About the Festival

Michigan State University Museum announces Great Lakes Folk Festival in 2003!

This arts and culture event, to be held Aug. 8-10, 2003, in downtown East Lansing, showcases the traditional cultural treasures of the nation’s Upper Midwest and a sampling of the best of traditional artists from around the country and the world.

The festival encourages cross-cultural understanding of our diverse society through the presentation of musicians, dancers, cooks, storytellers and craftspeople whose traditions are rooted in their communities.

The festival includes 100 musicians or dancers in groups who perform at least twice and sometimes as many as four times over the weekend, traditional and other food vendors, craft vendors and many other individual artists/demonstrators. There are five performance stages (including one with a 2,400 sq. ft. dance floor), a children’s hands-on activity area, crafts demonstrations, and crafts marketplace. In addition there are special programs every year, which feature some aspect of traditional culture. This year’s special program area is “Michigan'S Legacy: Passing On Tradition," showcasing over 30 artists who have been recipients of the Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program.

Under the direction of the MSU Museum’s Michigan Traditional Arts Program--a statewide partnership program with the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA)--the festival also represents partnerships of civic, business, education and arts agencies. Collaborators for planning the Great Lakes Folk Festival include the City of East Lansing, Elderly Instruments, WKAR/Radio, MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online, The Ten Pound Fiddle, Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Michigan Humanities Council, Michigan Department of Education, Center for Great Lakes Culture at Michigan State University and provincial and state folk arts programs of the Great Lakes region.

Campus Connections Come Together

The Center for Great Lakes Culture, housed at Michigan State University, as well as other MSU academic departments and programs, play key roles in shaping the GLFF with a diverse array of the experiences, expressions and the vitality of traditional cultures in America.

Donors, Sponsors and Support

In order to make this family-friendly festival ffree to visitors and accessable to everyone, the Great Lakes Folk Festival relies on cash and in-kind support from a variety of sources, including Michigan State University, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts and the City of East Lansing. Other major primary sponsorship is being sought from public and private sources.
Go to Sponsors page
Go to Friends of the Festival page

Music & Dance

The festival showcases performers who learned their skills within distinct communities and remain rooted in those communities. Their exposure to performance skills is usually at an early age, learned firsthand (often within their own families) and what they perform is an integral part of their particular culture.

In this modern world, traditional musicians have easy access to other music styles beside their own and their music often incorporates new influences. They often perform for audiences outside their own community. But the core of what traditional musicians do continues to be the music that expresses the aesthetics and musicality of their community.

This festival presents artists who best maintain their allegiance to their traditional roots. Click here for the current lineup of the 2003 Great Lakes Folk Festival musical artists.

Click here to see the artists that performed in the 2002 festival.

Performing Artist Inquiries

The Music Selection Committee is no longer accepting artist submissions for the 2003 Great Lakes Folk Festival.
For more information contact:
Patrick Power
Great Lakes Folk Festival
Michigan State University Museum
West Circle Drive
East Lansing , MI 48824
Phone at 517-432-GLFF or email at glffbooking@museum.msu.edu

Folk Arts Marketplace Inquiries

Please contact:
Sarah Stollak
Great Lakes Folk Festival
Michigan State University Museum
West Circle Drive
East Lansing , MI 48824
Phone at 517-432-GLFF or email at stollaks@msu.edu.

Festival Details

• Festival Map
Click here for a festival map, located in Downtown East Lansing.

• Information booths
General information is available throughout the festival at information booths located at several sites.

• Bucket Brigade
The folks who make up the Bucket Brigade (a.k.a. “Bucketheads”) are a happy corps of volunteers who encourage festival goers to help support the festival through on-site donations. Bucket Brigadiers carry decorated white plastic buckets throughout the festival to make giving easy. Each person who drops a donation in the bucket receives a sticker that says, “I support the Great Lakes Folk Festival!” Every dollar raised helps support the costs of the event.

Festival organizers feel it is important to make this festival accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial status. Therefore, admission is free. All visitors, however, are strongly urged to think about what this event means to them and to give what they can.

PS: Think about what you would pay for one concert by one of our performers--let alone all of the performances the festival offers--or what you would pay to have your children participate in all of the activities in the Children’s Folk Arts Activity Area. Even a $5.00 donation per visitor per day is a bargain!

Want to be a "Buckethead" for the 2003 festival too? There's still time!
Get the details at the Volunteer Information page or at the next Volunteer Open House!

• What if it rains?
Generally mid-August is quite pleasant with warm, sunny days and cooler evenings but as Michiganders know well, it can also be rainy and quite cool. Unless weather conditions are life threatening or dangerous, the festival goes on “rain or shine.”

To get online weather information, point your browser to: Sky Team 10 Weatherlab - WILX-TV www.wilx.com

• What to bring?
Many of the stages and activity areas are under tents to protect visitors and performers from hard rain or too much sun but visitors are always encouraged to bring sunscreen, wear a hat and have an umbrella handy!
Collapsible chairs and blankets are handy for seating on the ground at the Valley Court Park Stage. Collapsible chairs are also for sale at the on-site MSU Museum Festival Store.

• Pets at festival
Please be considerate to your pets and fellow festival goers; leave pets at home when you visit the festival!

• Medical and Emergency Services
Minor medical emergencies are treated at the First Aid Tent located on the corner of Albert and Abbott avenues. .

• Rest rooms
Portable rest rooms are located at numerous locations throughout the site.

• Lost and found
During the festival a lost and found will be available on site at the Main Information Booth located at the corner of Albert and Abbott Streets. Inquiries after the festival about lost and found items should be directed to the City of East Lansing Police Department.

The Michigan State University Museum

The Michigan State University Museum is committed to understanding, interpreting, and respecting natural and cultural diversity. As Michigan's land grant university museum, this commitment to society is met through education, exhibitions, research and the building and stewardship of collections that focus on Michigan and its relationship to the Great Lakes and the world beyond.

The Michigan State University Museum was founded in 1857 and is Michigan's natural and cultural history museum. Its research, education, exhibition, and outreach programs serve the entire state.

Located on the MSU campus, on West Circle Drive and next to Beaumont Tower, the museum is open seven days a week, free of charge (donations are welcome).

Michigan Traditional Arts Program

The MSU Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Program (MTAP) promotes cross-cultural understanding in a diverse society through the documentation, preservation and presentation of the state's folk arts and folklife.

More Questions?

For more information about plans for the Great Lakes Folk Festival, call the GLFF phone line at 517.432.GLFF (517.432.4533) or email pr@museum.msu.edu.

Media Contact

Lora Helou, Information & Museum Services, MSU Museum, (517) 432-3357 or pr@museum.msu.edu

Highlights of The National Folk Festival in East Lansing, 1999-2001

See highlights from National Folk Festival 2001 and National Folk Festival 2000, preceding the Great Lakes Folk Festival.