La Crosse, WI

Turning the page to 2022

Great River Folk
Great River Folk FestGRFF/Dave Schipper

We’re turning the page on the 2021 Festival. We had a great time, met new and old friends and put on a great three day event. We didn’t keep it in the black, which is always our hope, but we have enough in the bank to keep going. We would have needed increased attendance of only 20% to make our numbers, and we’re thinking covid didn’t help. Currently, the performers committee with the Great River Folk Fest is back at planning the 2022 festival. 

Since the first GRFF in 1976, we’ve seen the industry and music festivals change quite a bit.  Many a year we were inundated with CDs in the mail, to a point where we would be buried and hand them out as door prizes during the event.  Now we wonder how many people still have access to a cd player, and we’re getting mostly links to YouTube and Spotify as “Emailed” pitches,  a difficult challenge when some on our committee hate Spotify and what it has done to the industry.  Of course, we do love hearing the pitches and meeting new people even if we can’t fit them all in at the festival.

The committee has also received comments from both new audience and performers that our daytime Round Robin Song Swap format of putting 3-4 musicians on stage (sometimes based on a theme) is both unique and challenging in the marketing side explaining the fest.  While we don’t want to drop this, we do also want to add in more artists for unique concerts; so internally we are debating how to structure this for 2022.

The last several years we’ve enhanced our Songwriter presence and made a ton of new friends by moving our contest on-line. While we’ve loved that, we’re considering what we want to do for 2022.

We’re also missing the days of traditional folk and ethnic music.  We’ve strayed from booking Irish artists because of the strength of Irish Fest the weekend before our festival, and we haven’t had South American, Native American, Klezmer, or Hmong musicians in a long time.  Our history is strong with artists that have fit all those spots and many that were specialists in traditional folk song collecting.  We haven’t lost our taste for that music, but in some cases we’ve lost our contacts.

Lastly, we have some ideas of how to enhance our use of local and regional talent, and would love to hear more.  All interested musicians, audience with ideas, individuals wanting to be part of a committee, and artists wanting to be songwriter judges can and should reach out to us at  Help us turn the page to next year by taking our survey. Click Here. Thanks for all you do talking us up to your friends.

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Bringing acoustic, folk Americana musicians and news to the LaCrosse WI area. A year round lover & promoter of musicians that have played the festival the weekend before Labor Day.

La Crosse, WI

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