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Dubois County














Nestled among the hills and fields of southwestern Indiana, the Ferdinand Folk Festival, set in a beautiful 18th Street Park, provides a unique, family and earth-friendly opportunity for people from the region to share a day of live music, art, and environmental/wellness education. The festival is FREE and the year-round project of many community volunteers, sponsors, and supporters. Hundreds of hours of labor donated by community-minded citizens combined with the generosity of our donors make the festival a fun gathering for all ages. 


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, share our neighborly values, learn about ways to appreciate and improve Indiana's bottom-ranking environmental record, and offer a unique venue to experience quality music, good food, and original art.


The free festival 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, and more grace the grounds. A Plein air painter might even set up an easel to capture some of the magic of the festival.


In the center of the art market are about 15 - 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, 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 with a new "musical park", a nearby big-bounce "Playtown", face-painting, and more. Children might even have an opportunity to hold a live animal, handle and play a violin, participate in an interactive storytelling activity, a children's play, take a train ride through the park, or a pony ride.


The festival offers several opportunities promoting health, such as participating in a yoga session by Fire Horse Yoga or a Tai Chi session the morning of the festival, attending a drum circle, and other wellness activities.


Patrons can participate in a songwriting or music workshop and/or an all-day jam session, where all ages and all talent levels can play together in a fun, informal, and welcoming setting. These events usually take place in the upper shelter house.


Each year, the festival offers a variety of educational, eco-friendly activities such as meeting regional solar energy installers, solar home tours in the neighborhood, meeting doctors sharing facts about our region's air quality and health concerns about Indiana's bottom-ranking environmental record, seeing a new Tesla, enjoying giant renewable energy puppets, touring a tiny house, morning, before-the-festival activities like yoga, Tai Chi, a hike, or a bike ride before the festival, etc.


Tent Talks—inspired by the renowned TED Talks—are a series of presentations and discussions under two blue tents near the outdoor music instrument play area east of the main playground. Each talk, led by an enthusiastic, qualified volunteer, focuses on a specific theme related to the festival, such as renewable energy, clean air, ukulele playing, garden pollinators, forest protection, knitting, energy conservation, etc. Eight talks, usually two per hour, begin 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. Behind the merch tent is an area where the performers may sell their cds and other merch.


To help keep the fest free, organizers also host occasional fundraiser concerts including the annual, friendly, singer-songwriter contest. The volunteers encourage grassroots' creativity for all ages in and around the community and region. About one month before the festival, organizers host a showcase featuring the singer-songwriter finalists performing their original music to a listening audience in a small local theatre. The showcase participants are then invited to kick off the Festival on the NextEra Energy Stage at 11:00 am ET and perform a short set of their own songs on the Kyana Woodstock Market Stage. Meet the singer-songwriters under the tab on our homepage. 


Inspired by the success and community spirit of the Folk Festival, in June of 2016, some of the founders of the Fest launched an original partner project called Project ACORN, building upon the Festival's themes of music, art, environment, and wellness. The all-volunteer, all-ages program—standing for Art, Community, Originality, Rhythm, and Nature—each season offers 15 free workshops, hikes, documentary film nights, discussion groups, theatrical events, field trips, classes, concerts, and more. So far, in the first eight and a half seasons of the program, 130 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.


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. Special thanks to editor Kathy Tretter and the paper's graphics and advertising staff for creating such a helpful guide every year. A printable schedule and map are also available here our homepage.


From our first year, Bill Potter has been our joyful and spirited MC, keeping the day flowing smoothly. A Ferdinand native and longtime radio and television personality, Bill is the general manager of DC Broadcasting / 101 Country WBDC, one of our founding sponsors. We are grateful for the many ways the company helps to support the festival, including the popular Ferdinand Folk Hours, a series of radio shows, co-hosted by festival volunteers, that give listeners a sneak preview of the upcoming Folk Fest music. 


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, recycling stations, 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. 


Disc golfers might want to begin their day by trying out the beautiful, new course located in the hills just south of the festival grounds and east of the new library and YMCA.


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.


The Ferdinand Folk Festival volunteer group extends a heartfelt thank you to former town manager Marc Steczyk who, in collaboration with community volunteers for the first seven years, was 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.

We also want to thank fellow volunteer Dave Wylam, who for many years generously gave his time to the organization of the merch tent and other aspects of the festival. Thank you, too, to volunteer Jamison Denning who contributed to the success of the festival through his attention to parking logistics, trash removal, and safety. And thank you, also, to volunteer brothers Karl and Paul Hinson for their invaluable help with the festival set-up, the Market Stage sound, and the breakdown after the festival since our first year.



Best Home Furnishings — Co-presenting Sponsor

MasterBrand Furnishing — Co-Presenting Sponsor

NextEra Energy Resources — Sponsor of Main Stage


Kyana Woodstock — Sponsor of Market Stage

Moore Music and Guitars — Spnosor of Folk Jammers, Hospitality Tent

Dubois County Visitor's Center & Tourism


Kyana Woodstock: Sponsor of Market Stage

NextEra Energy Resources: Sponsor of Main Stage

Dubois County Visitors' Center & Tourism Commission


Access Storage Now!

German American Bank

Kimball Electronics

Jasper Engines & Transmissions

Old National Bank

Kimball International


Uebelhor & Sons—Chevy Cadillac Toyota

Psi Iota Xi

Ferdinand Farmers Mutual Insurance

Ferdinand Chamber of Commerce

OEEC/Friends of Ferdinand

Hot Hot Lovers Artisan Seasoning

Webb Wheel

Edward Jones—Mike Blume

Adyeville General Store


Ackerman Oil Company

Ferdinand Processing



Universal Design Associates

St. Benedicts Brew Works

Pro-Rehab of Ferdinand


Pund P/H/AC

Tin Lizzie’s Home Décor & Gifts

NASCAR Club of Southern Indiana


Jasper Group

Bob's Liquors

Queen Anne House Concert Series

Project ACORN 


Town of Ferdinand

Ferdinand News

DC Broadcasting / 101 Country WBDC


We appreciate your support.



On the day of the festival, supporters can help to keep the fest free by making a donation at the merchandise tent or in one of the many large, festive donation barrels throughout the park. Donors may also contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



The Folk Fest volunteer group thanks everyone—our founding sponsors, our MC Bill Potter, The Ferdinand News, new sponsors, the town leadership and employees, in-kind volunteers, musicians, singer-songwriters, artists, environment/wellness leaders, children's presenters, food vendors, and Tent Talk speakers—for partnering with us to make the ninth annual Ferdinand Folk Festival a special community gathering in the region.

In the words of our headliner Dar Williams, in her book What I Found in a Thousand Towns, "When we let our curiosity and interests, and a little trust, lead us outside our doors and onto the village green, we will flourish as citizens and so will our towns."

We welcome our fellow citizens from Ferdinand and friends from the surrounding communities and region to our town's beautiful 18th Street Park. We wish each of you in attendance (and your pets!) a wonderful day of relaxation, music, art, education, and fun. The festival is 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."

We hope you have fun at this year's festival. Be safe and enjoy your day.

Volunteer co-coordinators Rock Emmert and Kris Lasher; Town Manager and Fest Chair Chris James; volunteers Ali Daunhauer, Sue Fink, Allie Pund, Brett Pund, Brent Sicard, Emi Steczyk, Aaron Trafton


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