This Saturday, August 17, the ninth annual Blue Sky Folk Festival comes to Willoughby, Ohio. It is a gem of an event that brings musicians and folk music fans from all over Northeast Ohio to Willoughby for a day of concerts, jamming, and learning.
This year the Blue Sky presents two separate events on August 17, a daytime program and an evening concert at its new location at The Fine Arts Association, 38660 Mentor Avenue (Route 20), Willoughby, Ohio 44094.
Evening Concert with Madison Violet
Headlining the evening concert is Madison Violet, deemed one of the best female duos to come out of Canada. The singer-songwriter team of Lisa MacIsaac and Brenley MacEachern continues to woo audiences and critics alike with their engaging performances and brilliant musicianship. Here's a video, "Tell Me."
With 10 studio albums over a 20-year career, the award-winning Madison Violet from Toronto moves effortlessly from folk to pop to electronic to Americana.
The evening concert program fills out with original and traditional folk music performances by two creative individuals who have added so much to the folk music scene here:
Emcee/musician Matt Watroba was recently named to the Folk Alliance International D.J. Hall of Fame after a career as the voice of folk music in hosting public radio programs in Michigan, Ohio and at Folk Alley. He sings and writes songs of compassion, inner strength, humor, and everyday living.
You will remember Charlie Mosbrook when you hear his inventive lyrics and beautiful bass voice. Charlie's song “Remember Who We Are” earned him 2nd place in the 2018 Woody Guthrie Folk Festival Songwriting contest in Okemah, Oklahoma. Charlie is also a popular local open mic host.
Evening Concert admission $20 online, $25 at the door while tickets last. Doors open 7 p.m., presale ticket holders 6:45 p.m., concert 7:30 p.m.
During the Day Program under separate admission, enjoy more than 45 music workshops, jams and concerts on two stages. Performances and workshops feature such popular and creative musicians as Hal Walker & Friends (right, from Kent, Ohio), Mark Olitsky, The Woodpeckers, Mark Laskey, and songwriter/musician/teacher Scott Franklin.
This year for the first time the Blue Sky Folk Festival will offer a day-long track of contra dance workshops and dances, led by callers Carol Kopp, Bill O'Connor and Kenny Wilson. No experience, no partner necessary - come and learn.
There are scheduled jams in Old-Time, Slow Old-Time, Western Swing and Old-Time Banjo led by professional musicians, plus popup jamming all over, all day, indoors and out.
For Irish and dulcimer enthusiasts, a tent is set up for open jamming with no schedule, no leaders - just show up and give us some of that beautiful, heart-filled music!
Matt Watroba will emcee the daytime concerts, plus lead a community sing workshop at noon - so get there early.
Daytime Program admission $10 online or at the gate, under 13 free. Jammers bring your instrument for $2 off at the gate. Gates open 11 a.m., day program noon - 5 p.m.
Hang around after the Day Program and enjoy a dinner break from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. before the evening concert. Head to the shops and restaurants in Historic Downtown Willoughby, a 16-minute walk (three minutes by car) - or stay at the Fine Arts Association for more jamming, whether you play or just like to watch. There will be food vendors, plus beer and wine available. This is our first year for this format, we'll see what happens!