TheTomKid gets folksy at the Kent State Folk Festival

When I heard folk music and free, I freaked.

Sept. 20-22, 2012, marked the 46th Annual Kent State Folk Festival. This was astounding to me due to the fact that I’ve been attending Kent State University for four years, and prior to this year, I had never heard of this festival. What a bummer!  Had I not been checking out the eInside webiste, which is a site I write for as a Flash Communications intern, I would have not known it was happening!

Some may say, “Hey, there were posters all over downtown!” and I’ll reply, “Hey, I’m a freaking commuter!” When you’re a commuter, you don’t have the opportunity to be as connected in a college/university community as much as your fellow schoolmates.

So through this post, I hope to not only show the fabulousness that was the Kent State Folk Festival, but also ways that it could have been promoted signifcantly more to those who may not live in the immediate community.

First of all, let me clarify, the festival was not completely free. Some more known folk artists charged for tickets ranging from $20-43 and played at the Kent Stage. In all honesty, I had no interest in going to these shows because I had the opportunity to go to Folk Alley ‘Round Town, which was free! Plus, the variety of folk music offered was enormous. There were more than 65 artists ’round town and the genres ranged from jazz to blues to folk to bluegrass. Workshops were provided for free as well, but I didn’t get to attend those.


With my fantastic mom in tow, I set out on the folk festival adventure.

Moustache Yourself in Acorn Alley.

The Bands

1) The first band we watched was called Moustache Yourself. How can you not like a music group that has the word moustache in it? These guys played gypsy jazz music.

Randy Horvath at Ohio Music.

2) The second band we saw was Randy Horvath at Ohio Music.

3) We then headed back to Tree City Coffee and listened to the Kidney Brothers. I really enjoyed the harmonica solos.

The Kidney Brothers at Tree City Coffee.

4) The last group we saw, and my favorite through our music adventure, was Johnny and the Apple Stompers. They are labeled as a bluegrass/folk/old time genre. My mom and I had a ton of fun jamming front row, center.

Promotion Suggestions

1) Social media. Yes, the main page of the folk festival has social media buttons to follow them on other platforms, but how was I supposed to know those existed? I think those doing the social media should have hooked up with other student organizations and had them promote the festival with their social media tools. I follow organizations such as Undergraduate Student Government and USG Programming on Twitter and I like them on Facebook, but I didn’t see much of anything posted by them. This kind of festival can continue to be successful and grow witht the support of the student community.

2) Posters in surrounding communities. I live in a community only half an hour from Kent and I know for a fact many of my friends in the area would have loved to attend a festival like this. Unless the goal was to keep this festival only for those who are in the Kent community, I would suggest expanding out more and getting more folk lovers involved.

Both of these ideas could increase attendance and the growing success of this festival. I would love to be involved in doing so next year even after I graduate! What other kinds of things do you think would make this festival even more awesome?

Until next time, stay folksy fellow bloggers!


3 responses to “TheTomKid gets folksy at the Kent State Folk Festival

  1. I have heard Johnny and the Apple Stompers; they are a riot! I also like that you suggested promotional tools! Great PR tie in.

  2. I definitely agree with your promotional suggestions regarding local events in Kent and on campus. I am also a commuter student, and social media plays a big role in how I find out about happenings in and around school. For example, I follow The Kent State College Democrats on both Twitter and Facebook, and it was through these platforms that I was able to first hear that President Obama and Tenacious D would be making appearances on campus. As a commuter (from almost an hour away!) it is certainly easy to feel “out of the loop” with what is happening on campus, but the increasingly widespread use of social media really helps to make me feel more included. Therefore, I think your ideas for better promotion would undoubtedly prove successful in widening the awareness of the festival and increasing turnout. A suggestion of my own would be for the festival to advertise on the radio. I’m not sure how expensive this is or if this was already a part of the promotions, but I think that even mentions on Black Squirrel Radio would help get the word out. Great post!

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