Great River Folk Fest Is Moving to the River!
A view down the Mississippi from Riverside Park, the new home of the Great River Folk Festival.
For the first time in its 39 year run, the Great River Folk Festival will be held on the banks of the great river it is named for. The 2014 festival will be held on the north end of Riverside Park in downtown La Crosse, on the banks of the Mississippi. The move will place the fest in the heart of La Crosse in the park that remains the focal point of the downtown area.
The park will provide beautiful views of the Mississippi and the Festival will provide shade and rain protection for an entirely outdoor event, rain or shine. All activities will be held at one location including the evening concerts, daytime concerts and workshops, children’s activities, traditional art and crafts, and specialty foods. The festival steering committee sees this move as an exciting way to build on its 38 years celebrating music, art, and people.
The City of La Crosse encouraged the festival to make the move to Riverside Park. In particular, the Parks Department feels that the festival, with its unique emphasis on family and community, is exactly the type of event the city wants to see on its riverfront. In addition, the city maintained that our fest deserves to be in a more prominent place within the city: a place where the fest can be seen from the river and from downtown, a place that already has foot traffic, a place where the festival can thrive for years to come. The steering committee was persuaded.
Music and Arts remains our focus
Harmonious Wail in 2013: Mandolin-driven gypsy jazz! Having a great time at the Saturday Concert.
Our performers committee is busy evaluating artist submissions for the festival’s musical acts. They are looking hard to get just the right musicians for our first year on the river. Watch for announcements here and on Facebook as we begin to solidify our musical line-up.
We will also be putting out our call for artisans to display and sell their wares. We expect many of our long-time crafters to be with us on our move to the river. We’ll also be looking for new faces and new work. If you are an artist who would like to receive a prospectus, please e-mail the craft committee at Crafts@GreatRiverFolkFest.org or watch for details on our Crafters page.
It’s going to take some work and some people
Storyteller Michael Scott uses some help to tell this particular tale. Children's area, 2013.
The fest was comfortable at the University, and our volunteers showed up each year and knew exactly where to go and what to do. We had it down. But everything will be new on the Riverside as we plan from scratch. The steering committee is enthusiastically planning for a great event, but the move is going to require more people and more energy. This is a great time to get on board an exciting new chapter of the Great River Folk Festival. We encourage you to take a moment to fill out our volunteer form (even if you filled one out last year). Let us know if we can count on you to volunteer during the festival weekend and if you are willing to get involved with the organizing, planning, and publicity. Fill out the form on our You Can Help page.
It’s going to require funds.
Any big change in a successful festival can be a risky proposition, and this move is not an exception. The fest will incur costs at the new site that it didn’t have to deal with at the old site. Plus, moving to the river compels us to find performers that are suited to this new, majestic location. Sometimes that takes money, too.
We are working with our fiscal agent, Great River Festival of the Arts, and we are reaching out to our long-time sponsors to make sure we have their continued support. We will be looking for additional partners, particularly businesses close to the new site. A winter view of Riverside Park from accross the Mississippi. But we will also depend on our loyal fest attendees to step up with some extra help. Now is a good time to make a donation to the Great River Folk Festival: all donations go directly into the cost of putting on the festival: paying for musicians and sound engineers or tents or fences or port-a-johns.