Midwest Folklife Festival Returns to Western Illinois - August 4 - 5, 2012

Twelfth Annual Midwest Folklife Festival Returns to Western Illinois
2012 Festival Theme is “Labor and Leisure”

2012 Midwest Folklife Festival Button

The twelfth annual Midwest Folklife Festival returns to historic Bishop Hill, Illinois, located in the state’s western Henry County, August 4 – 5, 2012.  The Midwest Folklife Festival is a two-day free outdoor public festival that highlights the ethnic and folk arts, customs, and practices of the participating Midwestern states.  Each year this family-friendly festival is hosted by a different Midwestern state, and this year Illinois is joined by Minnesota and Wisconsin in presenting their states’ artists and folkways at the festival.  The once bustling 19th century communal settlement of Bishop Hill has been selected as the festival site for 2012 and will provide an exciting location for the festival.  The community of Bishop Hill continues to preserve its unique cultural legacy and is proud to again serve as the host for the Midwest Folklife Festival, having played host to the festival in 2006 and 2009.

The Midwest Folklife Festival serves as a showcase for the rich cultural arts and traditions of the Upper Midwest where visitors can engage with some of the best traditional ethnic and folk artists in the region in educational and interactive ways.  By  selecting the theme “Labor and Leisure” festival organizers hope that festival-goers will enjoy exploring the many ways art, culture, and tradition are passed on and shared through both our working lives and our leisure time.

Performance Stage Artists for the 2012 Midwest Folklife Festival include the following; from Illinois - Robert Bowlin and Wil Maring, acoustic bluegrass; Burmese Karen Dancers; The Gordons with Katie Davis, Appalachian bluegrass; The Hoyle Brothers, country music; Juvenato, Colombian vallenato, cumbia, and merengue; Lamajamal,  Balkan and Middle Eastern; and T-Rroma, tamburitzan and Romani.  From Minnesota, Pop Wagner, cowboy, fiddle player and raconteur will perform and demonstrate mohair cinch weaving.  Representing Wisconsin is Tejumola F. Ologboni, aka “Teju the Storyteller”, African American storyteller. Many of the performing artists will have CD’s available for purchase.

In addition, Company of Folk will host a musical tribute to Woody Guthrie at 6:00 pm on Saturday, August 4 at the Colony Inn in Bishop Hill. 

Material Culture Artists at the 2012 Midwest Folklife Festival will have tents set up throughout the festival grounds where they will display and demonstrate their work and engage with festival-goers. Some artists will have work available for purchase. Representing Illinois folkways are: Walter S. Arnold, stone carver; Glen C. Davies, sideshow banner and show front painter; Roy DePauw, Rolle Bolle maker and tournament player with Gerry Verstraete, Rolle Bolle tournament player and game historian;  Teresa Mickels and the Northern Illinois Bocce Ball Association; Stanley Robinson and Silver Stallion Ranch, Black cowboy traditions; and Amazon Payton Smiley, African hair sculpting.  Also featured are folk and traditional artists Cheryl Minnema, representing the beadwork traditions of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, from Minnesota; and Mary Lou Schneider, along with her daughter, Betty Schneider, who represent the tradition of sturgeon spear fishing on Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin.

The 2012 Midwest Folklife Festival is sponsored and produced by the Illinois Arts Council, Bishop Hill Heritage Association, and Company of Folk, in cooperation with the Bishop Hill State Historic Site, Bishop Hill Arts Council, Minnesota State Arts Board, and the Wisconsin Arts Board. It is also partially funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

For more information on the festival visit www.midwestfolklifefestival.org, or www.bishophill.com, or contact Susan Dickson, Director of Ethnic & Folk Arts, Literature, and Presenters Programs, Illinois Arts Council, 312-814-6740 or susan.dickson@illinois.gov.

Performance Stage Schedule     Saturday, August 4, 2012


11:00 am        Teju, the Storyteller

12:00 pm        The Gordons, with Katie Davis

1:00 pm          Pop Wagner

2:00 pm          T-Rroma

3:00 pm          Burmese Karen Dancers

4:00 pm          Juvenato

5:00 pm          The Hoyle Brothers

6:00 pm          Company of Folk Woody Guthrie Tribute – Bishop Hill Tavern

7:00 pm          Barn Dance at the Colony School


Performance Stage Schedule     Sunday, August 5, 2012

11:00 am        Pop Wagner

12:00 pm        Silver Stallion Ranch demonstration

1:00 pm          Teju, the Storyteller

2:00 pm          Robert Bowlin and Wil Maring

3:00 pm          Lamajamal

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