“An instrument of peace,” as Alby Thoumsin calls it, returns to Elkton when the fourth annual Flutestock takes the stage to honor the soothing sounds of the Native American-style flute. Back from a two-year pandemic absence, the three-day family-oriented festival this year features two-time Grammy winner Mary Youngblood and two-time Native American Music Awards winner Rona Yellow Robe (pictured). Top-notch non-professionals open for them on the amphitheater stage, and Friday and Saturday night’s performances will start with Aztec dancers from Huehca Omeyocan, based in McMinnville. Additionally, there are open mic sessions, flutes and crafts for sale, lessons and workshops as well as a silent auction for flutes and drums. Thoumsin, a native of Belgium and a trained arborist, notes that he was introduced to the Native American flute in 2009 when he struck up a friendship with a Native American man. Thoumsin gifted the man some English yew wood for a new flute. In return, the man gifted Thoumsin his first flute. “I don’t play,” Thoumsin told the man. “You soon will,” the man replied. He did, too, and in 2016, Thoumsin conceived the idea of Flutestock. The first festival was in 2017, and Thoumsin notes that the objective remains the same: “The emphasis is to honor the Native American flute.”
The three-day Flutestock festival is 9 am to 9 pm Friday and Saturday, July 15 and 16, and wraps up 9 am to 3 pm Sunday, July 17 at the Elkton Community Education Center, 15850 Hwy 38 in Elkton. The event is free. Additional information, including campsites for the weekend, is at FluteStock3@gmail.com and on Flutestock Facebook.