ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
Nestled among the hills and fields of southwestern Indiana, the Ferdinand Folk Festival, in Ferdinand, Indiana, provides a unique, earth-friendly opportunity for families and friends from the region to share a day of live music, art, and environmental education. The festival is FREE and the year-round project of many community volunteers, sponsors, and supporters. Donations are appreciated.
The festival’s primary mission is to promote—through music, art, and environmental education—the health and wellness of community. This folk music festival—folk music defined as “music originating among the common people of a nation or a region”—has its roots in several well-received, local house concert series and a desire to share outstanding singer-songwriter-musicians with a broader audience. By bringing people together in a festive spirit, the event organizers wish to celebrate the natural beauty found here, build community, learn about ways to appreciate and improve our environment, and offer a unique venue to experience quality music, good food, and original art.
The free festival, located in Ferdinand’s beautiful 18th Street Park, features nationally-acclaimed musicians and renowned regional acts. In an ideal, lush setting—a large, gently sloping lawn surrounded by trees—patrons bring picnic blankets, lawn chairs, and an appreciation for diverse music such as Americana, folk, roots blues, reggae, etc. Nearby, on a small, round stage in the heart of a grove of trees, local singer-songwriters play for the art market crowd.
The shaded lawn of the art market is a festival in itself. Dozens of regional artists and artisans display and sell their handmade work while music fills the air. Pottery, photography, clothing, jewelry, Fair Trade items from Third World countries, recycled goods, hula hoops, baked goods, soaps, tie-dyed items, woodworking, an occasional Plein air painter, and more grace the grounds.
ENVIRONMENT and WELLNESS
In the center of the art market are about 20 environmental and community groups—one of the region's largest assemblies of ecology, nature, health, and wellness educators, including solar energy installers, air quality authorities, forest advocates, LGBTQ awareness/support organizations, astronomers, pet caretakers, organic farmers, music, art, festival, and theatre promoters, and more. Each group is dedicated to creating vibrant communities and a sustainable environment for our children—seven generations from now.
To honor the children, a little ways to the south—in and around the lower shelter house—organizers offer a full day of fun and educational programs specifically for the young ones, such as a children's concert, live theatre, wildlife programs, holding or petting animals, pony rides, storytelling, a harmonica workshop, interactive art, a violin concert, an MLK-inspired Dream Wall, and more. Nearby, across a small bridge, is a state-of-the-art playground, a nearby big-bounce "Playtown", face-painting, and more. Children might even have an opportunity for a train ride through the park, a pony ride, holding a small animal, and handling and playing a violin.
MUSIC WORKSHOPS, TENT TALKS, YOGA, ETC.
Surrounding the inner part of the park are more opportunities for good health and fun—such as participating in a yoga session the morning of the festival, attending a songwriting or music workshop by a main stage artist, touring a tiny house (some years),, jamming with other musicians, attending a Tent Talk, joining a drum circle etc. These events usually take place in the upper shelter house, on the hillside above the lawn, or east of the playground near the totem pole.
Tent Talks—inspired by the renowned TED Talks—are a series of presentations and discussions under two tents near the totem pole. Each talk, led by an enthusiastic, qualified volunteer, focuses on a specific theme related to the festival, such as renewable energy, ukulele playing, garden pollinators, forest protection, knitting, energy conservation, etc. Talks occur at the top of the hour from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
The Ferdinand Folk Festival has a merchandise tent near the main stage lawn where patrons can purchase festival T-shirts, posters including the famous collectors' Hatch prints (printed in Nashville, TN), etc. Supporters can also help to keep the festival free by making a donation at the merchandise tent or in one of the many large, festive donation barrels throughout the park.
Organizers also host occasional fundraiser concerts including the annual "Half Way to the Folk Fest" concert and the friendly, singer-songwriter contest for all ages to encourage grassroots' creativity in and around the community. About one month before the festival, organizers host a showcase featuring the singer-songwriter finalists in a relaxing evening of excellent, original music in a local listening room/theatre. The showcase participants are invited to perform before a supportive and appreciative audience on the day of the festival. Meet them under the tab on our homepage. In a program called Project ACORN, begun in the summer of 2016, volunteers also provide 60 mostly free events each year (15 each season) promoting the festival themes--music, art, environmental awareness, and wellness.
Ferdinand's Project ACORN is an all-volunteer, all-ages, community outreach program--standing for Art, Community, Originality, Rhythm, and Nature--that grew out of the spirit of the Ferdinand Folk Festival. Each season community-minded citizens offer 15 free workshops, hikes, documentary film nights, discussion groups, theatrical events, field trips, classes, musical instrument-making classes, concerts, and more. So far, in the first five seasons of the program, 74 events have been offered by dozens of area enthusiasts, reaching hundreds of people. For more information about the program, visit Project ACORN on Facebook. ACORN events are fun and all about planting seeds of growth in and around the community--building friendships, encouraging conversations, networking with neighbors, developing and nurturing positive, new ideas, etc. Its motto is a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: "The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn." Stay tuned for the exciting announcement of the 15 autumn offerings in the coming weeks.
FOLK FESTIVAL FLYER with MAP OF PARK and FESTIVAL EVENTS
Free, comprehensive flyers listing the day's full slate of activities and containing a map of the park are available at the merchandise tent near the Main Stage—compliments of the Ferdinand News, a founding and sustaining sponsor of the Folk Fest.
Ferdinand’s 18th Street Park, a clean environment set amid beautiful hills and trees, features a state-of-the-art playground, miles of scenic walking trails, shelter houses, picnic tables, softball field, basketball court, volleyball areas, horseshoe pits, restrooms, and ample parking areas. The community owes a debt of gratitude to the Robert and Evelyn Leinenbach family who generously donated the land for community use—green space along with education and recreation. We are excited to add this annual event to the park’s legacy of wholesome endeavors—including a beautiful new library and the vibrant Tri-County YMCA, both which rely on environmentally-friendly geothermal energy.
FAMILY-FRIENDLY FESTIVAL SPIRIT / EXPECTATIONS
1. All adults who attend are asked, while enjoying the day, to please set an example for our youth and engage in responsible, family-friendly behavior.
2. Patrons may bring coolers into the park, but bottles are not allowed, to protect the children and others from broken glass.
3. If you are 21 or older and drink alcohol, please drink responsibly.
4. Please keep all alcoholic beverages in the concert lawn area, not in the art market and children's area.
5. Underaged drinkers may face arrest. There will be increased security on festival grounds for the 2017 and future events.
6. The day can also be a fun day for families who own pets. Pets are welcomed. Please keep them on a leash for their and others' protection.
SPECIAL THANK YOU
The Ferdinand Folk Festival committee extends a heartfelt thank you to Marc Steczyk who for the first seven years has been instrumental in helping to build a successful festival. His labors, dedication, and commitment to excellence have helped to set a high standard. We wish him well in his leadership roles at the nearby Lincoln Amphitheatre in Spencer County and in the restoration/renovation of the historic Astra Theatre on the Square in Jasper, the seat of Dubois County. Marc's devotion to providing and marketing venues for live music and the arts in the area is greatly appreciated.
THANK YOU TO OUR 2017 SPONSORS
Moore Music & Guitars of Evansville: Co-Presenting Sponsor
Best Home Furnishings: Co-Presenting Sponsor
MasterBrand Cabinets: Children’s Activities and Headline Artist Sponsor
Kyana Woodstock: Sponsor of Market Stage
NextEra Energy Resources: Sponsor of Main Stage
Dubois County Visitors' Center & Tourism Commission
German American Bank
Jasper Engines & Transmissions
Old National Bank
Uebelhor & Sons--Chevy Cadillac Toyota
Psi Iota Xi
Ferdinand Farmers Mutual Insurance
OEEC/Friends of Ferdinand
Louisville Mill Supply
Hot Hot Lovers, Artisan Barbeque Seasonings
Ackerman Oil Company
Universal Design Associates
FRIENDS OF FOLK FEST
Harvest Moon Bed & Breakfast
NASCAR Club of Southern Indiana
St. Benedict’s Brew Works
Tin Lizzie’s Home Décor & Gifts
Ferdinand American Legion Post 124
Town of Ferdinand
Ferdinand Chamber of Commerce
DC Broadcasting / 101 Country WBDC
So on Saturday, September 16, 2017, we invite you to bring your family and friends (and pets!) to the eighth annual Ferdinand Folk Festival—just one of many reasons why our community is an attractive place to live, work, play, raise a family, start a business, or retire. Visit us for a day; join us for a lifetime.
The 2017 Ferdinand Folk Festival Committee
Chris James, town manager