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Philadelphia Folk Festival

WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Aug 06 - 09:47 AM
GLoux 16 Aug 06 - 10:14 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Aug 06 - 12:39 PM
GLoux 16 Aug 06 - 12:54 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Aug 06 - 11:38 PM
Janie 16 Aug 06 - 11:49 PM
Col K 17 Aug 06 - 04:35 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 17 Aug 06 - 05:07 PM
GUEST,Russ 17 Aug 06 - 05:21 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 17 Aug 06 - 05:24 PM
GUEST,Russ 18 Aug 06 - 08:26 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 18 Aug 06 - 09:47 AM
Janie 18 Aug 06 - 10:44 PM
JohnInKansas 19 Aug 06 - 12:40 AM
Francy 19 Aug 06 - 01:22 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 24 Aug 06 - 09:44 AM
GLoux 24 Aug 06 - 10:18 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 24 Aug 06 - 11:56 AM
GLoux 24 Aug 06 - 01:24 PM
GUEST,rich b. 30 Aug 06 - 03:06 PM
Greg B 30 Aug 06 - 06:42 PM
Francy 30 Aug 06 - 07:21 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 30 Aug 06 - 08:03 PM
Francy 30 Aug 06 - 10:25 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 30 Aug 06 - 10:58 PM
GUEST,Russ 31 Aug 06 - 09:47 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 31 Aug 06 - 10:58 AM
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Subject: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Aug 06 - 09:47 AM

Any Mudcatters going? I plan on going on Saturday.

The festival, which normally was held on the last weekend of August, has been moved to the third full weekend in August starting this year. The festival begins on Thursday night (for campers only) with the rest of the action taking place Friday - Sunday August 18 through 20.

The website for more information is www.folkfest.org

I've also done a preview of this years fest on my website - www.ronolesko.blogspot.com
I've also included some festival history as well.

Hope to see some of you there!

Ron


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: GLoux
Date: 16 Aug 06 - 10:14 AM

Ron,

I'll be there all weekend. Our band, Run of the Mill String Band is playing for 2 square dances and an old-time jam on Saturday, 2 square dances and a workshop on Sunday.

Look for us in the dance tent...

Your preview is very nice...I recommend that you check out Beau Django, too.

-Greg


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Aug 06 - 12:39 PM

Hi Greg,

I will be sure to look for you!   What time are the square dances on Saturday?

Ron


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: GLoux
Date: 16 Aug 06 - 12:54 PM

Ron,

On Saturday:
Kids Squares at 10:00am - 10:45sm with Janine Smith calling
Squares at 3:45pm - 5:00pm with Beth Molaro calling
Old-time jam at 5:15pm - 6:30pm

All in the dance tent.

If you're in town on Thursday night, we're playing the Glenside Contra dance with Barb Kirchner.

-Greg


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Aug 06 - 11:38 PM

Anyone else going??


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: Janie
Date: 16 Aug 06 - 11:49 PM

Haven't been in close to 20 years--we were craftpeople with a booth there for several years--but I always loved it. A truly great folk music event IMHO.

Have a great time.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: Col K
Date: 17 Aug 06 - 04:35 PM

I presume that this festival is taking place in the USA and not in the N East of England.
Hope you all enjoy it.
Col


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 17 Aug 06 - 05:07 PM

Is there are Philadelphia in the UK?

I am surprised that more Mudcatters are not going.   Our UK Mudcatters have so many festivals and events taking place that seem to be well attended - just check out some of the current threads.

What are the North American Mudcatters doing these days?


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 17 Aug 06 - 05:21 PM

I go to Clifftop instead of the Folk Festival.


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 17 Aug 06 - 05:24 PM

What is Clifftop?


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 18 Aug 06 - 08:26 AM

Clifftop, aka
Appalachian String Band Music Festival.

http://www.wvculture.org/stringband/

Old time musicians from all over the world make a yearly pilgrimage.

All old time all the time.


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 18 Aug 06 - 09:47 AM

That sounds like a great event!   I think I will check out the CD. Please remind us about next years festival.   I would hope that more North American Mudcatters will share events like this. There are so many gems that are often overlooked. Thanks Russ!!


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: Janie
Date: 18 Aug 06 - 10:44 PM

I'm not sure folk festivals in Britain are the same kind of event that many folk festivals are in the USA. Some one familiar with both want to comment?

Janie


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 12:40 AM

I managed to make a very brief stop at the Philly Festival on the closing day in 1985, about 2 weeks before the Winfield Festival. My very brief impression of Philly was that it was quite a lot like the Winfield, except they do actually call it a Folk Festival, while Winfield tries to maintain that theirs is a more generic "Acoustic Music" Festival - and everyone calls it a Bluegrass Festival despite the official policy.

Since I only had a "day pass" they wouldn't let me into the camping area at Philly. The weather was a bit less than really nice, and I wasn't equipped, so I only saw about 4 acts. One of them was Mike Cross, who on the spot composed a special song titled "I Survived the Philly Flood of '85" to celebrate the rather difficult weather they'd had. Two weeks later, at Winfield, on the spot, Mike Cross composed a special song titled "I Survived the Winfield Flood of '85." (Versatile, that guy, ain't he.) At least nobody can argue that the weather wasn't similar. And in both instance, he did work in quite a few references to incidents and conditions peculiar to each of the Festivals.

The program indicated that Philly was a lot more organized with respect to activities for the kids, and gave the impression that the youngsters were not really expected to enjoy the main program(?). Winfield has only a few sporadic "kid things" but there's always enough going in with the camping crowd that the younger ones seem to maintain good spirits without organized activities. Someone probably could write a good thesis on that contrast, maybe, if it's as it appeared to me.

My Festival experience is pretty much limited to the western half of the US, and there Winfield is almost unique in that it's one of very few that doesn't declare being "Bluegrass." I really need to get "back east" and find some of the "Old Time" fests, but many of the ones whose names are recognizable seem to be very highly commercialized...

John


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: Francy
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 01:22 AM

I'm sorry if my age and preferences are starting to show....., but calling this a Folk Festival is a real stretch.....I recognized many names but have difficullty considering them Folk. Oh well age old argument; what is folk???? Anyway no old timers on the roster...(Out with the old - in with the new.)......kinda disappointed....Frank of Toledo


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 09:44 AM

I've posted some photos and my ramblings about this year's fest on my website - www.ronolesko.blogspot.com


Did anyone else go? I'm curious to hear your impressions.


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: GLoux
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 10:18 AM

This year's festival was amazing. The festival organizers did a great job of understanding their evolving audience demographics and delivered a lineup that was diverse, inclusive, current and entertaining. In addition to the main stage and 3 smaller workshop stages, the dance tent, complete with wooden floor, was a complete "track" unto itself. Square dance, contra dance, swing dance, cajun dance, "jam" dance (Horseflies), kids square dance...

It was the 45th annual festival and to me, it looks like the Folk Festival has a bright future.

-Greg


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 11:56 AM

Good points Greg!   My only disapointment was the Avett Brothers. Maybe they just had a tough night, but I really did not think they were ready for the mainstage.

I love the fact that Philadelphia Folk Fest encompasses a wide variety of styles. There are other festivals that do a good job at catering to their niche audience, but an event like Philadelphia really should serve as a "buffet" that offers a taste of something different. While I may not like everything I hear, I always know that I will hear something different and new at Philly - in addition to old favorites.

It will be interesting to see what the next 45 years bring!


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: GLoux
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 01:24 PM

Yes, the Avett Brothers embarrassed themselves. I don't think the banjo ever did get properly tuned or he just kept knocking it out of tune with his "style" of playing.

On Sunday, Amos Lee and James Hunter blew me away...among others.

When I was last there (2003), there was more emphasis on World Music...Xavier Rudd from Australia, Baka Beyond from West Africa & UK, Plena Libre from Puerto Rico, Led Kaapana from Hawaii, BeauSoleil from New Orleans...

My point being that they (Fred Kaiser & team) don't follow the same formula each year, which makes it even more amazing...

-Greg


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: GUEST,rich b.
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 03:06 PM

Camped for first time in 20 years.

Music was amazing. Favorites were Jackson Browne. Rodney Crowell. Huun Huur Tu. Horseflies, The Duhks, Raul Malo and Beau Django really blew me away. I was glad to hear the variety of music. The fest should always be evolving to keep it fresh. Great job this year!


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: Greg B
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 06:42 PM

Jackson Browne is 'folk?'

Well put me on the short bus and call me clueless.

What next...Roger Waters? Robert Plant?


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: Francy
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 07:21 PM

They need to change the name to Philadelphia ( ? ) Festival....Not much folk that I could see......Frank of Toledo


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 08:03 PM

... or we have to be open to the reality that "folk" represents something more than we thought. Folk is a living tradition.   There was plenty of folk, in all forms, at Philly.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: Francy
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 10:25 PM

Ron..Just because you have a "blog" and semantically speak well, please don't take the liberty to stretch the meaning of folk....I believe you know what I mean and just accept the fact that what happened at Philadelphia is fine and was a great festival.....But let's try to keep what folk tradition is left....thanks Frank of Toledo


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 10:58 PM

Sorry Frank, but the "folk tradition" that you are hinting at is not going to be destroyed just because many people have a broader definition. The folk traditions that I think you are speaking will be kept alive, thanks to the work of pioneers and the dedicated individuals that follow in their footsteps. Technology has given us greater access to field recordings and preserving these traditions for future generations.

But what of contemporary times? Are we not creating traditions of our own and evolving traditions of the past?   The fact that Jackson Browne can create songs that people around the globe can join together and share, as well as understand, is something that could not be done in the same fashion hundreds of years ago. While I do understand the differences between folk and popular music, there is something about gatherings such as Philly and the interest in modern music that deserves study and attention.

I am not taking liberties. I am also not alone in accepting a broader definition. No one is shutting doors on the traditions, we are just accepting that the door will always remain open and the room will continue to fill.


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 31 Aug 06 - 09:47 AM

Ron,

The Folks at PFSS had to make hard decisions and significant changes to keep the festival alive.
I wish them the best.
I hope that the attendees liked what they heard this year and come back for more next year,
The PFF deserves to live.

That said,

"The fact that Jackson Browne can create songs that people around the globe can join together and share, as well as understand" is relevant but not telling, for me.

IMHO The fact that "folk" sing the songs of Jackson Brown does not make him a "folk" musician and therefore appropriate for a "Folk" festival.
I'd say the same about the Beatles or Louis Armstrong.
Jackson Brown is no more a folk musician than Stephen Foster, a professional composer of unabashedly popular music the performance of which is now confined almost exclusively to the folk tradition.

One of the news stories I read reported that they had considered removing the word "Folk" from the title. Would not have been a bad idea, IMHO>

People keep using old words to apply to new phenomena.
Happens all the time.
The problem for me is that the process makes the old words meaningless.
The problem for me is that although the old words become meaningless, they keep their connotations.
The people who recycle the old words want all the advantages of the old words, particularly their warm and fuzzy connotations, without any of the disadvantages of the old words.
They also hope that people will not look too closely and question whether the old words are actually appropriate.
I have a problem with that.

And another thing...

I have been a mover and shaker in organizations not completely unlike the PFSS.

The following is PURE SPECULATION

Speaking from experience, the most accurate name for what is currently called the Philadelphia Folk Festival would be "Festival of Music that we like, and that we hope will attract a large enough audience to pay for the damn thing."

In such an organization, the term that originally specified the focus of the organization, in this case "Folk," can become more a weapon than a guide.

I have sat through any number of meetings where somebody says "It is not really x, so it is not appropriate for our festival" when we all know that they really mean "I don't like x and wouldn't attend a free concert featuring x."

NOTE
I am not claiming to have any knowledge of the inner workings of the PFSS. I am simply speculating on the basis of my experience with similar organizations.

Anyway, I personally am happy with whatever title the PFSS gives it event, but think they should call it the Philadelphia Pops Festival. The reference, of course, is to the legendary Monterey Pops Festival.

I mentioned above that I go to Clifftop instead of PFF. If anybody starts screwing around and trying to broaden the definiton of "Appalachian string band festival" to include amps and electric instruments I am taking to the barricades. I would be joined by a lot of my fellow musicians.


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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 31 Aug 06 - 10:58 AM

Good points Russ, and I do agree with you on many of them.

Your previous description of Clifftop describes a wonderful event. I would join you on the picket line if they changed such an event to include electric instruments. I would cry foul if the Mystic Sea Music Festival brought in Bruce Springsteen. I am anxiously looking forward to the Eisteddfod Festial and the superb traditional music that will be shared there.   Events like that should not change their vision.

The Philadelphia FOLK Festival is a different animal. Looking back at programs over the past 45 years, they have always offered a diverse lineup of styles and genres. While people are focusing on Jackson Browne and his 2 hour performance, they are overlooking the rest of the performers over this 3+ day event. While contemporary artists dominated, there was traditional music to be found -folk songs performed by artists like Saul Brody and Jay Smar, the Run of the Mill String Band, and an emphasis on world music - including Tuvan throat singing.   

I do know a number of people who help organize the event, but I am not privy to the internal workings. Your theories may be true.   I do think it is is important because the PFF is not only trying to sustain itself, but it also trying to use money raised at the festival to support various programs - including scholarships, supporting programs that bring music to institutionalised people in the Philadelphia area, and providing seed money for other festivals around the country.

I do agree with you that Jackson Browne is NOT a folksinger if we use the traditional musicologist definition of "folk music". Neither is Stephen Foster, Louis Armstrong, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, the Weavers, etc.

I disagree with you about your concern for "old words".   Words do evolve, which is a folklore study unto itself.

The American Heritage dictionary provides the following definition of folk music:
1. Music originating among the common people of a nation or region and spread about or passed down orally, often with considerable variation.
2. Contemporary music in the style of traditional folk music.

Naturally not everyone will agree with #2, but I sincerely feel that it is important.   The world has changed. Technology and lifestyle changes have altered the way music is spread and passed down. "Oral transmission" is no longer the only way to share a song or story.

We won't solve the age old arguement over "what is folk".   My feeling is that in 2006 people recognize "folk music" as a variety of acoustic music. I don't want to see traditional music get lost in the shuffle, but I also don't think we should ignore powerful music simply because the instrumentation doesn't fit an old job description.


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