The Blue Moon
KAC HomePublicationsJuly / August 2003

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The Blue Moon is published bi-monthly by the Kentucky Arts Council. Please send comments, questions and information to The Blue Moon, Kentucky Arts Council, Old Capitol Annex, 300 West Broadway, Frankfort, KY 40601-1980 or call 502/564-3757V/TDD Toll Free: 1-888-833-2787

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Photo: Mariachi Azteca Perform
This year's festival will expand on the folklife of recent Kentuckians as we feature traditional elements of Latino/Hispanic life in the Community Crossroads area. Here the group, Mariachi Azteca, performs for festival visitors at the 2001 event. (Photo by the Kentucky Folklife Program/Kentucky Historical Society)

Focus on Folklife
Folklife Festival Returns to Frankfort for 2003

As this issue of the Blue Moon goes to press our staff is gearing up for our largest public folklife event, the Kentucky Folklife Festival. This year's festival will be held Thursday, Friday, and Saturday September 25th, 26th, and 27th.

Folklife is how we show our neighbors and the world who we are and how we reinforce our sense of belonging to our communities. The festival is our program's way to publicly highlight examples of Kentucky's unique cultural differences and present the important notion that we ALL have unique folklife in our lives. Held in downtown Frankfort, the Kentucky Folklife Festival presents a sampling of the Commonwealth's finest folk artists, musicians, cooks and storytellers. These individuals all help us, in a hands-on way, to bring the concept of folklife to citizens visiting from throughout the Commonwealth and beyond. Highlights of this year's festival include a deeper look at several important Kentucky communities, an exciting participatory look at the diverse world of dance in the state, a tribute to a special bluegrass great, and much much more. See the May /June issue of The Blue Moon for an extended overview of new programming and fun.

Festival Opportunities

The Kentucky Folklife Festival is a great educational event that is driven by the participation of many. Opportunities to learn more about the presentation of folklife as well as opportunities to give of yourself as a volunteer are all part of the festival spirit. Below are several ways you can get more involved.

VIP Training Available at the Folklife Festival

Have you ever thought about how a folklife festival is put together? Would you like to explore how your own local folklife might be highlighted at a community festival in your area? If you are interested in understanding how folklife can enliven and educate your community festival or event then the Kentucky Folklife Program's VIP program is for you.

Each year several individuals come to the folklife festival and take part in a "behind the scenes" workshop to learn how to present folklife in a public setting. From cultural workers within the state park system to tourism specialists, these participants leave with a better understanding of how localized traditions can be presented.

Julie Martin, Director of the Downtown Henderson project, is a proponent of folklife education and had this to say about her organization's VIP experience at the festival:

"We learned a lot by coming to the folklife festival, many things we brought back to our own Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival here in Henderson. We learned how home canning is a specialized folk art which has helped us to expand how we will present some of the food traditions in our own community. We learned how folklife and folk arts are part of all communities and at our festival this year we are going to share our knowledge with everyone."

As a VIP participant you will meet one-on-one with folklife specialists from the KFP to talk about skills such as folklife documentation and presentation, use of sound systems and ideas about constructing a festival site. It is our program's hope that VIP participants will return to their home organizations with the knowledge needed to produce regional festivals and community celebrations highlighting local folklife in their areas. For more information on how you can become a VIP contact Brent Bjorkman at the Kentucky Folklife Program by email or by phone at 888-833-2787.

Festival Volunteer Opportunities Available

Photo: Blacksmith Dave Gibson

Blacksmith Dave Gibson shares with festival goers the detailed tradition of farrier work related to the Kentucky horse trade. Art as part of everyday life, in all its many forms, is the underlying theme of the Kentucky Folklife Festival. (Photo by the Kentucky Folklife Program/Kentucky Historical Society)

Since the festival began in 1997, volunteers have really been the key to success of this statewide event. In order to ensure that the festival remains an enjoyable and educational experience for all visitors, we are again asking volunteers to assist us by donating their time. Volunteers can choose to work for the entire three days or for as little as four hours. The opportunities open to volunteers are numerous and include such experiences as assisting some of Kentucky's finest musicians as they set up for a performance, helping artists as they demonstrate their traditions for visitors, working with the cooks on the foodways stage as they prepare delicious recipes to be sampled by the audience (and volunteers!), and many more rewarding duties. In addition to these on-site opportunities, KFP staff is always in dire need of construction assistance prior to the event. So if you are handy with a hammer contact us too! To join the Kentucky Folklife Festival Volunteer Family contact Kate Hesseldenz or call toll free 1 (877) 444-7867.

Kentucky Folklife Festival - Educational Opportunities

Each September, nearly 10,000 students come to Frankfort to observe and celebrate the state's cultural heritage during the Kentucky Folklife Festival. Students and teachers can hear traditional music, taste regional cuisine, learn ethnic dances, listen to the lore of riverboat pilots, and make regional crafts. As an interdisciplinary experience, the festival can serve as the focus of a study unit or enrich study units on history, music, art, social studies and multiculturalism.

Two days--Thursday and Friday--of this three-day event are geared toward school groups and feature special children's programming. To encourage interaction between students and artists, however, we must limit the number of school groups in attendance at any one time. At the time this issue of The Blue Moon went to press there were still several spots for classes left. Registration information for schools interested in attending can be obtained by visiting the KHS website or by contacting the Kentucky History Center's Educational Specialist Jennie Boyd at (502) 564-1792.

Continuing Outreach

New Folk Art Grant Recipients!!

With the support of the Kentucky Arts Council the KFP has recently awarded over $50,000 in three folk art categories, the folk art project, the tour of Kentucky Folk Music, and the Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program categories. Click here for a list of all FY04 Folk Arts program grant recipients. Congratulations to all awardees!

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