Midwest Folklife Festival returns to Bishop Hill August 4 - 5 2012 Festival Theme is “Labor and Leisure”

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The 12th Annual Midwest Folklife Festival, a two-day free outdoor public festival that highlights the ethnic and folk arts, customs, and practices of Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin, returns to Bishop Hill, Illinois on Saturday and Sunday, August 4 and 5.  The community of Bishop Hill hosted the festival in 2006 and 2009.

By selecting the theme “Labor and Leisure” festival organizers hope that festival-goers will enjoy exploring the many ways art, culture, and tradition are passed on and shared through both our working lives and our leisure time.

Folklife Festival performers include:  Robert Bowlin and Wil Maring, acoustic bluegrass; Burmese Karen Dancers; The Gordons with Katie Davis, Appalachian bluegrass; The Hoyle Brothers, country music; Juvenato, Colombian vallenato, cumbia, and merengue; Lamajamal, Balkan and Middle Eastern; and T-Roma, tamburitzan and Romani. Company of Folk will host a musical tribute to Woody Guthrie at 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 4 at the Colony Inn in Bishop Hill.

Material Culture Artists at the 2012 Midwest Folklife Festival will have tents set up throughout the festival grounds where they will display and demonstrate their work and engage with festival-goers.  Some artists will have work available for purchase. Illinois representatives will include:  Walter S. Arnold, stone carver; Glen C. Davies, sideshow banner and show front painter; Roy DePauw, Rolle Bolle maker and tournament player with Gerry Verstraete, Rolle Bolle tournament player and game historian; Teresa Mickels and the Northern Illinois Bocce Ball Association; Stanley Robinson and Silver Stallion Ranch, Black cowboy traditions; and Amazon Payton Smiley, African hair sculpting.

The 2012 Midwest Folklife Festival is sponsored and produced by the Illinois Arts Council, Bishop Hill Heritage Association, and Company of Folk, in cooperation with the Bishop Hill State Historic Site, Bishop Hill Arts Council, Minnesota State Arts Board, and the Wisconsin Arts Board.  It is also partially funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information on the festival visit or, or contact Susan Dickson, Director of Ethnic & Folk Arts, Literature, and Presenters Programs, Illinois Arts Council, (312) 814-6740 or

Bishop Hill State Historic Site is part of a largely intact mid-1800s Swedish settlement in Henry County, Illinois.  Buildings administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency include the Bishop Hill Museum, Colony Church and Bjorklund Hotel, all of which are open for free public visitation.