By Jake Dowling, Icon intern
Mennofolk is returning to Bluffton after several years of absence. It will include three stages of acoustic music over a span of two days according to Wendy Chappell-Dick, director of the event.
"It is definitely an awesome festival," she said. "These bands are really good and I don't know any other venue in northwest Ohio that can pull in bands like this."
The festival begins Friday, July 6, and concludes on Sunday, July 8, at Bluffton University. Tickets for the musical performance are $15 and are available at the door. Admission for children 12 and younger is free.
Those interested can also pay $10 for a one evening event. The public can sign up for food and lodging at www.mennofolkbluffton.eventbrite.com
An array of singer, songwriter, roots music and hymns will perform on three stages, which takes place on Friday and Saturday with a worship service on Sunday.
"Sunday we are having a gospel brunch," Chappell-Dick said. "But the focus of the event will be folk, not spiritual."
The first Mennofolk event was held in Canada in 1989 by a young pastor in Ontario. After realizing that his music, which attracted many young adults, was not being accepted by his church, he decided to form a group that would play their own music.
The first Mennofolk USA was in 1999 in Bluffton. The event has gone national ever since.
"It was meant to be a young adult gathering, to play rock & roll and folk, whatever college students were interested in at that time," Chappell-Dick said. "But when I started the festival in the states, I including people from all ages."
The main difference with the festival this year compared to previous ones in years' past is this one is going toward a cause.
"The most distinguished difference about the festival in Bluffton is that we are raising money for a cause," Chappell-Dick said. "I thought, this event is great and I love the music, why not do something great in the world too?
Mennofolk musicians have agreed to donate their services, and all profit will be used to heal various aspects of war, including the Wounded Warrior Fund, The Iraqi Student Project, conscientious objector counseling and military recruitment counseling.
"These people are donating their time, they are coming for free and I can't believe it," Chappell-Dick said. "These people believe in the cause and they just love the audience as well."
The bands all have some sort of connection with the Mennonite faith.
"We have a website for those who identify themselves as Mennonites, but mostly I have meant them all throughout festivals or word of mouth," Chappell-Dick said. "Everybody who is coming has either had a Mennonite parent, joined a Mennonite church at one time in their lives or someone who has worked for a Mennonite organization."
Even though bands have to have some connection with the Mennonite faith, Chappell-Dick says she does not want that to be the focus of the event.
"We really don't want to focus strictly on the Mennonite theme," she said. "As far as the public is concerned, it's completely open to anybody and everybody can enjoy it."
For more information regarding the festival, contact Wendy Chappell-Dick by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (419)-303-9769.
For additional information on the Mennofolk festival, visit their website at www.mennofolk.org, Facebook and Twitter page at
For more information on some of the artist attending the event, click here.