Turks Head Festival celebrates 36 years on July 15
● By Richard Gaw
During his 14-year term as the director of the Parks and Recreation Department for the Borough of West Chester, Keith Kurowksi has seen the residents in the vicinity of Everhart Park take ownership of the annual Turks Head Music Festival.
Kurowski said that he watches concert-goers arrive early to catch a band or two, visit some vendors, and then walk back home to host a backyard barbecue. Later, he'll see the same people return to Everhart Park with friends and family, throw blanket on the grass, and dance to the music of the festival's closing acts.
In the process, they have made it what it really is: A backyard concert for the residents of West Chester.
“The festival runs all day, so that's a long day, and we get to see people who choose to arrive early, just as we get to see people come here for the afternoon, and a whole different crowd will arrive at the park to enjoy the evening portion,” he said. “Because the party extends to the neighborhoods around the park, it makes the event feel bigger than it really is, and they have come to call this their concert.”
This year's free festival, which will kick off at 11 a.m., will include 11 bands on two stages, more than 70 artisan and food vendor booths, a children's play area with moonbounces, and a misting tent to keep spectators cool.
This year's music lineup will include performances by Josh Olmstead, Pepperwine, Venom Blues, Waiting for December, Afro Bear, Mark DeRose, Big Mind Band, Aqua Cherry, Hambone Relay, Dean Shot Howling Wolf and Half Past Seven.
As a prelude to the festival, Local Yoga Cafe will offer a free yoga class to the community from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., with registration beginning at 9:30 a.m.
For those who wrap their weekend around the festival every year, they can expect more of the laid-back vibe that draws an eclectic audience every year, but those who are coming for the first time have a lot to see, hear and experience.
“What first-timers at Turks Head can expect to see are 70 different vendors selling everything from bonsai plants to jewelry, and food vendors who sell amazing gourmet food that's served concert-style,” said Kurowksi, who expects that this year's festival will draw between 4,000 and 5,000 people throughout the day. “Perhaps the component that's made the festival most popular is that they will see a performance by a rock band that's followed with a jazz band that's followed by a reggae band. It invites people to hear music they wouldn't normally listen to.
“The entire festival festival has always been run with a feeling of, 'Hey, you want to hang out for a while and hear some great music? Come check us out.'”
To learn more about the Turks Head Music Festival on July 15 at Everhart Park in West Chester, visit www.west-chester.com/139/Parks-Recreation. The rain date of the festival will be July 24.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email firstname.lastname@example.org.