Heard on CultureShift

Ann Arbor Folk Festival Goes Online for its 44th Year

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Image credit: Courtesy of Ann Arbor Folk Festival

Folk Fest At Home will feature virtual performances from over 20 musicians on January 29-30, plus a special tribute to the late John Prine on Sunday, January 31.

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The Ann Arbor Folk Festival began in 1977 as a fundraiser for The Ark to support the preservation of folk, roots, and ethnic music. Now in its 44th year, the annual festival will look a little different than in years past as it shifts to a virtual format due to the pandemic. 

Folk Fest At Home” will feature a blend of over 20 well-known and up-and-coming artists performing 20-40 minute virtual sets on Friday, January 29 and Saturday, January 30. This year, the fest will be extended to Sunday for a special Michigan Tribute to John Prine.


Learn more about the Folk Fest and check out a preview of the performers below:


Friday, January 29

Raul Malo
Headlining the show on the first night of the festival is Raul Malo of the Grammy award-winning country music band, The Mavericks.

Colin Hay
From the late 70s to the 80s, Colin was the frontman for the band Men at Work. For the last 30 years, he has continued on his music journey as a solo artist.

Alan Doyle
Originally from Newfoundland, Doyle is part of the band Great Big Sea, which started in the 1990s. Allen has also been a world-class onstage storyteller, as he has released three books about coming from St. Johns, Newfoundland.

The War and Treaty
Michael and Tanya, the husband-and-wife duo of The War and Treaty will also make a repeat appearance at the festival. Their first appearance for the Ann Arbor Folk Festival was in February 2018.

Glen Phillips
Singer and songwriter Glen Phillips, the former bandleader of Toad and the Wet Sprocket, will be featured solo.

Kiefer Sutherland
Well known for his acting career and now country music, Kiefer Sutherland is making a return to the festival as well.

Joe Pug, Amythyst Kiah, Wille Waston, Ron Pope and The Accidentals round out the performances on January 29.


Saturday, January 30

Todd Snider
Born in Memphis, Todd began in the Texas music scene during the 1990s. He made his debut in 1994 with songs on the Daily Planet.

Bruce Cockburn
Canadian folk legend Bruce Cockburn would’ve celebrated his 50th anniversary on the road last year, but the pandemic canceled his tour. Highly regarded and featured on a postage stamp 10 years ago in Canada, Bruce focuses much of his songwriting around is a society and politics.

Vance Gilbert
Vance got his start in the music industry opening for Sean Colburn in the 90s. The former jazz and now folk singer will provide his sincere flair to the virtual festival.

Dar Williams
An artist who started her career at the Ark is Dar Williams. Her independent debut album, The Honesty Room, is one of the bestselling independent folk albums of the year. 

Other performers featured on the Saturday night lineup include George Winston, David Bromberg, Dom Elemons, Chris Matthews, Andrea von Kampen, and The RFD Boys.

Web story written by Haleemah Aqel

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Rob Reinhart, Host, Rob Reinhart’s Essential Music and Acoustic Cafe

Rob Reinhart is host of WDET’s “Essential Music,” “CultureShift” and the syndicated program “Acoustic Cafe,” heard on 125 stations around the country, and stations from Greece to New Zealand. He’s voted in 10 presidential elections: 4 wins, 6 losses.

rreinhart@wdet.org Follow @RobReinhart

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