Abundant opportunities for AFF participation

The Alaska Folk Festival offers a range of opportunities for public participation outside of attending concerts at Centennial Hall -- from dancing at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center to taking a festival workshop. Here’s a look at some of the ways to get involved in the action.



Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights the Juneau Arts & Culture Center will host a range of called dances in different styles. The dances are open to everyone, regardless of experience level. To see the schedule of dances, visit www.akfolkfest.org.


At the membership table in the Centennial Hall lobby, organizers have placed a bright green plastic bucket called the “Bucket of Memories.” Attendees to the festival are encouraged to fill out one of the cards on the table by sharing a strong memory of the Folk Festival from any time over the past 40 years. After the card is filled out, drop it in the bucket. The cards will be read aloud to the audience by Folk Fest emcees during breaks between sets. Find out more by visiting the membership table in the lobby.


On Saturday and Sunday, workshops will be held at Centennial Hall on topics ranging from Cajun singing (led by members of the guest artist band BonSoir, Catin) to blues guitar (led by Folk Fest veteran Pat Henry). Here’s a look at the list.

Saturday workshops

• Mic Use and Stagecraft with Lucy Peckham, Rick Miller and Mike Sakarias. 10-11:30 a.m., Main Stage. Learn how to use mics, DIs, stage monitors effectively

• Jam Buster Beginning Ukelele with Amy Houck and Rhonda Gardenier. 10:30 a.m. to noon, Hickel Room.

• Cajun Singing with guest artist Christine Balfa of Bonsoir, Catin. 12-1:30 p.m., Hammond Room. Lyric sheets provided.

• Finger Picking Blues Guitar with Pat Henry. 12-1:30 p.m., Hickel Room. Learn to finger pick and sing some blues.

• Banjo Panel with Jack Fontanella, Katie Henry, Paul Desdier, Katya Kirsch. 12-1:30 p.m., Egan Room.

• Couple Dance with John Laskey. 12-1:30 p.m., Sheffield Ballroom. Waltz, polka, schotisch, swing and maybe hambo and or tango.

• Harmony Singing with John Palmes. 1:30-3 p.m., Hammond Room. Singers and non singers learn fundamentals for finding and feeling their own harmony parts.

• Finger Picking Guitar with guest dance band artist Devin Champlin of the Gallus Brothers. 1:30-3 p.m., Hickel Room.

• 3 Finger Banjo for Fiddle Tunes with guest dance band artist Lucas Hicks of the Gallus Brothers. 1:30-3 p.m., Egan Room.

• Family Square Dance with Caroline Oakley. 1:30-3 p.m., JACC.

• Kids Dancing with Kid Burfl. 3-4:30 p.m., Hammond Room.

• Cajun Tune and Jam Session with guest artists Bonsoir, Catin. 3-4:30 p.m., Hickel and Egan Rooms. Accordion, fiddle, guitar, bass and triangle.

• Blues Dancing 101 with Daniel Martin. 3-4:30 p.m. JACC. An introduction to Blues Dancing, a vernacular dance tradition rooted in the music of the rural South.

Sunday workshops

• Louisiana Song Writing with guest artists Christine Balfa, Meagan Berard, Yvetter Landry, Kristi Guillory of Bonsoir, Catin. 12-1:30 p.m., Hammond Room.

• Universal Peace Dance with Leah LaBar. 12-1:30 p.m., Hickel Room.

• Fiddle for Violinists with John Palmes, 12-1:30 p.m., Egan Room. How to play violin chords and play as a rhythm instrument.

• English Country Dance with Odette Foster. 12-1:30 p.m., Sheffield Ballroom.

• Washboard What Not with guest dance band artist Lucas Hicks of the Gallus Brothers. 1:30-3 p.m., Hammond Room.

• Music Business with Ken Waldman, 1:30-3 p.m., Hickel Room.

• Return of the Psaltry with Dennis Townsend, 1:30-3 p.m., Egan Room.

• Mandolin with Charlie Hunt. 1:30-3 p.m., Sheffield Ballroom.

• Cajun & Old-Time Fiddle with guest artist Anya Burgess of Bonsoir, Catin. 3-4:30 p.m., Hammond Room. Intermediate.

• Mandolin Rags with with guest dance band artist Devin Champlin of the Gallus Brothers. 3-4:30 p.m., Hickel Room.

• Let’s Sing Nature Songs! with Dan Pascucci. 3-4:30 p.m., Egan Room. Songs celebrating nature and ecological topics.

Other events

• 22nd annual All-Day Coffee & Jam, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday, JACC. Dancing to an open band performing contra and square dance tunes, with an open mic for callers. Local attendees should bring a dish to share with out-of-town dancers and musicians.

• Family Concert, 10:30 a..m. to noon, Saturday, Sheffield Ballroom. Featuring Dan Pascucci, Robin Hopper and Good Dog (Jim Pfeiffenberger and Liese Davenport).

• Instrument swap, 1:30-4:30 p.m., Saturday, Sheffield Ballroom.

• Songwriters Showcase, 3-6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Back Room at the Silverbow. Show up at the Silverbow to sign up.


Finally, attendees to the Folk Festival can help support this annual event by becoming members of the nonprofit organization. Several levels of membership are available, beginning with the $15-29 level. All members are entitled to voting privileges.

A meeting of all members and elections for board members will be held on Friday at 5 p.m. at the JACC.

Find out more here: www.akfolkfest.org/mbrship.php.


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