About the Festival

Born in 2015, The Kansas City Folk Festival (KCFF) is family-friendly, summer-style festival in the middle of winter. Open to the public, KCFF features six stages of diverse, high-quality programming featuring the best of local, national, and international acts. Each year KCFF highlights a different type of folk dance and showcases some of the finest local “makers” in a boutique Artisan Market. Produced by Folk Alliance International (FAI), KCFF is truly “close to home and far from ordinary.

At the heart of every great folk festival (a tradition that exists the world over) is a connection to a community that extends beyond the music, embraces the roots of why people gather, and celebrates a culture of welcome and inclusivity. The tradition of folk music is strong in Kansas City and stretches back decades to a legendary scene that gathered around The Vanguard coffeehouse, the Cowtown Ballroom, and the socialist-feminist-activist collective, The Old Foolkiller. With a bold vision for the future, FAI looks forward to a day when the music community nationwide will begin to think of folk music alongside jazz when Kansas City comes up in conversation.

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Frank Norton: Logo Designer

Frank Norton

Frank Norton is a Kansas City-based graphic designer and illustrator specializing in branding, identity, and packaging design. He’s worked as an Art Director for Boulevard Brewing Company, Instructor at Kansas City Art Institute, and designer for several small creative studios. Norton’s work has been featured in HOW, Print, and Communication Arts along with exhibitions in the U.S, Europe, and Mexico.

Logo Design Statement

The mark was designed to be something iconic and recognizable that Kansas City could own for its folk festival. It needed to feel modern but also call back to the folk tradition of the region. The fountain and the strings unify to create a strong positive symbol that is clear and concise. The deco line work style is a tribute to Kansas City’s architectural identity and nod to the ubiquitous “Heart of the Nation” icon.

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Baldemar Rivas: Poster Artist

Baldemar Rivas was born in Visalia, California. Drawing in his room is where he spent most of his days. Now he is doing work for the Kansas City Star and working on a graphic novel. His style varies from project to project but what they all have in common is dynamic energy. He is open to new projects and always experimenting from sequential storytelling to movie posters. He carries a sketchbook wherever he goes, always ready for the next adventure.

Artist Statement

I wanted to make a piece capturing the spirit of folk embodied as a wandering musician. With this choice of personification, I incorporated what folk music is to me; Mexican Ranchera music. This is conveyed through the subject’s traditional mariachi garb and acoustic guitar, common components of a Ranchera ensemble. Folk music is a powerful and rich art which transcends boundaries; this piece conveys the Kansas City Folk Festival’s commitment to folk as a multicultural form of music.