From first-timers to professionals

Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2001

About 150 acts are slated to take the stage for one of Juneau's favorite rites of spring, the Alaska Folk Festival, starting next week.

The free performances begin Monday night and continue through Sunday.

A couple of events have been moved this year. A Friday "Coffee and Jam" session will be at St. Ann's Parish Hall instead of McPhetres Hall. And afternoon dance workshops will be at the National Guard Armory to give people more room, festival board member Jack Fontanella said.

Organizers are still in the market for volunteers. Signup sheets will be available at the membership table at Centennial Hall and volunteers are needed at the night dances at the Armory to sweep the floor and fill water jugs, Fontanella said.

The Tongass Alaska Girl Scout Council will provide free child care at Centennial Hall on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays nights, said board member Heidi Johnson. A family concert is slated for 10 a.m. to noon at Centennial Hall.

The festival will include late night jam sites where musicians can play until the wee hours. The Goldbelt Hotel will be open Thursday and Saturday nights, The Back Room at the Silverbow is the spot on Friday and musicians can jam at the Hangar on Sunday night, Johnson said. A songwriters' showcase is at the Back Room at the Silverbow on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Over the course of the week, the festival is expected to have about 10,000 attendees, many of them repeat fans. And this year's schedule has a few more first-time festival performers in the mix, said board member Michael Sakarias.

As usual, the festival features a mix of folk, bluegrass, old-time music, vocal groups, jazz and fiddle tunes.

"Expect to see everything from someone who is on the stage for the first time in their people who have been playing for 30 years and are professional," Fontanella said. "And everything in between."

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