It's tough to leave the Folks Festival without a few new songs in your head and at least a few stories in your heart...
This year's Songwriter Showcase winner, Mitch Barrett, first learned that he had entered the contest when he received a congratulatory phone call from us a month ago. Unbeknownst to him, his wife had entered one of his songs in the contest last spring. After borrowing some camping gear from some festivarians after arriving in Lyons, the Kentucky-native's Friday morning performance earned him a spot on the 2007 Folks lineup.
We were all uniquely moved by the warmth, generosity, and hard-earned wisdom of Kris Kristofferson. When he sang of Truth and Freedom - with a capital T and F, respectively - he sang not of some abstract concept, but the grounded understanding of a lifetime of living and human artistry.
Canadian Kathleen Edwards asked to give the introduction to Blue Rodeo, the band that inspired her to take up music. Midway through their set, the band called her on stage to share lead vocals with her heroes. Likewise, fellow Australians The Waifs and the legendary songsmith Paul Kelly shared each other's stage for duets during their sets Saturday and Sunday.
The closing pair of Martin Sexton and Ani DiFranco complemented each other perfectly. As Martin had the Planet's earth shaking and sky singing, Ani turned in one of the weekend's most musical sets, tastefully joined by percussionist Mike Dillon and bassist Todd Sickafoose.
We each left with a favorite new performer: the impressive debuts from Amos Lee and Sonya Kitchell; the colorfully edgy fiddling looper Andrew Bird; the dynamic vocal energy of Moira Smiley and VOCO; Jeff Tweedy's appropriation of Woody Guthrie for the No Depression set; the sophisticated big band interplay of Assembly of Dust; the stirring opening pose of Issa's Saturday afternoon serenade.
We'd love to hear about your Folks Fest experience. Take a minute to fill-out the online festivarian survey. While you're there, grab a couple tickets to our final festival of 2006...
This year's Festival of the Mabon, Saturday, September 23, is shaping up to be one of our most musically and geographically diverse ever - with Ireland, Scotland, France, Canada, and (umm) North Carolina all being represented. Join us for bagpipes, pumpkins, drums, and one grand day of Autumn festivation on Planet Bluegrass. More below...
For all you Colorado Festivarians (or heck, this one's worth a road trip) don your finest funk formalwear for Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings on Wednesday, September 20 at the Boulder Theater. We're still talking about Sharon's unstoppable energy on the Telluride Bluegrass stage last June. "Dap-Kings, this land was made for you and me."
The Folks on Planet Bluegrass
Festival of the Mabon
At some point late Saturday afternoon the crowd will hush to a whisper as the sound of bagpipes washes over the entire Planet from atop the cliffs of the St. Vrain. Without a single word being uttered, it will once again prove to be one of the most poignant moments of the festival season.
But this year's Mabon (pronounced MAY-bahn) brings one instrument even closer to the forefront: drums. Originally modelled after European-style Celtic festivals, this year's lineup mixes traditional celtic music (Johnny B. Connolly's trad Irish and many other guests) with some fresh modern approaches (Scottish acid-croft quintet Shooglenifty, French prog celtic band Tornaod).
Along the way we explore deeper world-music roots with the West African Highlife Ensemble and the African-styled jams of Toubab Krewe. Fusing it all together is the folk/rock stringband (with drums) of The Duhks - who won many a festivarian fan at the 2004 Folks Fest in Lyons.
Learn more about all of this year's Mabon performers, including the complete main stage schedule.
Saturday, September 23
Shooglenifty | The Duhks | Toubab Krewe | Johnny B. Connolly & Bridgetown | Tornaod with special guest Beth Patterson | CU West African Highlife Ensemble
Keep watching bluegrass.com for info about workshops and other activities throughout the day. And plan on joining us Friday night for the traditional Irish ceili dance featuring Johnny B. Connolly and many special guests.
Tickets for the one-day festival are only $25 and a weekend of camping sprawled out along the St. Vrain is just another $10. Get yours now at 800-624-2422 or www.bluegrass.com.
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