Blue Sky Folk Festival Returns to Kirtland

The seventh annual Blue Sky Folk Fest will be held Saturday, September 16, from noon to 7:30pm in Kirtland. Doors open 11am. See the schedule at

Admission is $15, online $12 at, kids 12 and under free. Bring an instrument to jam for $3 off admission. Food, beer & wine are available for purchase. The festival will be held rain or shine with indoor and outdoor activities at East Shore Unitarian Universalist Church, 10848 Chillicothe Rd. (Route 306), Kirtland, Ohio 44094. (440) 417-2796.

An outstanding lineup includes Paul Kovac’s ‘Grass Party (a bluegrass ensemble), Matt Watroba (emcee and artist), Hot Djang!, Lost State of Franklin, Dan Bankhurst, and The Family Dog.

An amazing array of 24 jams, workshops and classes led by professional musicians – many who will also appear on the Main Stage – is included in the price of admission. There are workshops on clawhammer banjo, rhythm guitar, ukulele, song writing, barbershop harmony, hammered dulcimer and much more, as well as a community sing at noon. Pop-up jamming goes on all day; there are also scheduled jams for Irish, swing and old-time Americana music.

Families are encouraged to attend; the folk fest offers a kids’ music workshop, playground and supervised crafts.

This is a very affordable event for both amateur and professional musicians plus lovers of folk music. It is presented by the Northeast Ohio Musical Heritage Association, a nonprofit group which seeks to support folk music and provide venues and opportunities for folk musicians. The Blue Sky is funded in part by a grant from The Lake County Visitors Bureau Arts and Culture Fund to further participation in, and awareness of, arts and culture in Lake County.

On stage, Paul Kovac – banjo, multi-instrumentalist, singer & writer – is joined by Northeast Ohio’s finest acoustic pickers performing bluegrass and classics with distinction, humor and flair – Bill Lestock, Ron Bonkowski, Scott Pearson and Drew Bonnis.

The popular Nashville-based guitarist Dan Bankhurst brings a new groove to traditional and contemporary fingerstyle guitar playing. Lost State of Franklin astonishes audiences with layered trumpet, guitar, voice and a simple loop pedal to create a fresh orchestra of rock, folk, jazz and country sound. Music by The Family Dog is a cross section of roots, blues, folk and gospel music.

Hot Djang! is an acoustic jazz quintet featuring violin, clarinet, acoustic guitars and upright bass. Their inspiration comes from the style of jazz made popular in Paris during the 1930’s known as “Gypsy Jazz.” Matt Watroba, former Folk Alley producer and announcer, shares a lifetime love of folk music at the Blue Sky as both emcee and performer.

Press release submitted by:
Jerie Ireland Green
September 11, 2017
photos courtesy of Blue Sky Folk Fest.