12 July 2010

National Folk Festival: Three Days of Music & Dancing

This was Butte, Montana's third & last year to host the National Folk Festival. It's been a great run, and for all of you music lovers--don't miss a chance to enjoy this event if it comes near you (the next 3 years is in Nashville). For three days, about 100,000 people visited our little city in the Northern Rockies. Friday opening ceremony was at the Original Mine Yard stage where the threatening skies did not deter the crowd's enjoyment of incredible bluegrass fiddle of Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper:

We closed out the first night at the dance tent with high-energy zydeco by Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie (amazing button-box accordion!):

Saturday morning brought a festival highlight with the Cool Water Hula at the Bell Diamond mine--hundreds of local dancers flowing to Sons of the Pioneers classic tune, Cool Water:

Kristy Hager organized the performance as a way  of "Making waves to transform a greed culture into a green culture." Dancers took their cue from the giant 12-foot puppet of the Hawaiin goddess Synnøvei:


Back at the Folk Festival, one of the themes I enjoy are events like "Accordion Traditions," "Fiddle Traditions," and (shown here) "Blues Legends & Legacies." Artists from different groups take the stage together to explain the style of their instrument and methods. That's the venerable "barrel house piano player" Mr. Henry Gray in this photo:

Other highlights of the festival included Elizabeth LaPrelle and her Applalachian ballads (what's a music festival without a little thundershower?):

Aditya Prakash Ensemble (Carnatic music of South India):

Genticorum (Quebecois):

And of course dancing and more dancing, to great bands such as Super Chikan & the Fighting Cocks (Delta blues):

With six stages and a plethora of other activities spread over 12 city blocks, one could not take it all in. But we tried:

After supper last night, daughter Emily & I took in a set by local musicians at a local honky tonk, the Silver Dollar Saloon, that reliably features cool music. Butte America; this "ghost sign" sums it up--friendly, union solidarity, and beer:

For another blogger's view of the Folk Festival, see Justin Ringsak's Butte Folk.


Richard Gibson said...

Here's another, from a visitor from Baltimore.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a nice time. Who took all the neat shots?
One of my friends and her family were there. They live west of you.

secret agent woman said...

Sounds fun. I like festivals, but am not wild about crowds, so I have to find that balance.

Maria said...

Oh I had to go and listen to "Cool Water"..
I recognize that song but think I heard it sung by Eddy Arnold {way back in the early 60's ... my mother LOVED the radio}
I remember that haunting echo "Water, Water"

Such a precious gift.

We have a similar festival here...
"Old Songs Festival"

Fun to celebrate community style!

Lisa Wilson said...

Looks like a great time! I think I'd much rather attend it there than in Nashville.

troutbirder said...

What fun! btw - Friendly, union solidarity, & beer sure works for me.

Janie said...

It all looks like fun. Love the photo of the Hawiian goddess and blues dancers with the mountains in the background. Very scenic setting.

tsduff said...

Okay, so when is that festival coming out to California? :) I'll be first in line.