Swayed Pines Folk Festival

Swayed Pines poster, May, 1974 Sh 35-4 Box 01.pdf

1974 Swayed Pines poster

The Swayed Pines Folk Festival began in 1973 when a few students got together to organize the event. Lee Hanley, SJU’s director of communications, served as the director of the Swayed Pines Folk Festival from the first year until 1997. The festival was non-profit, and any funds collected were used to put on the festival the next year. The objective of the Swayed Pines Folk Festival was to present and preserve elements of the cultural heritage of the region, through music, crafts, entertainers, and symposiums.

The Swayed Pines Folk Festival was celebrated annually, most often on the last Saturday of April and was held at the Warner Palaestra of Saint John's University, inside and out. The biggest part of the Swayed Pines was the fiddle competition held in the middle of the day. The fiddler contest had different categories, such as Sapling (ages 11 and under), Juniors (12-19), Evergreen (20-54), Silver Bows (55-69), Golden Bows (70 and up), and Masters where anyone of age could compete. First place received a trophy and cash prize. Second and third place also received cash prizes. There were also trophies distributed to the youngest player, oldest player, and the player who had traveled the farthest.   

The first Swayed Pines Festival occurred from April 26-27, 1974. The concert featured the St. John’s Men’s Chorus. The very first winner of the Swayed Pines Fiddle Contest was Craig Ruble from Austin, Minnesota.   Radio hosts Garrison Keillor and Tom Kay served as Masters of Ceremonies.  

For more information on the Swayed Pines Folk Festival, check out the History Lesson CSB+SJU archivist Peggy Landwehr Roske compiled in 2023. 

List of Performers for Swayed Pines.png

A Complete List of All Performers at the Swayed Pines Folk Festivals from 1974-2000

Swayed Pines Folk Festival