National Folk Festival 2007
by Shannon Timberlake
69th Annual National Folk Festival
Wow! What a send off Richmond! A Record 175,000+ attendees for this years National Folk Festival, October 12-14th. Being that this was our third, and final year as the host city (moves to Butte, Montana for the next three years) I don't think organizers were prepared for Richmond to end our run with such a huge turnout. It was an unbelievable weekend; perfect weather, great music, fantastic variety of food and cool merchandise. We surpassed even vendor expectations for attendance, leaving most scrambling to purchase twice what they originally prepared for (they even ran out of water!)
I wish I had been able to attend more of the festival, but what I did get to see what definitely worth finding parking for, especially when noticing the diversity in attendees. It was an uplifting experience to see Richmonders of all walks enjoying the same event. There was definitely something there for everyone with bands like the Junk Yard Band, Rosie Ledet & the Zyedco Playboys performing on one stage and Country Connections: The Hank Williams Legacy and Cephas & Wiggins each playing just a short walk down the river front on another. The incorporation of instrument making, vocal sessions, guitar lessons, breakdance instruction and dance workshops were great for the everyone in the family to enjoy.
The diversity of this festival is a welcome addition to the festivals of Richmond, a few of the performers were:
Cephas & Wiggins, Melody of China, Bryan Bowers, Wayne Henderson, Big Country Bluegrass, Jeff Little and Inida jazz Suites with Jason Samuels Smith & Pandit Chitresh Das, the Karan Casey Band & Grupo Fantasma. Also, On each of the 7 stages, Signing was offered for the hearing impaired.
I'm definitely anxious to hear how the plans to continue this event as the Richmond Folk Festival pan out, will keep you posted ;o)
For updates and reviews from the organizer, please check out their website http://www.nationalfolkfestival.com/