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Cambridge folk festival folds after 26 years
It’s the end of the line for the Mill Race Folk Festival.
The organizer of the folk music festival that plays along the banks of the Grand River in Cambridge says he’s burnt out.
“I never understood what burnout meant and now I know,” said Brad McEwen. “I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”
He says the year-round planning, fundraising, and booking is unrelenting.
“Are people going to turn up? Are we going to lose money getting all the promotion out?” said McEwen. “It’s like a full-time job that we don’t get paid for.”
Since there’s no succession plan in place, it’s now time for the event to come to an end after 26 years.
McEwen would curate the music himself and often perform in the festival. The historic backdrop gave acts a stage they may not have otherwise had.
“There aren't that many places for these kinds of bands to play,” said Laura Thomas, who sat on the board of the festival. “This festival really gave them a really wonderful place to play with a really high profile.”
Thomas was once one of the children’s acts for the festival under the stage name “Cousin Molly.” Mill Race would give adult and children entertainers equal billing.
McEwen says that he’s worn down and volunteers are getting older and harder to come by.
“I think that the community is going to miss this,” he said. “But there comes a time where I can't do it anymore.”
McEwen adds that if anyone else is looking to fill the organizer void, he will gladly offer is expertise.