Monday, November 5, 2007

Carry It On

Well, not having posted anything for a week, folks may begin to think that my trip down Nostalgia Road is complete. Please do not fall victim to such wayward thinking. There is still much to tell, and much to discover. The difference is that the first phase has been the easy part, a few library searches; a few phone calls and emails; Google searches of the performers mentioned in the materials so kindly provided by Brent Pierce and Sam Ontjes. However, those materials have only dealt with The Southwestern Folk Festival of April 1967. No one has come forward with any "primary source" material from either the Walnut Valley Folk Festival in October of 1971 or the activities at the Black Eye in the years between. And I haven't even begun to ask a fairly important question: Who was the Cultural Arts Board and where did they get their Visionary Training? They not only provided funds for the '67 and '71 festivals at Southwestern College, but were still co-sponsoring the Walnut Valley Festival into it's second year, maybe longer.

So the next phase will involve some more phone calls and emails, of course, but will also move into some long lunches and maybe some late beers to really get to the heart of this story. And maybe a trip or two.

I've visited the Kansas Historical Society's fabulous library in Topeka and discovered that the Bill Koch papers are divided up and the ones that may contain "A Folk Music Breakthrough" are archived at K.U. That trip is in the plan, as is another visit to Winfield to implore Dave Seaton of the Winfield Daily Courier to run an article about the blog that might draw out some more photographs, flyers, programs and stories.

My goal for this project has always been to discover the complete history of the contemporary folk music scene in our little neck of the woods, South-Central Kansas. The fact that we have a major festival that has survived for forty years is a result of many factors and many different influences. I'd say that the Denver Folklore Center and the Foolkiller in Kansas City provided some of the early lifeblood to the festival, as well as The Market Street Forum in Wichita, and the Sword in the Stone in O.K.C. And we've really only touched briefly on the Mossman Guitar Factory, and it's pivotal role in all of this. The Walnut Valley Association, of course, must be considered, as well.

So this is all to say that the blog will continue, but the pace may be slower. I plan to be more persistent in reaching some of the early performers and promoters, but the exigencies of life and work are being more persistent, as well. Please bear with me, come around when you get the chance ... and don't put that guitar down.


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