Polk Folk Life Fest to return with new venue

The Bollywood Dancers will perform Saturday at Western Oregon University during the Folk Life Festival.

Courtesy of the Bollywood Dancers
The Bollywood Dancers will perform Saturday at Western Oregon University during the Folk Life Festival.



MONMOUTH — After a year and half absence, the Polk County Folk Life Festival is back, but at a new location.

Polk County Folklife Festival

When: Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: Werner University Center, Western Oregon University, Monmouth.

Admission: $10 for adults. Children 12 and younger are free. Bring three cans of food to benefit the WOU food pantry and admission is $5.

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The one-day festival celebrating the art, music and food of numerous cultures will take place at the Werner University Center at Western Oregon University on Saturday.

Polk County Folk Life 2018 stage schedule

Jane Keefer Stage (Pacific Room)

11:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. — Monmouth Taiko — Japanese Taiko Drumming

1-2 p.m. — Kelly Thibodeaux & Etouffee — Cajun/Swamp Rock

3-4 p.m. — Nathan Myers with Rothai featuring Rachel Phelps — Indi-Acoustic

4:30-5:30 p.m. — Romance — Traditional Latino

Sally Clark Stage (Columbia Room)

11 a.m. — noon — The Lion, The Wolf & The Wizard — Native American Flute

12:30-1:30 p.m. — Ceili Society of the Valley — Celtic Dance

2-3 p.m. — Chayag — Andean Folk Music & Dance

3:30-4:30 p.m. — Bollywood Dancers — India Bollywood Dance

Truman Price Jam Area (Santiam Room)

10:30 - 11:30 a.m. — Old Time Jam

11:45 a.m. - 1:45 p.m. — Mud City Jam

2- 3 p.m. — Irish Session

3:30 -5:30 p.m. — Square Dance and/or Appalachian Old Time Jam

Michael Eichman Children’s Center (Calapooia Room)

1 p.m. — Doug the Mountain Man

2:30-4:30 p.m — Fiddle Workshop with Kelly Thibodeaux

All day — face painting by Amica

All day — craft activities in the children’s room: Making a simple toy to keep with string, beads and a paper cup. These are a very old toy made all over the world; and general craft table with supplies for winter/spring oriented crafts and coloring for kids and adults.

The festival was held at the Polk County Fairgrounds in March of 2015 and October of 2016. Organizers are returning to scheduling the event in the spring, which required a venue move to WOU.

The spirit of the festival and commitment to bringing an opportunity for people to experience music and art they haven’t encountered before remains unchanged.

“You get to experience it, seeing something new,” said Kurt Dugan, one of the festival’s founders. “With this festival, you can spend all day there and not hear the same music twice.”

Folk Life will take up four rooms of the Werner Center, with two stages, a “jam” room and children activity room. Acts will range from Cajun/swamp rock to Taiko drumming, from traditional Celtic dancers to a colorful Bollywood-style troupe.

With a packed schedule starting at 11 a.m., Dugan said he’d like for people to come for an act they are interested in seeing and stay for more.

New to the lineup this year is Chayag, an Andean dance and music group.

“They play traditional Andean instruments,” Dugan said. “They are very, very accomplished.”

Another highlight is the Monmouth Taiko drummers, which formed in 1995 and travels to festivals around the state to perform the ancient Japanese art form.

For the kids, Kelly Thibodeaux, of Kelly Thibodaeux & Etouffee, of Eugene, will hold a fiddle work shop.

“He’s bringing 20 fiddles to the children’s center and will give a two-hour tutorial to teach kids how to play fiddle.”

Also, in the children’s center is Doug the Mountain Man, the featured storyteller.

In addition to music and dance acts, craft and art vendors will be set up at the festival.

WOU’s culinary program is providing food for the event in the Pacific Room of the Werner Center.

Dugan said with the amount of time between the first three Folk Life events — 18 months each time — he’s thankful for the support the festival has received from the public, and particularly sponsor Bonaventure Senior Living, which has contributed for all three years.

“Without that, I don’t think we wouldn’t have survived this time of becoming known,” he said.

Dugan said that support has translated to an opportunity for people to experience other cultures through art and music, and bridge gaps between people.

“It’s just one day a year, but it’s a step in the right direction,” he said.



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