By Crista Munro
Special to The SUN
After 24 years at the helm of FolkWest, Crista Munro will be leaving her position as executive director, effective after this year’s Four Corners Folk Festival.
“I have been hired as the executive director of Sisters Folk Festival in Sisters, Oregon, and — while grateful for this amazing opportunity — it is with great sadness that I close the door on my long chapter in Pagosa Springs,” Munro said.
Many Pagosa SUN readers may remember Munro and her husband, Dan Appenzeller, from their 20 years living in Pagosa Springs. The couple co-founded FolkWest together and produced the very first Four Corners Folk Festival on Reservoir Hill in 1996 with a lot of help from the community. In the years since, the event grew by leaps and bounds, and in 2006 Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass was added to the FolkWest annual lineup.
In 2003, Appenzeller was diagnosed with cancer and underwent aggressive chemo and radiation treatments that saved his life, but left him with health challenges that worsened until he was no longer able to live at a 7,200-foot altitude.
“We relocated to Eugene, Oregon, in 2011 (elevation 200 feet) and have continued to produce the festivals from there ever since, spending a month or more in Pagosa Springs each summer. Although we live in Eugene, the organization remains firmly planted in Colorado, with 13 seasonal employees and dozens of local vendors and contractors,” explained Munro.
Recent developments with Appenzeller’s health have prevented him from traveling to Pagosa Springs for the events, beginning in the summer of 2018. He has since moved to a part-time role with FolkWest, maintaining responsibility for artist booking and service contracts.
Munro, Appenzeller and their Pagosa crew have been working diligently to put together two incredible festivals for the 2019 season.
Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass takes place June 7-9 on Reservoir Hill and features The Del McCoury Band, Sierra Hull, The Travelin’ McCourys, Sam Reider and the Human Hands, Kate Lee and Forrest O’Connor, Old Salt Union, Dead Horses, Circus No. 9, Fireside Collective, Halden Wofford and the Hi*Beams, Bonnie and the Clydes, FY5, and Sugar and the Mint.
The 24th annual Four Corners Folk Festival will be held Aug. 30-Sept. 1 on Reservoir Hill. The lineup includes The Earls of Leicester, Billy Strings, Molly Tuttle, Darrell Scott, Amy Helm, The Mammals, The East Pointers, Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley, JigJam, Lindsay Lou, Mile Twelve, Wild Rivers, Maybe April and The Arcadian Wild.
Tickets and information about both upcoming events can be found at www.folkwest.com.
The FolkWest board is currently in discussions with an entity for the possible takeover of the festivals.
“We are hopeful that with the deep history and long success of FolkWest’s events, the legacy will live on and thrive under new leadership,” Munro said.