This Saturday, the annual CT Folk Festival and Green Expo will be taking place in Edgerton Park. This community-oriented festival plans to offer an array of activities that surpass the merely musical.
Activities at this year’s festival seek to provide fun and educational spaces for attendees of all ages, including a beer garden for those over 21 and the Green Kids Village for those significantly under. This year’s Green Kids Village will surpass the size of ones prior: there are scheduled to be seven music performers in the Village’s Acoustic Corner, along with kids yoga and a puppet-making booth. Kids will be given the opportunity to flaunt their puppets — made with recycled materials — in the afternoon Puppet Parade, for the enjoyment of both the participants and anyone who needs a fix of eco-friendly and sustainable cuteness.
For those of either age or in between, the festival will also be hosting both musical performances and the largest green expo in Connecticut. Headlining the CT Folk festival are Livingston Taylor, a professor at the Berklee College of Music who has performed with bands such as Fleetwood Mac and Jethro Tull, and the Ballroom Thieves, a neofolk band native to Boston. Other artists like Ladybird, Roger Sprung and the 16th Connecticut State Troubadour Kate Callahan, many of whom are New England locals, will also perform. Another event on the main stage will be the Grassy Hill Songwriting Competition. Five finalists are scheduled to perform in front of a panel of judges, and the winner will receive both a cash prize and a slot in the 2018 festival lineup.
The environmental workshops include a vegan meal planning workshop, as well as presentations regarding both invasive plants and ways in which organic foods relate to climate change. The performance tent will also house an Edgerton Park discussion, followed by a tour of the park. Nicole Heriot-Mikula, the director of the festival, described Edgerton Park as a hidden gem of New Haven. “We never actually celebrate the actual grounds that the park is on. We want to celebrate that as well,” Nicole said.
Another way in which CT Folk intends to celebrate the park is by implementing a zero waste plan. Water fill stations will be provided by the Regional Water Authority, and attendees are encouraged to bring their own water bottles — but there will also be a sale of reusable bottles, to the benefit of both those looking for a souvenir and the forgetful.
Similar to previous years, the festival will be open to the public, free of charge. However, this year, CT Folk is suggesting a five dollar donation from attendees. “We work very hard to sustain community and corporate sponsorships and partnerships,” Heriot-Mikula said. “We are trying to sustain community engagement in helping deduct costs, possibly to help expand this existing event or hold another event throughout the year. The value is there, and I think the community will know it.”
But the donation is not mandatory because an integral part of CT Folk’s mission is offering their events to the public, regardless of participants’ ability to pay. CT Folk describes itself as being a comprehensive guide to the Americana folk music community, committed to environmental initiatives in Connecticut, and a priority of the organization is to promote its ideals in an environment that is accessible to all.
“I think folk music is all music,” Heriot-Mikula said. “People consider it to be a specific genre … [but it’s] so much more. It’s about storytelling and personal experience, which goes hand in hand with our sustainability initiatives.”
Rianna Turner | firstname.lastname@example.org