To many around the Dayton area, the three-day Cityfolk Festival was one of the high points of the summertime. Alongside the extraordinary events that are sprinkled throughout the year, one of the most anticipated to attend was the Cityfolk Festival. The event was created after the National Folk Festival ended its three-year stay here in town. The festival brought artists from around the world and would share their diverse artistic traditions. The performances stressed the importance of building partnerships and engaged collaborations of all ages. From the early days of being in downtown to setting up at Riverscape-Cityfolk Festival was one of the many bright spots that shined on the Dayton community.
Unfortunately the funding for the festival and other programs that Cityfolk put together suffered due to the low attendances. One contributing factor was the weather conditions the past couple years. Some major companies that contributed and sponsored the music stages during the occasion left town. These factors all came into play when the committee decided to pull the plug on this year’s festival. It devastated and disappointed a great deal of festival goers.
For Sunni Russo, the Cityfolk Festival was special to her. Coming from New Jersey and moving here 20-plus years ago, Russo started volunteering at the information booth, and then moved to the musical side of the show. “They used to record the performances for archiving. So, my volunteer job was to sit with the sound guy, make sure the tape recorder was going and try to record the name of the songs,” says Russo. Russo got the position of running the music stages in 2003, a position she would run for the next 11 years. Russo, like the many that had the opportunity to volunteer and/or be in a higher role, were devastated that Cityfolk folded.
When Russo got word that Cityfolk was finished, she was talking to one of the other volunteers that she worked closely with made a comment
that would spark an idea. “One of the guys-Charlie Parker, he worked stage tech over the years, said would it be cool if we just showed up the third week of June on Courthouse Square and wear our favorite t-shirts and talk about good times. A little light bulb went off in my head.” The suggestion of Parker will now become reality on June 22nd. At the Courthouse Square in downtown Dayton, the Cityfolk Festival Reunion will be taking place from 1-7pm.
Throughout the Cityfolk Festival Reunion, the event will feature musical acts from past and present. Paige Beller and Danny Voris will be performing while past Cityfolk acts Corndrinkers, Son del Caribe will be returning. Also joining the musical acts is the Stivers Jazz Combo. Food vendors Hunger Paynes, Brock Mastersons Catering-Events, El Meson Express, and for dessert Ritters Frozen Custard will be at the festival. The Zoot Theatre Company will be having a station set up for the children. The kids will be able to construct finger puppets or get their faces painted. Also set up for the children will be the “Community Canvas”-canvases will be set up for them to paint whatever strikes them at that moment. If you want to bring your own cooler, Russo mentioned that they will be permitted. For the attendees, it’s encouraged to bring your own seating.
Cityfolk Festival Reunion is shaping up to be an extraordinary day for people to celebrate and embrace the good times that the original Cityfolk Festival brought so many years. Russo mentioned that there are some talk of possible having the reunion return next year, but for now she just wants folks to enjoy this year’s occasion. “The whole goal is for everyone to come and have a good time.”
Cityfolk Festival Reunion music schedule:
1:00 – Paige Beller
1:45 – Danny Voris
3:00 – Stivers Jazz Combo
4:00 – Corndrinkers
5:30 – Son del Caribe
Where: Courthouse Square, Main and Third St., Dayton
When: 1 to 7 p.m. June 22 (Sunday)
More info: [email protected]