The Old-Time Herald Volume 13, Number 12

Tales from the ‘Woods Part 11: Kent State
By Walt Koken

We were slated to perform at the tenth annual Kent State Folk Festival in February 1977. Most people have heard of Kent State by way of the fatal shootings by the National Guard that occurred there in 1970 during anti-war protests. The ‘77 fest was organized by Kerry Blech and company, and it was held indoors on the campus. There were concerts on Friday and Saturday nights, and workshops during the day.

In those days we tried to get as many festival gigs as possible, since the audiences were bigger and consequently the gigs usually paid better. If we got five hundred dollars for a weekend, after two to four days’ travel expenses and meals, the remainder didn’t go very far split amongst the five of us. Consequently we were living hand to mouth, and doing other types of work during slow times. One or two of us occasionally got some backing from parents who wanted to help us. Most of the big festivals were outdoors in the summer, so the Kent State one was a boon for us in the winter.


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