to open Village Folk Festival on Memorial Day
By Charles Cassady
Published May 25, 2005
Village Folk Festival Memorial Day Monday
Bay Village High School auditorium
29230 Wolf Road.
$15 general admission
$10 for students
Greetings has done a lot for the Cleveland community and culture
in general. They've given us the Care Bears, Holly Hobbie and Robert
Crumb. And, if you want to think of it this way, the Village Folk
Festival at Bay Village is also a fringe-benefit.
because the impresario behind it is Bay resident Robert Lanning,
a managing editor at AG. His job put him in touch with Northeast
Ohio writer/illustrator Jim Gill, who not only has his own line
of amusing cards but is also a folk singer. "Two years ago we did
something we called 'An Evening of Folk Music and Bluegrass.' And
we had a pretty good turnout with that in the Community House."
This Monday Memorial Day the event returns, in grander
fashion, as the Village Folk Festival, in a bigger venue now (Bay
Village High School auditorium) and with three big singer-songwriter
acts from the folk-acoustic field.
the all-ages show will be Kate Voegele, a Bay Village teenager who
started performing as a freshman and has since been booked locally
and nationally (including at Farm Aid in 2004, along with Dave Matthews,
Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp). Voegele has issued
two EPs, one entitled "Louder Than Years" and the other, recorded
in Los Angeles, called "The Other Side," which brought her much
attention as an up-and-coming talent.
of course, Jim Gill is out of the inkwell and on board as the second-act
entertainment. "I would say that his sense of humor applies to his
songwriting," said Lanning. Gill is a star on the Lake Erie Islands
and brewery circuit, he said, but added that "we'll probably hear
a little bit more of the ballads and the softer stuff." Gill has
two CDs in print, "So Fine" and last year's "Sky."
The headliner is Red House Records artist John Gorka the
first time Lanning has booked a national act. Even he seems surprised
at how it came off.
"We just extended an invitation. He's been one of my favorite folk
singers of the past 10 years; I'm such an admirer of his work....I
think I started with an e-mail to his agent and followed up with
Gorka, on a bicoastal tour, was available for the Bay Village gig
on the holiday weekend, and Lanning couldn't be happier with the
mix of talent. "His poetry blends in well with Jim Gill's ballads,"
in Newark, N.J., in 1958, Gorka has put out nine albums in a career
that dates back to his high school and college days in Bethlehem,
Pa., where he became a house act for a lively coffee-house venue
and opened for Nanci Griffith, Bill Morrissey, Claudia Schmidt and
Jack Hardy, among others. He worked at Sing Out magazine for two
years before becoming a full-time musician and acoustic troubador
in 1986. Even after nearly two decades in the field, Gorka says
he considers himself "an aspiring folksinger" trying to make a difference
with his music. More on the artist can be found at his Web site,
Profits from the show will go to Bay Village Middle School, specifically
to fund installation of artwork in the recently-remodeled facility.
"We just thought it would be nice, especially since [Kate Voegele]'s
a senior this year," said Lanning, whose wife teaches at Bay Middle
Will the Bay Folk Festival become an annual event? "I hope so,"
said Lanning, who added he would like to see (and here) a lot more
folk music on this end of Cuyahoga County. "Cain Park in Cleveland
Heights has a lot of these activities. I thought it would be nice
for the West Side."
If it comes off well, we all know where to buy the thank-you cards.