Alaska Folk Festival secretary Hiram Henry said that aside from a change in venues from Centennial Hall to the Juneau Arts and Culture Center and Juneau Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé High School, Juneauites can look forward to the popular Southeast Alaska event maintaining a lot of the same aspects audiences have come to know and love.
“Every year is an awesome assemblage of talented musicians and friends and community, which is unparalleled, so we’ll have that this year for sure,” Henry said. “We’re having a great guest artist along with excellent dances and dance callers that will have a lot to offer folks who enjoy traditional dances and folks dances.”
The 48th Annual Alaska Folk Festival takes place April 10-16. Henry said that due to construction at Centennial Hall this year, the main stage concerts will take place at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center Monday, April 10 through Thursday, April 13, and at JDHS Friday, April 14 through Sunday April 16.
Applications are now open for anyone who would like to perform at the festival, lead a workshop, or volunteer behind the scenes. Applications can be submitted online at alaskafolfest.org. All performance applications are due by 5 p.m. Friday.
Additionally, Henry said this year’s festival guest artist is Lone Piñon, a New Mexican string band, or “orquesta típica” whose music celebrates the integrity and diversity of their region’s cultural roots. They will be performing on the main stage Friday, April 14 and Sunday, April 16.
“The four bandmates are each master musicians, and bring toe-tapping polkas, rancheras, swings, and valses with passionate singing,” Henry said. “They studied their style under community elders, to share and promote their musical, oral and dance traditions. They will perform two concerts, workshops, and accompany a dance. Our Guest Dance Caller, Lucy Salazar, is a collaborator who teaches hispano folk dances that accompany Lone Piñon’s music. She grew up dancing to similar music by her grandfather and father, and takes joy in continuing their traditions.”
This year’s festival poster was created by Sitka based artist Rebecca Poulson. Though this is Poulson’s first time providing artwork for the Folk Festival, she’s a well-established artist throughout Southeast Alaska, which is why the board chose her, Henry said.
“We love the design for a lot of reasons. It’s a beautiful artwork but it captures the culture of commercial fishing and there are so many musicians in the community that share ties in the fishing community. It’s a very Alaskan employment and also life and culture. Her art with all of the musicians scattered around the boats and the docks playing music, I think that captures the enthusiasm and it’s kind of fun and youthful, that’s why we loved it.”
Henry further said Poulson’s block print allows for “genuine rustic detail that is both refined and rough cut at the same time,” which he likened to that of fishing and music.
Poulson has spent years working in wood fishing boat repair as well as co-founding the Sitka shipwrights cooperative, which she said served as her main inspiration for this year’s poster design.
“I’m in love with boats, just the way they look and just how functional they are,” Poulson said. “I just really love fishing boats and also I’m on the board of the Sitka Maritime Heritage Society and there’s a bunch of us restoring boats. We’re getting ready for our annual meeting and talking about doing it around powerskows, which is the boat in the middle of the Folk Fest poster. There’s just something really magical about boats.”
• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at firstname.lastname@example.org.