August 20, 2016 |
When legendary radio DJ and Philadelphia Folk Festival co-founder Gene Shay retired from his post at WXPN's "The Folk Show" last year, aficionados of rural, rustic mountain music freaked out that their festival would go asunder. "Oh, I'll still be around," Shay said not long ago, he told me in May when I asked him if he'd be a part of this weekend's 55th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival. "You can't get rid of me that easily. " Shay will handle PFF 55's pre-stage patter, with an assist from fellow WXPN regulars David Dye , Helen Leicht and Kathy O'Connell . Joining their storied ranks is author, musician and recently-minted local Wesley Stace - the artist formerly known as John Wesley Harding - who will act as guest emcee throughout the campground's proceedings.
August 17, 2015 |
What's keeping the Philadelphia Folk Festival - in its 54th annual incarnation - humming like a well-oiled music box this sunny weekend at the Old Pool Farm in Upper Salford Township? It takes a family. Make that three generations of family now, both bloodlined and "extended. " All bonding over the music, the colorful (often tie-dyed) scene, the shared and embracing sense of community. "Even people you don't know, you feel like you do," suggested second generation festival-goer and sometime volunteer Barrett Oterson.
August 20, 2014 |
THE PHILADELPHIA Folk Festival last weekend wasn't the same without Dante Bucci. Dante, who died last Wednesday, had been taking his unique way of making music to the festival since 2001. His instrument was the "hang," a kind of drum in the shape of a flying saucer, balanced on the lap and played with hands and fingers. The music Dante produced with this odd device, much of it of his own composition, was unlike anything heard from traditional instruments. Its sound is usually described as "dreamlike" and "haunting.
August 16, 2014 |
South Philly resident Bert Olson - who, along with his wife and three kids, is one of more than 2,000 volunteers at this weekend's Philadelphia Folk Festival - considers the venerable event both a "throwback to an older time," and a "great way to discover new music. " Indeed, that unique mix of old and new is part of what makes the festival, now in its 53d year, so special for music lovers of all ages and interests, according to Lisa Schwartz, president of the Philadelphia Folksong Society: "There really is something for everyone - from very established folk performers, to very up-and-coming talents.
August 12, 2014 |
PHILADELPHIA Folk Festival organizers often ponder, "How you gonna get the kids down on the farm?" The Old Pool Farm in Upper Salford Township, that is - "a 45-minute commute from the city that seems so far away to a lot of people," noted talent booker Jesse Lundy. Last year, for better and worse, the team plugged in some rock-'n'-soul-centric Philly "folks" to motor-vate reluctant travelers, with decidedly mixed results. (Todd Rungren, unwilling to ease on down the acoustic road, will probably not be invited back.)
September 14, 2013 |
The 17th annual Korean Folk Festival for Children returns on Saturday at John Russell Field in LaMott, Cheltenham Township. From 1 to 5 p.m. enjoy culture and traditional games. Children can do rice-cake smashing, practice yoga, make masks, and have their faces painted. They can test their strength in a tug-of-war competition and play on a Korean seesaw. There will be performances and cuisine such as stir-fried rice cakes, barbecue beef, and seaweed rolls. 17th annual Korean Folk Festival for Children, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at John Russell Field, Penrose and Willow Avenues in the LaMott section of Cheltenham Twp. Rain date is Sept.
August 19, 2013 |
A hilly expanse of rural Schwenksville was a kaleidoscope of color Saturday. On the hill overlooking the Philadelphia Folk Festival's main stage, the green grass was covered by a patchwork of royal-blue tarps, purple blankets, and rainbow-backed beach chairs. Many attendees, admiring performers on stages flanked by multicolored murals and signs, wore brightly colored garb, from red and blue bandanas to tie-dye shirts. And a stone's throw from the music - through a wooded area where dozens of hammocks hung between trees - hundreds of tents covered a large field, creating a temporary weekend village for thousands of happy festivalgoers.
August 16, 2013 |
"DON'T MESS with my fest!" For sure, some old-school folkniks attending this weekend's Philadelphia Folk Festival will be whining that line. But we're thinking that the general populace will rejoice at some offbeat bookings for the 52nd annual get-together on the Old Pool Farm, in Upper Salford Township, acts intended to make this homey event even more user-friendly and connectable. As ever, there's lots at the fest that qualifies as tried and true folk music, from Celtic talents ( Burning Bridget Cleary , RUNA )
August 4, 2013 |
Last weekend, instead of hanging around for the XPoNential Music Festival in Camden or the Mad Decent Block Party across the river at Penn's Landing, I headed north more than 300 miles, to the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island. I'd never been. Newport belongs among U.S. music festivals that were 1960s flashpoints, along with Woodstock, Altamont, and, to a lesser extent, Monterey. Joan Baez rose to stardom at Newport in 1959 (the very first year of the fest, born five years after the inaugural Newport Jazz Festival)
August 18, 2012 |
It's not just the music that's traditional. For many of those attending this weekend's 51st annual Philadelphia Folk Festival, the event has become a de facto yearly reunion, not to be missed regardless of the demands of pregnancy, puberty, or parenthood. "There were a few lean years, trying to get the tradition going. . . . Now it is fully entrenched," said longtime festival attendee Marty Devaney, 47. "We're at the point where we now see people that we've known for 20 years, and we only see once a year.