Ferdinand Folk Fest returns for second decade


FERDINAND — When it comes to the Ferdinand Folk Festival, it’s not uncommon to see people calling dibs on a spot on the hillside the day before the event.

In past years, while staff is setting up on Friday evenings, Ferdinand Town Manager Chris James has seen plenty of people pull off 20th Street, hop out of their cars and lay out blankets and pop-up tents to return to the next day.

“We’ve got a lot of die-hards,” he said. “Some people come just to grab a bite to eat, and then they go. Other folks come, and they’re on the hillside the entire day.”

After being canceled last year due to the pandemic, the Ferdinand Folk Fest is back this weekend for a “take two on year 11,” James said. The annual festival, which began in 2010 and has since become one of the county’s largest events, usually draws around 6,000 people every year, James said.

This year’s festival will be all day Saturday at Ferdinand’s 18th Street Park and will include more than half a dozen folk artists, including singer/songwriter Brett Dennen, whose work has been featured in TV shows and written about in publications such as Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly.

Dennen’s newest album, called “See The World,” has songs about reflecting on his career and focusing on what’s important in life.

“I think it speaks to what we’ve all been through over the last year and a half,” Dennen said in a recent Facebook post. “If you’ve been forced to reevaluate your life during the pandemic, please know that I’ve been with you doing the same thing.”

Other artists include Andrea Davidson, who is returning after playing at the 2014 event, and Green Room Rockers, who performed at the second-ever folk fest.

The fest will also include activities for little ones, such as kid's yoga, storytelling, a showcase of winged friends from The Talon Trust and inflatables.

The number of vendors is slightly down this year, James said, some due to COVID-19 and some due to finding other opportunities when the fest was canceled last year. However, there will still be plenty of food, from pulled pork from Oink Inc. to ice cream sandwiches from the Sisters of St. Benedict.

Besides the food booths and some activities, the fest is free for all visitors, including parking.

“One of the best parts is that you don’t have to spend a dime,” James said. “We want you to, especially with the food vendors who’ve worked really hard, but you don’t have to.”

To help curb the spread of COVID-19, masks will be encouraged but not required, and all performances and activities will be outside.

Overall, the most exciting part is that the fest is actually happening after a stagnant summer last year, James said.

“Just the fact that we’re having it this year I think will entice some people out,” he said. “That’s what we’re shooting for Saturday, just to have as normal a day as possible. We’re just looking forward to having a good day of weather and a chance for people to get back out.”

Folk Fest Schedule


11:30 - noon The BurmaShavers (market stage)

Noon - 12:30 p.m. The Honey Vines (main stage)

12:30  - 12:45 p.m. The BurmaShavers (market stage)

12:45 - 1:30 p.m. Croghan’s Crossing (main stage)

1:30 - 1:45 p.m. The BurmaShavers (market stage)

1:45 - 2:45 p.m. Hagedorn Family Band (main stage)

2:45 - 3 p.m. Samuel Aaron (market stage)

3 - 4 p.m. Joe Crookston (main stage)

4 - 4:15 p.m. Samuel Aaron (market stage)

4:15 - 5:30 p.m. Andrea Davidson (main stage)

5:30 - 5:45 p.m. Samuel Aaron (market stage)

5:45 - 7 p.m. Green Room Rockers (main stage)

7 - 7:15 p.m. Samuel Aaron (market stage)

7:30 - 9 p.m. Brett Dennen (main stage)

Children’s Activities

Noon - 12:30 p.m. Children’s yoga with Amanda Gable (lower shelter house)

12:45 - 1:15 p.m. Storyteller Mary Jo Huff (lower shelter house)

1:30 - 2:30 p.m. The Talon Trust (lower shelter house)

2:45 - 3:30 p.m. Strings, Inc. violin concert (lower shelter house)

3:45 - 4:15 p.m. Harmony by Hand with Susan Fowler (lower shelter house)

4:30 - 5 p.m. Storyteller Mary Jo Huff (lower shelter house)

All day Strings, Inc. instrument handling and interaction (market area)

All day Big bounce play town (softball diamond outfield)

All day Playground and musical park (east of market area)

All day Psi Iota Xi Sorority crafts for children (near lower shelter house)

Activities and Workshops

10 - 10:45 a.m. Morning flow yoga by Amanda Grable (hillside above main stage)

Noon - 12:45 p.m. Joe Crookston songwriter workshop (upper shelter house)

1 - 1:30 p.m. Ukulele workshop with Thom Pallozola (market area)

3 - 5 p.m. The Talon Trust meet and greet (green tent in market area)

All day Dubois County Humane Society meet and greet (market area and throughout park)

All day Mainland Ukes (tent in art market)

All day Beautiful Nature Trails and Disc Golf Course (south of festival area)

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