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Folk Festival committee
changes name of event to ‘RiverRoots’

Committee to hold ‘Halfway’
fundraiser party on Nov. 12

By Maddy Greves
Contributing Writer

(November 2011) – With the help and support of members and volunteers, Madison’s folk festival coordinator Greg Ziesemer his all-volunteer committee members have instituted several changes for the annual May music event that takes place along the riverfront. Perhaps the biggest of these changes is the event name from Ohio River Valley Folk Festival to the RiverRoots Festival.
The committee plans to introduce this and other changes at the upcoming “Half Way” event, which is a “Thank You” party and celebration for those who supported the festival in 2011. This includes corporate sponsors, individual members and future supporters. The event is also the kick off for next year’s folk festival and changes that are being implemented, according to Ziesemer.

RiverRoots Sign

Photo by Don Ward

Members of the RiverRoots Festival
committee displayed their new event
name on a banner that hung over their
food booth at the Soup, Stew, Chili & Brew chamber event Oct. 15 in Madison, Ind.

The event is open to the public with a $10 contribution and will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at The Livery Stable, located on Broadway Street in Madison.
“This marks the first anniversary of (founder and former festival coordinator) John Walburn’s passing. So in recognition of his life, a brief memorial of John’s legacy will take place as well as the celebration for the 2012 festival,” Ziesemer said.
The RiverRoots Festival also needs membership support, which is an additional reason the Half Way event is taking place. Memberships include benefits that will also be explained during the event. Live musical performances by “The Wheel” and “Slick River Rockets” will be featured along with food and a cash bar.
The festival is undergoing several additional changes and really pushing to expand in the upcoming year, Ziesemer said. The festival has kept its name for seven years, and while Walburn struggled with the name and always felt it needed a change, this year the committee members took it upon themselves for change. While the Ohio River Valley Folk Festival name seemed to work well, it was cumbersome, he said.
This year the festival has created a 501-c3 nonprofit fundraising organization – the Ohio River Valley Folk Society – for its corporate and individual membership to benefit the festival and to improve the tax deductions for members’ contributions. Now, any contribution that is made, even as much as the membership minus the cost of the wristband, is 100 percent tax deductible.
In addition, RiverRoots is developing a craft brew aspect to the festival for home brewers and beer makers to sell their brews.
Vendors are also contributors to each year’s festival. Blacksmiths, shoemakers and others who are passionate about wood carving, pottery and weaving all make this festival a handcrafted literal folk village.
RiverRoots takes place the third weekend in May, but the planning and coordination by volunteers takes place year-round.
Resource Development chairperson Wanda Heath says, “As a volunteer that is part of the committee, this group of people is like a family. It’s the neatest thing I have ever been involved in.”

• For more information, visit: www.VisitMadison.org or call (812) 265-2956.

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