Wednesday, August 7, 2013

FRFF 25th Anniversary

 Who would've thought this small folk festival in the middle-of-nowhere amist the Berkshire Mtns is one of the best kept secrets for nearly 25 years! It wasn't too long ago that I experienced FRFF the first time. Five years ago when I went to my first FRFF, which turned out to be a very unforgettable weekend in its history - year of the tornado with golf ball sized hail - I could understand why NY hippies from the Woodstock era appreciate such a place and want it to stay on the down-low.

A traditional diary farm - they really are trusting leaving a 
jar with a sign that says, "Leave your pay" 

Coffee Roll so much better than Dunkin Donuts version.

Falcon Ridge Folk Festival is a community for people to call 'home'. So many great folk singers/songwriters and performers started on the Main Stage at FRFF and now headline folk shows all across the country and the world. Red Molly is a girl-trio folk band with what my friend refers to 'angelic' voices. They were FRFF festies would decided to make a band of their own and had the unique opportunity to perform as an Emerging Artist on the Main Stage eight years ago. Similar to other great bands on the lineup this year such as bluegrass, folk band Spuyten Duyvil. Among legendary folk greats, Vance Gilbert returned to FRFF after five years since the last time (8th appearance) to showcase his latest album "Old White Men" as well as share his wisdom and make new friends with people like me :) I geeked out seeing him off stage walking near the vendors and nearly ran into him to say how much I admired his talent...blah blah blah ick! I did get his signature on my program which I decided moments after to keep as memoriblia.

Always have to have at least one day with rain.

 The next skies!

 Young violinist in the main strip by the vendors playing away
One of my top three Emerging Artists this year - Bobtown

It felt like home this year. Third year and second consecutive year coming to FRFF you can get a sense of the neighborly love and power of folk music. Snaggle Rock, our camping neighbors from last year, reclaimed their spot on mid-hill. Harmony, her parents, her husband Ben and the whole crew were back for a very special reunion now with new additions (aka their kids). Other friends also came back, Miles to Dayton (NY) from the Emerging Artist showcase last year, ilyAIMY (MD) winner of the Emerging Artist in 2011 and Honor Finnegan the 3rd place winner of Emerging Artist showcase last year. Lesson learned last year we wanted to take full advantage of the night time performances at Front Porch, Budgiedome, Pirate's Tent and Focus. 1st night - very cold but worth staying up to 4am to see 13 musicians jam out on the tiny stage at Pirate's. Among them Tall Heights (Emerging Artists 2013), Spuyten Duyvil, Miles to Dayton and Pesky J Nixon.

Honor belting out a song

 Grand Slambovians come back to rock the Dance Tent playing tunes off
their latest album "FOLK"

I love the guys from Pesky J Nixon! They are the reason why the Lounge tent has grown to be a permanent stage on Thursday night at FRFF. For the last couple of years since its establishment the Lounge tent was a small stage on the hill that would provide campers who come on Thursday (or days before) to see and hear some great performances before the FRFF events began. Wanting to be part of the action and get to know what all the fuss was about FRFF gave them a bigger stage and venue near entrance. What was once a compact space of free music on the hill became this welcome place for any artist coming to FRFF to stop by and play (even Vance Gilbert). Thursday night at FRFF would never be the same!

 Pesky J Nixon's Nathan, co-host of the Lounge Stage, introduces Miles to Dayton
Surprise, special guest Vance Gilbert joins the fun!
(sorry for the poor resolution)

Hopefully I'll be around and able to come back next year. I would like to try the volunteer position. I think it would be a rewarding experience, become a more involved member of this community and who knows who I'll make friends with!

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