THE RACCOON COUNTY MUSIC FESTIVAL at Century Village Museum in Burton, OH was a yearly event from 1977 until 1989. Thereafter the festival was held intermittently until finally it stopped running after 1999. In 2006, the festival was revived as a celebration of the Geauga County Bicentennial. The name for festival comes from the name of the host county, Geauga, which is said to be derived from the word “sheauga,” a Native American word meaning “raccoon”.
The first festival was held on July 4, 1977, which followed on the heels of our National Bicentennial, which had cultivated a countrywide interest in American history and tradition. The festival was originally conceived as a venue for the performance of tunes and songs passed down through the generations via the oral tradition. Over the years, the festival has taken many forms, but it has always focused on traditional American music. In the past, festival events have included fiddle, banjo, and flat picking guitar contests, an open stage, clogging, fiddle workshops, spontaneous “jamming”, and main stage performances by local and nationally touring performers.
Jim Blum, Geauga County resident and WKSU folk radio personality, directed and hosted the festival from 1982 to 1988. At its height, the festival drew large crowds. In 1987, a young Allison Kraus & Union Station graced the stage at Century Village Museum, and if you don’t believe us, we have copies of the festival flyer to prove it!
The Raccoon County Music Festival is a special event that brings excellent local and regional musicians together for one day of traditional American music. What distinguishes each of performers at the Raccoon County Music Festival is that each has dedicated himself or herself for years to learning and expanding the tradition, in the process becoming an acknowledged master themselves; someone from whom others can learn. The very high level of the performers’ abilities is remarkable.
The revival of the festival has been a great success. See the “Photos” pages for a glimpse of festival events! Please mark your calendars and join us for another great year!