Appalachian Festival Symposium

FSU Celebrates Region’s Unique Culture, History, Music and Dance With Appalachian Festival

Frostburg State University’s much-anticipated Appalachian Festival will return for its 14th year from Thursday, Sept. 19, to Saturday, Sept. 21. The free, family-friendly event brings together artists and craftspeople to celebrate all that makes the region unique – its history, culture, music and dance, folk arts, food and more – with performances, workshops, displays, discussions and activities. This year’s event focuses on “Just Transitions: Climate, Economy and Culture.”

The theme of just transitions continues Friday on FSU’s Upper Quad with the Appalachian Symposium, beginning at 1 p.m. with “What's New in Appalachian Extraction? Appalachian Plastics” by Tyler Cannon, a community organizer with Mountain Watershed Association, who will explore the Appalachian Storage Hub and related petrochemical infrastructure in the region. The proposed developments include ethane crackers, miles of pipelines and underground storage facilities that would create a plastics-processing network stretching from Catlettsburg, Ky., along the Ohio River, to Beaver, Pa. Cannon will focus on the most recent developments with these projects, the connection between shale gas and plastics, and how audience members can get involved in the fight for the future of the region.

Following this presentation at 2 p.m. Jacob Hannah, Coalfield Development’s first conservation coordinator, will present “Rebuilding the Appalachian Economy From the Ground Up With Triple-Bottom-Line Sustainability.” Hannah focuses on creating innovative ways to protect West Virginia and incorporate it into the future. Testing out his triple-bottom-line sustainability concepts, he spent three years developing revitalization initiatives for coal towns in central Pennsylvania and food security programs in Western Maryland.

At 3 p.m., join Clory Jackson and Caroline Hann, who have embarked on a creative journey to explore and confront the history and social impact of Brownsville, a forgotten community of Frostburg that started in the 1860s. Their interactive theatre experience, “The Brownsville Project,” seeks to explore the story of a place where race, class, gender and family pride meet.

In the last presentation of the day, “The Living New Deal,” at 4 p.m., independent historian Brent McKee, with the feasibility of the Green New Deal resolution in mind, will discuss and present photographs about the “green” aspects of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, 1933-1943, both nationally and locally. This will include Works Progress Administration climate science projects, sanitation projects funded by the Public Works Administration, tree planting by the Civilian Conservation Corps and legislation and art designed to promote the conservation of wildlife.

The symposium ends at 6 p.m. with a community sing for climate and social justice led by singer-songwriters Kim Alexander, Doug Hendren, Sparky and Rhonda Rucker, and Rob Smith.

To learn more about the FSU Appalachian Festival, visit or email Dr. Kara Rogers Thomas at

Friday, September 20, 2019 at 1:00pm to 7:00pm

FSU’s Upper Quad

Event Type



Contact Person

Dr. Kara Rogers Thomas

Contact E-mail

Ticket Info - Cost/Ticket site

Free and open to the public


Recent Activity