Event Celebrates Region’s Unique Culture with Music, Film, Food and Family Fun
The public is invited to learn more about the region’s rich cultural heritage during Frostburg State University’s 2008 Appalachian Festival Sept. 19 and 20. Now in its third year, the much-anticipated event brings together a variety of performers and craftspeople to celebrate the natural landscape, history, food and musical and artistic offerings of Western Maryland and the surrounding areas. Robin and Linda Williams and Their Fine Group, regular contributors to Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” public radio show, join the line-up this year as the featured musical guests at the popular Saturday evening concert that culminates the weekend of family fun.
The Festival kicks things off Friday, Sept. 19, with “The Appalachian Environment,” an informative symposium focusing on pressing issues affecting the Appalachian natural environment. Scheduled from noon to 6 p.m. Friday, the symposium includes hands-on workshops on sustainability initiatives throughout the day at FSU and a performance by Pennsylvania-based musician Jay Smar emphasizing the mountain region's rich coal heritage. An Appalachian Film Festival caps off Friday’s festivities at 8 p.m. in the Palace Theatre in downtown Frostburg.
Then on Saturday, Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., check out daylong presentations, workshops, arts and crafts demonstrations, live music, Appalachian dance, environmental talks and various children’s activities on the FSU campus. These festivities, held on FSU’s Upper Quad, are free and open to the public and provide entertainment for all ages. Performances will include Frostburg Arion Band, South Mountain String Band, Farmington Youth Experience Community Choir, “That’s” It Barbershop Quartet, FSU favorites Academic Probation, Highland Grass and the Woodticks, among many other talented artists. A free shuttle service departing from the Frostburg Depot to the Festival is available for those who decide to take the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad up to Frostburg.
Festival goers “can learn the fundamentals of shape note singing, try their hand at weaving on a full-size rug loom, practice traditional Appalachian dance steps, or prepare for the fall fishing season by tying flies,” said FSU folklorist Kara Rogers Thomas, Festival founder and key organizer. “Our children’s hands-on area is especially popular—every child is guaranteed to take something handmade home from the Festival.”
Frostburg’s Appalachian Festival culminates with 7:30 p.m. Saturday night at the Palace Theatre with a special concert featuring Robin and Linda Williams and Their Fine Group. Robin and Linda Williams have thrilled folk, bluegrass and country audiences nationwide for more than 20 years, with appearances on "A Prairie Home Companion," "The American Radio Company," "Austin City Limits" and "The Grand Old Opry." They have also toured with Mary Chapin Carpenter, Emmylou Harris, The Seldom Scene and many others. In concert they are joined by Jim Watson (formerly of the Red Clay Ramblers) on bass and harmony vocals. The group is rounded out most often with bluegrass veteran Jimmy Gaudreau on mandolin.
Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate and sample Appalachian culture, music and more. For more information about the Appalachian Festival and to reserve tickets to see Robin and Linda Williams (on sale to the public Aug. 1) contact FSU folklorist Kara Rogers Thomas at (301) 687-3124 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the weekend is also available on the Appalachian Festival Web site: www.frostburg.edu/events/afestival. To learn more about Robin and Linda Williams and Their Fine Group, visit www.music-tree.com.
FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.