Folk Festival Organizers Unsure If Event Will Remain Free 

Let the tear down begin on the waterfront as the curtain has been drawn on the 2009 American Folk Festival. Festival Director Heather Mccarthy says this year’s event was a mixed bag. “It was highs and lows,” says Mccarthy, “had a couple of highs on Friday, and Sunday, but Saturday with the weather and the audience, boy Saturday was kind of a low as far as the weather goes.”Even with the soggy weather Saturday, organizers say donations were still strong. “Bucket brigade was incredibly generous,” says Mccarthy, “and we made over $100,000 this year in the bucket brigade despite the fact that Saturday was such a wash out. it’s really amazing.” Considering the weather Saturday, they did raise quite a bit, but is that enough to keep the event free next year? “We’re going to have to count the numbers and see what it looks like for next year,” Mccarthy says, “it’s going to be a discussion with our board of directors and some of our stake holders to see what happens next.”The one thing that makes this event run so smoothly every year is the tireless work of the volunteers, but what keeps them coming back? “Well it’s the fact that it’s free and open to the public,” says Linda Silvia, who came all the way from Owls Head, “and the community and cultural parts of it are really great.”Jack Kearse is the volunteer leader and he’s been here every year. “It’s just great people,” he says, “it’s a lot of fun and we enjoy the work.”A big part of Kearse’s team of volunteers is a group of inmates from the Charleston Correctional Facility. Anthony Murphy is one of the inmates. He has one year left on his sentence and he relishes the chance to give back. “If it’s anyway to give back to the community then I’m there for them,” Murphy says. Leo Gerry is the Correctional Officer assigned to this detail. He says he has never had a problem with any of the inmates and tells me this is a prized detail for them. “They work as a team away from the facility,” Gerry says, “for a short period of time they can get rid of the games and politics of being incarcerated.”Now that this year’s festival is in the books most of the volunteers here say the same thing: see you next year.