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Anchorage Folk Festival celebrates 30 years of music and folk arts

Jan 15, 2019

The Travelin' McCourys perform in 2017 at the Wendy Williams Auditorium at last year's Anchorage Folk Festival. (Photo by Eric Rodgers/Anchorage Folk Festival)

Put on your dancing shoes -- a 10-day festival of folk music and arts returns to Anchorage.

Musicians from all over the state will travel to Alaska’s largest city to celebrate music at the Anchorage Folk Festival.

“We go back 30 years, and what it is a ten-day festival of music and folk arts at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium on the UAA campus,” said Joel Kadarauch, a Anchorage Folk Festival board member.  

The celebration is held over two weekends, with live sessions Thursday and Friday night, and all day Saturday and Sunday, and then beginning again next week.

“Most of the performers are local performers: we have musicians, we have dancers, we also have story tellers,” said Kadarauch, whos played at the folk festival for about 30 years. “We have a wide variety of folk arts, but folk arts is the peoples' arts, these are amateurs . They give young people and amateurs the chance perform to get comfortable on the stage. They give audiences a chance to hear people locally.” 

Folk Week happens the Monday-Wednesday between the weekends.

“We book local acts to play at venues all over town,” said Jamie Whiteman, a long-time musicians and first-time Anchorage Folk Festival board member. “Those are free, and they're fun.” 

Guest performers from the Lower 48 also are invited to perform at the folk festival. To celebrate the 30th year of the festival, organizers are bringing four guests this year.

“Our signature artist this year is DanTyminski and his band from Nashville, Tennessee,” Kadarauch said. “Dan is a blue grass artist, he's been with Alison Krauss and Union Station for years.”

Tyminski may be best known as the singing voice behind George Clooney’s character in “O’ Brother Where Art Though.”

Other headlining artists include Taylor Smith and the Roamin' Jasmine; Western Centuries; and the duo Ben Winship and Eli West.

There will also be free workshops on playing and fixing instruments, dancing and other folk arts at the Wendy Williams Auditorium during both weekends.

The auditorium is located at 2533 Providence Drive, Anchorage. For more information, go to anchoragefolkfestival.org. The festival begins Thursday, Jan. 17, and runs through Sunday, Jan. 27.