It wasn't too long ago that Oberlin was well-know on the folk music map. The annual Oberlin Folk Fest drew crowds, and many well-known performers started their careers here.
Things have changed, but the Folk Music Club is hoping that growing interest in the genre will lead to a folk music renaissance at Oberlin. This weekend's Folk Fest is one of their first attempts to revitalize the folk scene.
The day-long event promises to showcase the diversity of folk music. During the day acts include Cajun, bluegrass and zydeco performers, as well as guitar-driven singer-songwriters.
In total the Folk Fest will showcase 11 acts, some from Oberlin and others from Northeast Ohio. The day will end with a performance by Erica Wheeler, a well-respected signer-songwriter.
Ellen Stanley is president of the Folk Music Club. "The big goal of the day is to educate people about folk music," she said. Stanley said the club began planning the fest early this semester and that they hope the tradition will continue in the future.
"We figured we might as well start with something, and next year we can build on in," Stanley said.
The headline act of the day is Erica Wheeler. The singer-songwriter based in Northampton, Massachusetts, has been compared to folk divas such as Shawn Colvin and Mary Chapin Carpenter. A graduate of Hampshire College, Wheeler has been performing at coffeeshops, colleges and festivals since moving to college. Wheeler released her first album in 1989.
Wheeler's most recent album, three wishes, has received both critical and popular attention.
The Bershire Eagle wrote of her songwriting: "Not everyone can turn their impressions into three minute works of art that resonate with compelling truths. Erica Wheeler is one the rare few who can."
Two other headliners will perform after the dinner break on Saturday. Chaneling, a Columbus-based duo will perform traditional Irish and Scottish music. The duo, both Oberlin alums, have been well-known in that genre for some time.
Senior Josh Ritter will perform before Changeling. The folk singer has been performing at coffeehouses and the Cat during his four years at Oberlin, and just celebrated the release of his first full-length CD last weekend.
|The festival will run from 11 a.m. to after 10 p.m. The evening events will be held at First Church. The daytime acts will be in Tappan Square. All events are free.|
|11 a.m.||Daniel Gale and the Oberlin Playboys, eclectic music by Oberlin students|
|Noon:||Rebecca Pronsky, Oberlin singer-songwriter|
|12:20 p.m.||Kathryn McLean, Oberlin singer-songwriter|
|1 p.m.||Stand Bayou, Cleveland Cajun, Swamp Blues and Zydeco band|
|2 p.m.||Lewis and Kovac, Appalachian music by Laura Lewis and Paul Kovac|
|3 p.m.||Tim Wallace, Elyria singer-songwriter|
|4 p.m.||The Can Consortium, Oberlin steel drum ensemble|
|5 p.m.||Under the Tree, bluegrass, country-style band|
|7 p.m.||Josh Ritter, Oberlin based folk singer|
|8 p.m.||Changeling, Columbus-based Irish and Scottish music duo|
|9 p.m.||Erica Wheeler, Northampton, MA based folk singer|
Copyright © 1999, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 127, Number 22, April 30, 1999
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