The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

April 15, 2009

FolkFest gets new name, new date

The Johnstown FolkFest is no more.

Starting this year, the popular music festival will be known as the AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival. And the new name is not the only change.

The Johnstown Area Heritage Association also announced Wednesday that the festival has been moved up two weeks. It now is scheduled Aug. 21-23 rather than the traditional Labor Day weekend.

Other changes include a master food concessionaire and a new logo.

Also, the use of scrip will be eliminated, and donations will be requested at the gate.

The AmeriServ Johnstown FolkFest first was held in Cambria City in 1990 as part of National Folk Festival. The three-day music extravaganza has seen a few changes through the years, most notably in 2004 when it was moved from Cambria City to the downtown Festival Park.

While that move caused controversy and led to the formation on a rival festival, organizers think this year’s changes will be positive.

“There are a lot of changes here. But we are convinced they will provide some key improvements that are necessary for the festival’s economic well-being and set the stage for future growth,” said Ron Carnevali, festival co-chairman.

Co-chairman Todd Wagner said part of the reason for the name change was because the name had become misleading.

“ ‘Folk’ implies that the music is all acoustic, which is absolutely not the case. We wanted a new name that reflects this city’s proud heritage but also lets people know that this festival is specifically a music festival, presenting all kinds of musical genres.”

The new logo was designed to evoke the city’s steel and industrial heritage as well as the festival park’s location next to the Cambria Iron and Steel National Historic Landmark.

Wagner said the date change was made to accommodate college students, most of whom return to school before Labor Day.

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