Bask in the sun and listen to top-notch music this Labor Day weekend.
Folk music lovers and outdoorsy people alike can camp along the picturesque Tunkhannock Creek as the sixth annual Cornstock Folk Festival kicks off at Lazy Brook Park, running from Friday, Aug. 31, through Sunday, Sept. 2.
The three-day event promises 19 locally and nationally acclaimed acts performing across the spectrum of roots music, from folk to bluegrass, Americana and reggae. Music at the rain-or-shine festival takes place from 2 p.m. to midnight Friday, Aug. 31; 11 a.m. to midnight, Saturday, Sept. 1; and 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 2.
Headlining the festival this year is Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen. Headed by mandolinist Solivan, the bluegrass outfit is comprised of expert musicians such as banjoist Mike Munford, award-winning guitarist Chris Luquette and bassist Jeremy Middleton. The band’s album “Cold Spell” earned it a 2015 Grammy nomination for best bluegrass album.
Some local favorites will grace the stage as well, including Indigo Moon Brass Band, MiZ, J.P. Biondo and Chris Kearney, Dave Brown and the Dishonest Fiddlers, and host band the Hickory Project.
Wellsboro couple Jillian and Anthony Hannigan began Cornstock Folk Festival after traveling internationally with the Hickory Project and realizing they wanted to share with audiences the great number of musicians they met along the way.
“My friends and people that come tell me that Cornstock is just one of the most special places on earth,” Jillian Hannigan said. “The atmosphere created there is like a peaceful, music-loving family.”
Lazy Brook Park provided the perfect atmosphere for the festival they wanted to create. More than anything, the couple strives to present a relaxed, homegrown feel in the festival, almost like a family reunion.
This year, the festival boasts a “much-improved production company,” Hannigan said, as they partnered with the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg to bring in state-of-the-art stages and a top-notch sound crew.
In addition to the scheduled live music, Cornstock is known for its musical workshops, where people ranging from novice musicians to experts can learn all aspects of music and jam together.
“What keeps me wanting to do it — because it’s a lot of work — are these people saying to me, ‘We love Cornstock. It’s the highlight of our summer. My kids adore it,’” Hannigan said. “Sometimes family members come and they’ve never been able to play together before; now they’re sitting together around a campfire jamming. That’s incredible for me to see. I love sharing that with people.”
Other highlights of the festival are the Artist’s Village, where regional artists can display their works for free in hopes of spreading the word about their art, and the Kid’s Zone, where children can partake in crafts, bounce houses and other kid-friendly activities.
But to truly have the full Cornstock Folk Festival experience, Hannigan said, people need to give camping a try. It is included in the cost of a weekend pass.
“I think the best way to experience the festival is to stay all weekend,” she said. “If you only go for the day, you miss the campfire jams and the vibe after midnight when the late-night show is over. Sometimes that’s when you hear the best music all weekend. You never know what you’re going to hear at a campfire jam and what friends you’re going to make.”
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If you go
What: Cornstock Folk Festival
When: Friday, Aug. 31, through Sunday, Sept. 2
Where: Lazy Brook Park, Route 6, Tunkhannock
Details: Three-day pass, $60 through Aug. 26/$70 at gate; Friday pass, $30 at gate; Saturday pass, $40 at gate; Sunday pass, $20 at gate. Camping included with weekend pass. Visit cornstockfestival.com for more information.