Out in the wilds of central Geauga County, a rare breed of music maker crawls out of the dark every summer to play bygone American tunes. "People rarely get to see the real thing," says director Pete McDonald of the annual Raccoon County Music Festival. "These musicians are experts in their genres: Cajun, old-time, bluegrass, and everything in between."
Returning to the Century Village Museum, the festival draws musicians from Akron to Ithaca. With the program beginning at noon, families can spread out on the spacious lawn, and kids can play games and eat fair grub. And at 6:30, everyone can join the square dance. "It's not corny," assures McDonald, who also plays guitar in the square-dance band. "Original square dancing was an Appalachian barn dance, and there were hot fiddle tunes being played."
In all, six groups will perform, including the Rhondas, a rootsy all-female trio, and the old-timey Hogwashers. And for those who love to play as much as listen, bring your instruments. "That's part of the focus -- people just playing together," says McDonald. "There will be a main stage, but there's so much room that people can get together and play music off on the side, and people can wander around and watch the different jam sessions."