About the Shawano Folk Music Festival

In 1979, the Old Time Music and Crafts Festival (OTMCF) began as a small event with a few musicians.  The stage was the back of a wagon, the music was great, the audience was happy, and the volunteers who made it happen said, “Let’s do it again next year.”

More than 40 years later, the weekend Festival is still going strong. It’s called the Shawano Folk Music Festival now, but in most of the ways that really matter, the name is the only thing that’s changed. It’s still small, as festivals go. We still bring a gloriously eclectic mix of musicians to town, including some of the finest in the country. Traditional folk, contemporary Americana, blues, jazz, bluegrass, country, world music, classical, pop – they all have a place at the Shawano Folk Music Festival. We bring back some audience favorites and mix them up with artists new to the festival.

We’re still run entirely by a committee of volunteers. Some live in Shawano. Others live elsewhere. This committee selects musicians each year, which partly explains the eclectic nature of the music. We’re still in Mielke Park, a small gem of a wooded County Park, with clearings for 4 outdoor stages and, in the center of the park, the Mielke Arts Center for two indoor evening concerts. The park has a big pond and a tiny bridge, paths through the woods and a pair of bald eagles nesting in one of the trees.

We still believe in the power of music to break down barriers and build connections. We still believe that making music together and singing together and dancing together is a good thing for all of us. We still believe that even though the sounds and rhythms of music change with the years, the healing power of music to connect us remains the same. And we’re still grateful for the support of musicians, people and businesses who believe the same things!