Gilbert Folk Festival

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 8th, 2017

The Gilbert Folk Festival Meets an Untimely Ending

Gilbert, Arizona – The Gilbert Folk Festival is a free annual community gathering to celebrate and enjoy
the talents of local singer/songwriters from all over the state of Arizona. Launched in 2011 by long time
Folk Music supporter Robert Zucker, the Festival initially had a three year run before it was shelved for
two years due to lack of funding. In 2016 local small business owners and Gilbert residents Becky
Cholewka of Cholewka Law and Shanna Tingom of Heritage Financial Strategies came alongside as Title
Sponsors to bring the much-loved event back to the community of Gilbert. The 2016 Gilbert Folk Festival
was the biggest and best yet with more than 70 acts of live music on six stages throughout historical
downtown Gilbert.

Unfortunately, with 10 days left to the 2017 Gilbert Folk Festival (scheduled to be held February 18th),
the Town of Gilbert notified event organizers that it would need additional permits never required in the
past and that it would not honor previously contracted rates for space at what was the St. Xavier Building.
The Town assumed control over that building several weeks ago. Because of the short notice, organizers
had to decide between coming up with several thousand more dollars to hold the event, or continuing the
event with less than half the stage performances and workshop space available.

Organizers have decided to cancel the event out of respect for the sponsors who were no longer
guaranteed the advertising exposure they paid for. Title Sponsor Becky Cholewka stated “It’s just sad.
This was a great Festival to spotlight our Heritage district, small businesses, and local artists. Although
the Town likes to say it’s ‘Open to Business’ its actions continue to be a roadblock for small businesses
who are trying to contribute to a vibrant community.”

Organizers are currently in the process of contacting sponsors to refund monies paid to host the event and
to cancel all talent that was booked to perform. Gilbert Folk Festival founder Robert Zucker stated “For
the past 37 years, the time I have been in Arizona, I have given of myself physically, mentally and
financially to support our world of Folk Music. In 2011, I had a dream come true when we launched the
first Gilbert Folk Festival…I am devastated.”

The Festival organizers would like to thank the community of artists who have volunteered their time and
talents over the years to share their gifts. Many traveled to Gilbert with their fans in tow. Their love for
their craft was evident and a big part of what made the Festival special. We also thank the public who
came to the Festival and supported the artists and downtown businesses as they enjoyed live music here in
Gilbert and our beloved volunteers.

Festival organizers especially thank Bergies Coffee Roast House. Bergies has supported the Festival from
the beginning and grew to be the most coveted performance stage for the artists. In a sendoff to the
Festival, owner Brian Bergeson has made the gracious offer to host the originally scheduled artists on his
outdoor stage from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 18th so that the community can still have
a place to enjoy and celebrate fantastic local talent. Bergies is located at 309 North Gilbert Rd, Gilbert

Lastly, organizers thank the following event sponsors for supporting the Gilbert Folk Festival: Cholewka
Law, Heritage Financial Strategies, The Higley Center for the Performing Arts, Amaze Entertainment,
The Home Selling Team of Randy and Janine, Sonoran Vista Dentistry, Pam Johnson Insurance Agency,
Salt River Project, Texas Roadhouse, and Alyssa Morton Photography. They would also like to thank
Oregano’s Pizza Bistro for graciously offering their outdoor patio as a new 2017 stage location and for
being wonderful to work with right up to the end.