife and husband acoustic duo playing blues and folk
1 p.m. — Eric Troyer, with songs and stories with originals and covers
1:20 Young Native Fiddlers, traditional Gwich’in fiddle dance music
1:40 — Tommy Dahill, authentic Alaskana songs
2 p.m. — Ossian, Celtic instrumental music with bluegrass and Americana
2:20 p.m. — ET Barnette String Band, traditional bluegrass
2:40 p.m. — Michael Stackhouse, original songs and country-western, folk, rock, blues
3 p.m. — Ptarmigan, playing reggae, ska, classics and some folk
3:20 p.m. — Northern River, traditional bluegrass
3:40 p.m. — Insulated Shrubbers, fiddle music with a surprise
4 p.m. — Inna Rivkin, folk originals with echoes of the Alaska wilderness
4:20 — Black/Westcott, a blues duo playing acoustic blues/Americana
4:40 p.m. — Headbolt Heaters, three songwriters who have performed original music in Fairbanks for years
5 p.m. — Dry Cabin String Band, traditional bluegrass
5:20 — The Day-Nite Band, alternative folk
5:40 p.m. — Ozark Mark and the Evildoers, singer-songwriter genre and performances
6 p.m. — Them Folkers, acoustic spousal duo
6:20 p.m. — UnSupervised, Fairbanks-area trio playing rock, folk and other genres
6:40 p.m. — Will Putman, original music
7 p.m. — Dead Calm, boot-shaking tunes from the folk, blues and bluegrass spectrum
7:20 — Ice Jam, playing “dam good music”
7:40 — Madeline Malkie, melodic sounds and layers of harmony
8 p.m. — Raven Call, who plays primarily for contra dances but likes performing stage sets
8:20 p.m. — Casey Smith Project, an indie folk rock band from Fairbanks
8:40 p.m. — Fireweed Fiddle, original americana
9 p.m. — Eric Gebhardt, original acoustic songs from Alaska’s golden heart
9:20 p.m. — Bill Reeves, playing folk, blues and Americana originals
9:40 p.m. — Susan Grace, Alaska singer-songwriter
10 pm. — Idono, a four-piece electric Americana outfit
10:20 p.m. — The Ukulele Fool, good old songs that beg for audience participation
10:40 p.m. — The Barnstormers, a duo featuring a bluegrassy, old-timey, countryish sound
*Lineup and times subject to change