The 2017 Great Lakes Folk Festival gets underway at 6 pm Friday. Stage crews are checking their wires and vendors their wares before it all begins. WKAR’s Kevin Lavery strolled around downtown East Lansing to check it out.
As the lights go up above the dance stage, technical director Tim Bugenske surveys the work flow.
“Like a duck we’re paddling underwater,” says Bugenske. “This is organized chaos right now!”
Festival goers will find folk music on three stages this weekend.
Sandwiched strategically in between is the food.
Robin Menefee runs “Anishnaabe Meejim.” His Native American cuisine has been a staple of the festival from the beginning.
I ask him how people who’ve previously never heard of Anishnaabe culture receive his fare.
“Very well," Menefee says. "It takes a while for them to get to our food, because they’re accustomed to Asian food and American food, what have you. But when they come to our native food, they come back. That’s probably the majority of our business...repeat customers.”
The Great Lakes Folk Festival historically draws thousands to East Lansing. The exact number depends on nature.
Tim Bugenske understands that all too well.
“Look up, and ask God to please help the Great Lakes Folk Festival!” he says, laughing.