Featuring: Juel Ulven
Dedicated Leader, Banjo-Strummer, Heart-Warmer Human
The name Juel Ulven will forever be connected with the Fox Valley Folk Music & Storytelling Festival. He led with such generosity. I never met him, though I knew of the importance of this Festival that continues on despite his passing. Seen strumming a banjo or sharing music and advice with others, his spirit will be with the 46th Festival coming up Labor Weekend 2022 and forever after.
While learning more about Juel, I noticed a newspaper pictures where he is holding up a sign of the Festival cancelled due to flooding. The last couple of years have brought us COVID and all the adapting for events including for Fox Valley. Juel was no stranger to fighting through the hard stuff. In fact, part of his battle included Long COVID and Leukemia.
Yet the battle continues. Despite declining health, Juel put 100%–nay 300%–in the continued planning of that event. Many volunteers and audience members can attest to his attention to detail and wanting to always be of help. Vel Weiss told me that he organized much from the hospital. Even two weeks before he passed, he participated in some sea shanties virtually.
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You can see more details on Juel Ulven with the Story Artists Memorial.
I found it touching that while I had a hard time finding a video of Juel performing, I did find a different artist who was helped by Juel Ulven. This artist wished to find the first song in Carl Sandburg’s “The American Songbag” published in 1927 called “He’s Gone Away.” The artist said in the video description, “I ran across a reference to this book and was poised to order one from Amazon when I asked Juel Ulven if he had a copy. He answered “Several” and offered me one which I gladly accepted.”
The second video gives some flavor to what Juel dedicated so much in leading a wonderful festival. Now, the volunteers of today and those of the tomorrows can honor him forever. What a fitting image that the 2015 Fox Valley Festival shows a banjo.
Do you know a Story Artist who has passed on and want others to remember them? Memories? Pictures? You can submit names and memories of Story Artists who have passed on through our online form.
I appreciate Juel Ulven for his dream and commitment that provides a legacy to inspire everyone around the world.
Juel still has a story. You have a story. We all have stories.