Bring on the Music: Folk Fest begins Monday

Robert Cohen directs The Littlest Folksingers made up of Clara Don, left, Keegan Cross, Elin Antaya and Electra Morley on the first night of the 2014 Alaska Folk Festival at Centennial Hall.

Banjos, guitars, mandolins, voices: the 41st annual Alaska Folk Festival starts Monday, April 6, and for the next week there won’t be many in Juneau who spend a day without tapping their feet or just getting up and dancing – or, of course, performing.


2015’s guest artists are the Byron Berline Band, which plays “their own brand of traditional bluegrass and Western swing music.”

Byron Berline has performed along with The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Alabama, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and many other well-known artists.

Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, PFLAG, kicks Folk Fest off at 7 p.m. with its Juneau Pride Chorus. That night’s lineup stars a run of performers from Juneau and Douglas, including If the Ocean, The Wool Pullers and Stringing in the Rain.

Performers this year come from around Alaska, (Pelican, Nome, Skagway, Haines, Thorne Bay, Anchorage, Petersburg, Gustavus, Craig, Sutton …) and the Lower 48 (Florida, Idaho, Oklahoma, Washington, New York, Texas…) and Canada.

Performances, as always, average 15 minutes each; each evening’s performances run about four hours total. Anyone can sign up; this year, as was the case last year (and the year before …) there’s a wait list of musicians.

Workshops begin Saturday and Sunday, April 4 and 5. Some workshops scheduled for this year are beginning ukulele, harmonica improvisation, songwriting, English country dance, mandolin, family square dance, and marimba. Friday, April 10 is an all-day coffee and jam, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Folk Fest is entirely free to attend; it relies on member contributions to keep going. Membership starts at $15 a year. The annual membership meeting this year is 5 p.m. Friday, April 10 at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center.

Folk Fest will last through Sunday, April 12, concluding with a 9 p.m. performance by the Byron Berline Band. (They’ll also play at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 9.) The festival takes place at Centennial Hall in Juneau.

For more information and a complete schedule of events and performers, go to


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