The 54th annual Philadelphia Folk Festival is taking over the Pennsylvania mountain town of Upper Salford Township Aug. 13-15. The whimsical weekend is wonder of headliners, independent artists as well as local musicians taking the stage, artisans creating crafts and an overall fete of folk.
Arlo Guthrie will mark the 50th anniversary of the events that led to him writing “Alice’s Restaurant” with a performance of the legendary folk masterpiece to close out Friday, Aug. 14 on the Martin Guitar Main Stage. Grammy Award-winner songwriter Lyle Lovett and will bring His Large Band to the Old Pool Farm for a Saturday night set. Hoots and Hellmouth, which previously delivered stomping raucous performances, will take the stage Sunday evening before the North Mississippi Allstars close out Sunday night.
Amongst the headliners that will grace the stages of the Philadelphia Folk Festival, a musical spirit will overwhelm the festival grounds. Throughout the weekend, showcases will feature artists collaborating and telling stories about a particular topic. Folk Roots of The Grateful Dead with Mason Porter, Hoots and Hellmouth; Hinton, Bower, and Jones; Chris Kasper, No Good Sister, John Francis, Griz, Kevin Killen, Ladybird, Spuyten Duyvil, Rootology, and Bob Beach is at the top of my list to see at 4:30 p.m. Friday on the Martin Guitar Main Stage.
South Jersey country music singer-songwriter Mia Bergmann will take part in the Next Gen Folk showcase alongside Naelee Rae 2 p.m. Friday under the Culture Tent. Festival favorites the Jersey Corn Pickers will kick it under the Lobby Tent 5:45 p.m. Friday. Rev. TJ McGlinchey will demonstrate a Ukulele Workshop at noon on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Culture Tent.
The real culture and brotherhood of the festival takes part on the hill, in Dulcimer’s Grove and of course throughout the campground. The Old Pool Farm becomes an active community of native and foreign tribes staking out their territory with unique clothing, distinctive battle flags and exchanging song around a campfire beneath the stars.
When the show ends each night the campground comes alive with music, song, drink and fellowship. The campground is abound with friendly, festive folk. In addition to the camaraderie, the campground stage features fantastic independent acts that keep the crowd clapping until early morning.
Singer-songwriter Christopher Kent plans to perform in the campground, as he has for more than 25 years. The State College-based artist has released some of his best work in the past year – following up on his album and book set “Piece of the Puzzle” and “Staying Off The Wheel Of Misfortune.” His booming voice and classical guitar playing will leave you breathless. He recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for his next album: “Earthsongs.”
I typically walk away from the weekend with a greater appreciation for music and discovering a few new favorite performers. Luckily, some performers return to the festival throughout the years. I know I will be happy to once again hear the powerful storytelling and humor of Tom Paxton 5:45 p.m. Sunday on the Martin Guitar Stage.
I’ll feature artists that I’m looking forward to seeing at the Philadelphia Folk Festival in my #FolkinStoked series on The High Note Blog.