Folk on the Island
Festival founder and recreational musician Juel Ulven is surrounded by his collection of 50 or so banjos, ukuleles and guitars as he talks about the upcoming Fox Valley Folk Music & Storytelling Festival set for Labor Day weekend.
Now in its 42nd year — 2017 was drowned out as summer floods damaged the grassy banks of Geneva’s Island Park, necessitating reseeding — the festival celebrates America’s folklore heritage in story and song. Thirty featured acts from across the U.S. will perform on eight stages, alongside local music and dance groups. Expert storytellers will captivate audiences young and old with spooky tales of ghosts and ghouls on Sunday evening.
Attracting crowds of several thousand, the festival also features workshops on slide guitar, banjo and the tricks of spinning a good yarn. Traffic is banned from the island, though cyclists on trails that meander through the park always stop to listen. Select vendors are at hand for food, artists’ recordings and souvenir gifts. A preview jam will air on WFMT 98.7 FM on Saturday, September 1 at 8 p.m.
“It’s a homecoming, a family reunion,” says Ulven, “where musicians return each year to touch base.”Edit Module