10th Consecutive Folks Fest
This August will be my tenth consecutive Rocky Mountain Folks Festival and I am ticking the days off the calendar with anxious anticipation; mostly because some of my favorite performers like Ani DiFranco, Darrell Scott, David Wilcox, and Marc Cohn will be reverberating the canyon with awesome beauty and energy. And there are many others! John Prine, Jonatha Brooke, Greg Brown, The Swell Season, and Richard Thompson! Liz Longley, last years winner of the Songwriters Showcase will be one of the few new faces who will testify to the depth and texture and resonance of music produced, not for its potential monetary significance, but for its heart and truth and unabashed honesty. It’s the 20th Anniversary of the Folks Fest, and it will truly be a summit on the song in the Rockies; a rendezvous to rival all that have come before.
When I came to my first Folks Fest, I remember being blown away by the quality of the sound produced from the Lyons stage. From the participants in the Songwriters Showcase (some of whom, like Scott Carter, still proudly reside on my IPOD) to the last strains of Bruce Hornsby’s grand piano, I was transformed forever into a passionate believer of the song as sustenance. As Dylan wrote, “Everything up to that point had been left unresolved.” How had I been able to write with conviction, sing with compassion, perform with emotion, or play with utter delight (Todd Snider taught me that) until this music had come into my life? The Folks Fest opened up a “vast out-thereness” (thank you Maggie Simpson) and I have been exploring its depth and breadth ever since.
Ten years of Folks Fests have taught me to be open to the unexpected. A moment of great beauty and grace is as likely to happen in one set as another. If you aren’t familiar with an artist, wait…listen…they may be the discovery of the festival for you. Eddie From Ohio took me on a ride I will never forget. Missy Higgins whispered her way into my heart. Steve Seskin pressed my: “Release Pent-up Emotions Immediately” button; not once but many times throughout his set. Most of all, I’ve learned if there is a deluge, even if it continues throughout the day, hang on, relief will come. A double rainbow is as close as a growling Greg Brown lyric.
I have heard the siren call. I have felt the reverberation in my feet. I can see the horizon beckoning me eastward. I will leave my home in Northern California, and I will go the banks of the St. Vrain and I will bathe in the waters of song. My transformation continues…..