Two long summer months stretch ahead of us… Two months of enjoying the glorious Maine weather, friends and family visiting, and the frenetic work of final preparations for this year’s American Folk Festival! That’s right, at the Folk Festival office, the “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer” are, well, just crazy! It’s our time to make sure that everything is all ready for the artists that will be performing on the Festival stages this year.
It starts with finalizing the stage schedule. We must make sure that there’s enough time for artists to transport from one stage to another, coordinate individual participation in the thematic workshops, move sound gear from stage-to-stage with the artists who need it, all while presenting the best mix of music from Gospel to Blues to Bluegrass, from Newfoundland to Colombia to India.
We’re working with our “Artist Buddy” volunteers, who each pair up with a specific artist to make sure that they arrive at the stage at the right time, make it to the CD signing tent, and have the chance to see the other music that they’re interested in (it’s great to see how often our artists want to enjoy the other performances going on throughout the weekend).
Our technical crew is talking with the artists to find out what particular sound gear they’ll need. We’re making arrangements for hotel, meals, and transportation. We’re recruiting the volunteers that will handle dozens of tasks throughout the weekend.
And it’s all worth it – not just for each and every festival-goer, but also for the artists. Each year, at the end of Festival weekend, we hear a unanimous chorus of “please invite us back soon!” from our guest performers. They’ve been won over by the volunteers, the crew, and especially the audience that comes out to experience their unique art forms. Some of this year’s artists are returning from a previous year. Wylie Gustafson (of Wylie and the Wild West) performed in Bangor in 2003. Mickey Galyean (of Cullen’s Bridge) was part of Rich in Tradition when they performed here in 2011. Creole United features Jeffrey Broussard, who brought his band to Bangor in 2008.
More and more, the American Folk Festival is an event that people want to be a part of – to volunteer, perform, and attend. If you haven’t been in a while, mark your calendar for August 28, 29 &30 and find out why.