The 51st annual Folk Festival starts Friday

August 16, 2012 5:57:44 AM PDT
The first Philadelphia Folk Festival was held in 1962 and a few hundred enthusiasts attended. 50 years later, folk superstars join local performers and play non stop before thousands of fans.

The Old Poole farm, in Schwenksville,, Pennsylvania becomes a little city, staffed mainly by volunteers who provide security, health care, babysitting and just about anything else festival-goers might need. There's a spirit of cooperation that pervades everything.

It's not unusual for a big-name performer to sit on a musical workshop, playing alongside fans and emerging local talent.

Philadelphia Folksong Society executive director Levi Landis is in charge of it all for a fifth straight year. He told Action News that, after 50 festivals, there was the idea to pretend it's all starting out fresh. So this year, he's programmed non-stop music on several stages...no breaks.

There is dancing as well as music, and plenty of activities just for kids. There's also a new team of food vendors committed to making what they serve fresher and more organic than ever.

Some families come and camp for the entire weekend. Others will choose just one show and attend that. Tickets...festival-wide or show-by-show...are available online or at the gate.

Friday-night headliner Mary Chapin Carpenter is making a return visit. The Princeton native first played the festival in 1987.

Steve Earle plays Saturday, along with Little Feat. Sunday's closing concert features Trombone Shorty and Orleans avenue, who played last year. But there are dozens more performers, many of whom are just emerging on the folk scene, and you'll enjoy the sense of discovery when you look back and say you heard them "when"

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The Philadelphia Folk Festivalwebsite has complete information including ticket options, camping details, and much more.

The festival is the largest single activity each year presented by the Philadelphia Folksong Society. Proceeds help fund those other activities, including regular outreach providing arts programs at Philadelphia public schools. You may phone the society at 215-247-1300.


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