Folklore Village to Host 2005 Midwest Folklife Festival

By Jocelyne Bodden

For many of us, our relationship to the past, to our indigenous or immigrant ancestors, is an important part of our identity. We often hold on to particular traditions, certain ways of doing things, objects or songs, because those things say something about who we are, where we come from, and what we embrace as significant. Some of these traditions we identify as ethnic, but we also have traditions connected with the place where we live and the company we keep. More often than not these ways of life are expressed through our occupations, recreational activities and hobbies.

Folklore Village's Farwell Hall. Photo courtesy of Folklore Village.

“The best ways to appreciate traditional culture is to have the space, physically and mentally, to sit with and focus with it,” says Doug Miller, Director of Folklore Village. “This level of experience is deeper because it is without distractions.” The Midwest Folklife Festival offers just that! This two day celebration of our regional traditional arts and music will be held at Folklore Village is Dodgeville, Wisconsin August 20-21 from 11am-8pm, and will showcase many indigenous peoples and immigrant groups who call the Upper Midwest their home and who have added cultural richness to our region.

This is the fifth festival for Folklore Village and the collaborative effort of the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures of UW-Madison, the Wisconsin State Arts Board, and of course, the staff and volunteers of Folklore Village. The Midwest Folklife Festival is an ongoing cooperative project between state folk arts programs in the Upper Midwest. Originally introduced in 2001, the Festival has rotated between Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota on an annual basis and this year we are pleased to welcome the Illinois Arts Council to the mix.

This festival allows for the presentation of regional cultural traditions and master folk artists in engaging, educational ways to help the general public gain a better understanding of the nature of folklife and the ways in which it is kept alive. Varied opportunities are available at each of the indoor and outdoor venues at Folklore Village’s 94-acre site. At the main stage tent, audience members can listen to diverse music traditions such as Southern Wisconsin Old Time Fiddler's Association and the Rhythm Playboys. The 1882 Plum Grove Church offers a more intimate setting, perfect for narrative sessions while individual demonstrations and display booths will be set up in the shaded groves. Children as well as adults will have the chance to participate in a more personal and special way through hands-on workshops at the Farwell Hall Activities Center.

As we move ahead to summer please check and for driving directions and an updated, detailed schedule. All events are free and open to the public.

Jocelyne Bodden is a project assistant at the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures.

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