After two years of virtual-only performances, the 46th annual Fox Valley Folk Music and Storytelling Festival returns Labor Day weekend with three days of online performances, plus a different venue for concerts live the last two days.
On September 4 and 5, the in-person stage will move to a smaller indoor venue, the Acoustic Renaissance Concert Hall at Hinsdale Unitarian Church, 11 W. Maple St., Hinsdale. The festival is expected to return to its traditional Island Park setting in Geneva in 2023, according to a press release.
Featured musicians and bands in the Acoustic Renaissance Concerts room will include February Sky, Tim Grimm, Reverend Robert Jones, Lee Murdock, Trillium and Jack Williams. Daytime performances at Acoustic Renaissance will be round bands of three performers every 90 minutes in the spontaneous song-swapping format often seen at Nashville clubs and folk festivals across the United States and Canada.
The Sunday evening concert, from 7:30-9:30 p.m. on September 4, will feature Lee Murdock, Trillium and Tim Grimm. The Monday evening concert, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on September 5, will feature February Sky, the Reverend Robert Jones and Jack Williams, and conclude with a closing chorus featuring all six performers and the audience.
The festival has always featured music and storytelling on multiple stages, and this year’s virtual and in-person stages will feature music and storytelling artists via the internet, streamed live from the artists’ home stages. virtual and from the Acoustic Renaissance concert hall to watch from the comfort of home.
For those unable to make it to the live performance venue, this year’s hybrid format means that all performances from the Hinsdale Hall will be broadcast live, along with additional performances by off-site musicians and storytellers.
The virtual stages will begin on Saturday evening, September 3 with two simultaneous live streams.
At 6:30 p.m., the Storytelling Stage goes live with a “Scary Stories/Ghost Stories” concert. This is an all-ages concert featuring nationally acclaimed storytellers Anne Shimojima and Megan Wells, along with guest storytellers Beth Horner and Janice Del Negro. All of the storytellers have been featured at storytelling festivals across the country, from the famous Jonesborough Tennessee National Storytelling Festival to regional festivals that often include performers in schools as well as adult audiences. Storytelling is not just for children, festival organizers said.
The Virtual Music Stage will go live Saturday night with a concert on the main stage by storytellers performing from distant locations: Sparky and Rhonda Rucker will perform from their home in Tennessee and songwriter John Gorka from his home in Minnesota. Other remote performers include autoharp/songwriter Bryan Bowers and storyteller Emily Hooper Lansana. The traditional All-Sing Finals will include both in-person and remote performers.
The online festival will continue Sunday and Monday, with two stages of live streaming from noon to 9:30 p.m. Sunday and 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Labor Day.
Tickets for live events and donation links for online events are available only through the Fox Valley Folklore Society website at www.fvfs.org. Information is also available at 630-667-3284.
Daily admission is $30 for adults and $20 for those under 16 in advance at fvfs.org. Online viewing by voluntary donation suggests $25 per day per adult. The donations go to the artists of the festival.
Special event Geneva
Friends of Fox Valley Folk Festival is planning an informal gathering and jam from noon to 4:30 p.m. on September 3 at Island Park in Geneva. “Let’s come together to find each other,” said the festival organizers. People should bring chairs, drinks and snacks. The pavilion is available in case of rain. The invitation is extended to the many volunteers, artists and regulars of the event.
Juel Ulven in memory
Organizers announced that Juel Ulven of North Aurora, founder of the Fox Valley Folklore Society and driving force behind the festival, died Aug. 19. his fearless enthusiasm and ready smile.
To learn more about programs sponsored year-round by the Fox Valley Folklore Society, go to fvfs.org.