The success of the annual Cornstock Folk Festival at Lazy Brook Park owes as much to its atmosphere as it does the high caliber of its musicians.
Organizers of the fifth annual Cornstock Folk Festival are expanding the scope of the event by putting additional emphasis on the arts this year. The three-day celebration of Americana and roots music will be held at Lazy Brook Park east of Tunkhannock from Friday to Sunday, Sept. 1 to 3.
“One of the things that is really important to me about Cornstock is to not just be audience members but to become part of the festival,” says co-founder Jillian Hannigan. “Our goal is to inspire people to become musicians. We cater to young adults (and the young-at-heart) who gather from one year to the next.”
Jillian focuses largely on the ambiance of Cornstock while her husband and performer Anthony Hannigan concentrates on booking the perfect mix of veteran performers and burgeoning new regional and national acts.
“It’s a musical fantasy place,” Jillian explains. “It’s an atmosphere that you’re happy bringing your family to.”
Cornstock’s new tag line is “Music, Arts, Camping,” and all festival-goers who purchase weekend passes can camp at Lazy Brook Park for free. Many of the campsites are shaded by mature landscaping that remains from the former village of Lazy Brook that preceded the Tunkhannock Township Park. Paved roads intermingle with dirt walking paths between the performance areas and the cool, clear waters of Tunkhannock Creek.
“I want it to be a place where parents can turn their kids loose and hear music and have a good time,” said Jillian. In addition to a bouncy slide and inflatable obstacle course, Cornstock’s Kids Zone will offer arts and craft activities, games and toys, sing-alongs and a unique roots instruments “petting zoo.”
“We want kids to come and see and touch the instruments,” Jillian maintains. Admission for children under 17 is always free, “because we want them to love playing acoustic music and to keep playing it.”
For adults, there will be music workshops for traditional bluegrass and folk instruments and percussion, as well as a singer-songwriter session and “how to jam.” Steamtown Yoga will introduce “glow yoga” on Friday night, and Saturday and Sunday morning sessions will include live music. And, of course, Cornstock wouldn’t be complete without lots of jamming, both in the jam pavilion and at campsites throughout the park.
Regular attendees of Cornstock will find much more music in the Creekside Pavilion than previous years, due in large part to bands and musicians who petitioned Anthony for room to play when the Main Stage bill was filled. “It allows us to offer more music and showcase acts who don’t get much exposure in other venues,” Jillian related.
Overall, there is a greater emphasis on the arts and traditional crafts planned for festival-goers this year. The Artists Village will provide a venue for seasoned, regional artists to exhibit their skills on site and samples of their works for purchase. There is still room for arts and crafts exhibitors who enjoy demonstrating their skills to new audiences to get involved.
The variety of food at Cornstock rivals that of any music festival, as does the list of vendors selling upcycled clothing, original tie dyes, gems and stones, soy products, hand-crafted jewelry, and more. Festival-goers say they are inspired while shopping to the strains of live music filling the air.
To see the musical lineup for this year’s Cornstock and to purchase tickets in advance, visit www.cornstockfestival.com online and follow Cornstock Folk Festival on Facebook for regular updates. An early-bird special for weekend tickets has been extended to August 31. Advance tickets are $50 each and $60 at the gate.