MSU Museum announces 2016 Folk Festival line-up

Posted at 11:33 AM, May 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-25 11:33:06-04

The roots, the rhythms and the richness of music, dance, arts and culture come to downtown East Lansing for the Michigan State University Museum's annual Great Lakes Folk Festival, Aug. 12-14.

The music and dance program includes:

Alash Ensemble | Tuvan Throat Singing | Chicago
Arlene McDaniel | Swing Jazz | Bath, Mich.
Barefoot Becky | Polka | Mount Veron, Iowa
Calan | Welsh Celtic | Swansea, Wales 
Grace Chang | Chinese Guzheng | Yorktown Heights, N.Y.
Masters of Harmony | A Cappella Gospel | Detroit, Mich.
Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper | Bluegrass | Charlestown, Ind.
Nadim Dlaikan | Arab-American Nay | Southgate, Mich.
Paulette Brockington | Swing Dance and the Lindy Hop | Highland Park, Mich.
Rev. Robert Jones Sr. | Blues | Detroit, Mich.
Roots Vibration | Reggae | Detroit, Mich.
Orquesta Ritmo | Salsa | Mid-Michigan
Trío Los Primos  | Trío Romántico | Romeoville, Ill.
Volo Bogtrotters | Old-Time/ Contra | Chicago
The Western Flyers | Western Swing | Burleson, Texas
Learn more here: Music and Dance Program

-Most groups play 2-4 times throughout the weekend, including sets on a 2,400-foot dance floor.

-Musicians from different groups take the stage in popular Traditions Showcases --  fiddlers, percussionists, accordion players -- to share and compare traditions and techniques of their instruments.

-Also, for festival-goers to participate:
Ukulele Strum
Community Sing
Shape Note Singing
Dance Instruction - Square & Contra Dancing, Swing/Lindy Hop
Jam Tent – new this year!

A performance schedule will be set in July.

Exhibits, demonstrations, storytelling, marketplace, Kidlore children's folk activities, Taste of Traditions foodways, and Heritage Awards make the Great Lakes Festival a one-of-a-kind celebration of culture, tradition and community where visitors can sample and savor the distinctive cultural expressions throughout the festival weekend. Special programs for 2016 include:

Jam Tent
This new program brings more opportunities for audience participation at the festival. The Jam Tent will have scheduled music jams hosted by talented local musicians. Jams will be centered on different genres of traditional music, including Bluegrass, Appalachian Old Time, Irish, and Cajun. Music jams are a great way to learn about traditional music and are open invitation, so anyone can play, listen, and dance. No prior experience necessary. Bring your instrument, your dancing shoes, or just yourself!

60/50 Quilted Conversations Tent
The 60/50 Quilted Conversations tent features a pop-up exhibit and conversations about civil and human rights. Quilts from the Museum's collection and quilt blocks from the community quilt project 60/50 Quilted Conversations: Materializing Civil and Human Rights, will spark discussion on different social issues.

Arts and Health
Many cultures and communities have a long history of traditional arts, medicines and practices that have helped to sustain healthy living and address health challenges. Around the world, new attention is being given to the ways in which the arts and traditional knowledge about healing and wellness can address contemporary health issues. Attendees will learn about arts and health through panel discussions exhibits including quilt & fiber art displays.

Campus and Community
This program features exhibits and presentations of exemplary collaborative projects where MSU faculty and staff have co-created partnerships that respond to community issues, needs, challenges, or opportunities.

Great, Guaranteed!

2016 Michigan Heritage Awards
Each year at GLFF, the MSU Museum presents the Michigan Heritage Awards recognizing the state's leading tradition-bearers in music, material culture and community leadership. This year's honorees are: The Costabella Cloggers of Hessel (Mecosta and Isabella Counties) for Team clogging; David Dutcher of Hessel (Mackinac County), Native American arts [appliqué beadwork, leatherwork, copper jewelry]; Carole Howard of Mount Pleasant (Isabella County) for Square dance calling; Matt Kazmierski of Plymouth (Wayne County), for Marimba building; Thomas Kelly of Detroit (Wayne), A cappella gospel singing; Gary Tassier of Cedarville (Mackinac County) for Boat building and restoration; and Paul Wilson of Hessel (Mackinac County) for Traditional boat building.

The Marketplace returns this year with more recycled and upcycled green goods, from jewelry to garden and fiber art, and sculpture. The MSU Museum also showcases master artists in textiles, basketry and other traditional arts. (Attention prospective vendors: apply at; search for MSU Museum's Great Lakes Folk Festival.)

Children’s Area ‘Kidlore’ Activities
Kids will have the opportunity for hands-on experiences inspired by the artists and traditions of the Michigan Traditional Arts Program.

Michigan Food Trucks & Local Food Vendors: come and sample the unique, eclectic, local and artisanal products these vendors provide!

The festival site -- across the street from the MSU campus -- spans the downtown core of the city for three days of festival fun. Find out more at

Festival fast facts:

Festival hours are:  Friday, Aug. 12, 6 - 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 13, noon - 10:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 14, noon - 6 p.m.  For more information, call the MSU Museum at (517) 432-GLFF (4533) or learn more at http://www.greatlakesfolkfest.netand on facebook (Great Lakes Folk Festival) and twitter  (

Admission is by donation (suggested $10 per day) and contributions leading up to the event and on-site -- sustain GLFF.  Festival friends can make donations leading up to the event online at or at the MSU Museum.

Parking is available in downtown ramps and across Grand River Avenue on the MSU campus (in designated areas; free on weekends). GLFF also provides bike parking on-site.

More than 400 agile volunteers assist the MSU Museum in staging the event - from artist transportation, children's activities, information booth, site set-up and tear down, ice delivery and visitor surveys.

The Great Lakes Folk Festival is presented by the Michigan State University Museum, Michigan's first Smithsonian affiliate. The MSU Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Program researches, documents, preserves, and presents our shared heritage and cultural expressions. Primary financial support for GLFF comes from Michigan State University Office of the Provost, University Outreach and Engagement, the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of East Lansing, and many MSU departments.  In addition, nearly 100 corporations, foundations and organizations also support GLFF annually, as well as individual donors, "Great Friends."