Info for Artists & Vendors

Information for Performers

Promo Kits

To be considered for 2018 Great Lakes Folk Festival – Aug. 10 – 12, 2018- please submit promo kit no later than February 1st, 2018. It should include: 

  • CD (or mp3s) of your music
  • 8 x 10 glossy photograph (color preferred) or 300 dpi jpg
  • Complete bio*
  • Stage plot
  • Technical requirements
  • Hospitality requirements

Performer Criteria

*This is extremely important as it will be used in determining whether or not we feel you meet the following criteria we have established for the festival:

  • The festival showcases performers who learned their skills within distinct communities and remain rooted in those communities.
  • Their exposure to performance skills is usually at an early age, learned firsthand (often within their own families) and what they perform is an integral part of their particular culture.
  • In this modern world, traditional musicians have easy access to other music styles beyond their own and their music often incorporates new influences.
  • They often perform for audiences outside their own community. But the core of what traditional musicians do continues to be the music that expresses the aesthetics and musicality of their community.
  • This festival presents artists who best maintain their allegiance to their traditional roots.

Performer Selection

Selection of performers is made by a core group of music specialists with input from national and regional music specialists and a community advisory committee.

Traditional artists who meet the festival criteria are encouraged to direct inquiries, CDs, & press kits to:

Molly McBride, Great Lakes Folk Festival

Information for Street Performers

Street performing or busking is the practice of performing in public places for gratuities. The practice dates back to antiquity and happens all over the world. Some famous individuals who have been street performers at some point in their life – sometimes just for fun – are Benjamin Franklin, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, the classical violinist Joshua Bell, and Guy Laliberté, the founder of Cirque du Soleil. Musicians, jugglers, acrobats, clowns, balloon artists, mimes, chalk artists, break dancers, and puppeteers are common street performers in the Great Lakes region.

The Great Lakes Folk Festival welcomes unscheduled performances by street performers. We recognize that those performances have a long history with the Festival and add to the overall festival atmosphere. However, the relationship between the Great Lakes Folk Festival and street performers must be one that benefits both parties economically and artistically, honors the artists who have been invited to perform and demonstrate at the festival, and provides a good experience for Festival attendees. In 2011, the Great Lakes Folk Festival initiated a system for ensuring those positive outcomes.

Location and Scheduling

The Great Lakes Folk Festival will provide designated Street Performers Area(s) which will be equipped with signage about Street Performer Traditions and a wipe-board on which your name and performance times can be written. A Street Performer Coordinator will be on hand to answer questions and to ensure that the Schedule Board is updated with your performance name and times.

Performances in this area will be on a first-come, first-served, day-to-day basis. You must be prepared to rotate your space. If another group wishes to play in the same space, both groups must agree to alternate. Each group is allowed to play for up to 30 minutes, with a short break between sets. The rotation schedule is on the honor system, but a Street Performer Coordinator or Festival Official will intervene if necessary.

More about location…

If you set up in any other part of the Festival site that is not the designated Street Performers Area, you may be asked to move to another location at any time at the discretion of the Street Performer Coordinator. Your activities may not interfere with any scheduled performance or programmed activity. You are not guaranteed the same spot all day.

For the safety and enjoyment of all who attend as well as in respect to the invited artists, the following areas are off limits for informal street performing:

  • Access routes for Festival and emergency vehicles
  • Within 30 feet of official festival-scheduled activities
  • Routes and seating areas for Festival-goers with disabilities

About loud instruments, amplification, and sound levels

Street performers are asked to monitor their sound levels to make sure they are not interfering with activities or other performers, including scheduled performances. No amplification is allowed. This includes, but is not limited to, amplifiers, boom boxes, pre-recorded music, and microphones.

Soliciting donations for your performance

Please know that the Great Lakes Folk Festival would not exist without the donations that Festival-goers contribute to keep this event going each year. Without these donations, street performers would not have this venue in which to perform. We hope that street performers will consider donating a portion of their take to the festival – easily done by contributing to the buckets- available roaming the site or at each info booth.


If you intend to market your appearance at GLFF online and through social media, please be sure to note the Street Performers Area. That way, we hope to avoid any possible confusion with the musical roster that festival planners have curated and published in multiple outlets.

More general info

You may not erect any structure, rack, display case or sign that cannot be contained in a conventional musical instrument case.

You are responsible for your own crowd control. Your audience cannot block traffic flow. You may in no way cause public inconvenience or jeopardize safety. If you are performing near a walkway and gather a large crowd, you will be asked to stop and relocate.

Please know that the Festival cannot provide site transport for informal street performers or storage of equipment.


NOTE: The above text was adapted, in part and with permission, from that used by the Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle, Washington.

Application for Food Vendors – 2017

2017 Food Vendor Agreement (PDF)

Please download and return to:

Michigan State University Museum- GLFF Manager
409 West Circle Drive
East Lansing, Michigan 48824-1045

Applications are due by May 1 of the year of the festival.

Serving Alcoholic Beverages outdoors on the Festival Site

Local Vendors that wish to sell alcohol in a Sidewalk Cafe area should contact:

Information for Non-Profit Organizations

2017 Non-profit Application (PDF)

Non Profit Area Guidelines:
– Hours of operation: noon-8pm on Saturday, August 12, and noon-6pm on Sunday, August 13.
-The Non-Profit location is dependent on final construction projects in Downtown East Lansing & GLFF layout.
-The Great Lakes Folk Festival is unable to provide tents, tables or chairs for your booth area. We encourage you to bring your own tent, tables and chairs.
-The purpose of this area is for the distribution of information only. The selling of merchandise is prohibited since it would create competition with the Traditional Marketplace vendors and GLFF donation efforts.
Space is limited and will be assigned on a first come, first serve basis upon receipt of completed application and payment. We encourage cultural based non-profits to participate