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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Folk Festival Turns Rainy

Saturday September 18, 2004, marked the second day of the three-day Boston Folk Festival. Because the remnants of Hurricane Ivan were due to hit New England this past weekend, the festival arrangements underwent massive changes to accommodate the inclement weather schedule.

At the Information and Ticket Sales booth, new schedules were handed out, along with the original program that gave information about the new locations for the five stages. All stages and vendors went about their festival activities inside, instead of outdoors as originally planned. The field stage, for example, scheduled originally to be on the front soccer field, had half of its shows moved to Snowden Auditorium in Wheatley Hall, and the other half to the Campus Center Ballroom on the third floor. The Plaza Stage, originally set up between Quinn Administration and Healey Library was moved to Lipke Auditorium in the Science Building. None of these campus buildings were originally scheduled to hold festival activities.

Various jewelry and clothing vendors lined the noisy and wet halls of the McCormack and Science buildings all day Saturday. Table after table were strewn with an array of colorful Mexican blankets, scarves woven in Thailand, and locally knitted Kufi hats.

Who could have missed the guys who “sell freedom” on the second floor? Utilikilts Company, here from Seattle, WA, is “committed to pioneer a comfortable alternative to trousers by producing “Men’s Unbifurcated Garments’ (MUG’s).”

Despite the wind, rain, and chill, some festival vendors defied Ivan’s assault and set up outside of McCormack under the second floor classrooms where folkies took a break from activities for a smoke break while the winds blew hand-sewn purses and tie-dye shirts and dresses about, humbling festival attendees.

Several vendors didn’t show up at all Saturday, most likely due to complications from the weather, according to Katie Zanetta, Box Office Coordinator and UMass student. “The only ones who showed up were the Indian restaurant and the hot dog stand, and the Indian food ended up being so popular that they’ve ended up running out of food and are already packing up their stall,” Zanetta stated at the fstival. “Ice cream has also become a real hit with the lack of food vendors,” stated Robert Lublin, one of the information table workers, and Professor of Theatre Arts at UMass.

Despite obvious obstacles because of the weather on Saturday, artists at the seventh Annual Boston Folk Festival played on. Venues shifted around throughout the UMass campus to buildings where, originally, no festival activities were scheduled to take place, suddenly became crowded with lines of participants anxiously waiting to hear the sounds of the various folk artists.

The only stage that remained untouched was the Coffeehouse Stage where participants were invited to “experience the ambiance of a New England coffeehouse.” The Coffeehouse Stage lay tucked away under dimmed lights, somewhat removed from the main festival activities in the Ryan Lounge at the end of the third floor of McCormack Hall. The stage was set up at front of the lounge. Just beyond the stage, rows of chairs were arranged. Tables and chairs were set where festival participants could sit with friends, sip coffee, and munch on brownies provided by The Labouré Center of South Boston.

The aroma of Indian food filled the air of the Ryan Lounge Saturday afternoon. Approximately 125-150 people filled the Coffeehouse Stage area, awaiting The Resophonics, a modern, yet authentic bluegrass band, to begin their show.

“Well, I have to say, for me, this is a triumphant return, as I graduated from UMB, this is me putting my social psychology degree to work”, says lead singer Sean Staples to the audience.

The seemingly out-of-control weather, however, didn’t get the best of the festival itself. Pamphlets still flew quickly off the information tables, and according to original estimations by festival coordinators, according Ron Polito, an information table worker. Polito stated that, “The move indoors seems almost flawless. No one has complained about it.”