Philadelphia Folk Festival

August 16, 2013 2:59:36 AM PDT
Throw a party for 50-thousand people, with some of the biggest names in music. Make it last three days. Meet all their needs, food, first aid, even the opportunity to learn to perform. Then make it disappear and have the grounds look like the whole thing never existed that's exactly what'll happen this weekend at the Philadelphia Folk Festival.

Executive director Levi Landis is excited about being able to present the fest for a 52nd year. Landis says there's a lot that's new and improved this year.

There's a record eight stages, more than ever before. So there's sure to be something you'll enjoy.

During the day, guests from little kids to the oldest folk fans will have the opportunity to learn about music and dancing. Crafters are an integral part of the festival.

There are souvenirs for sale and the festival's new food program is expected to offer the best dining opportunities fans have ever experienced.

The sponsor Philadelphia Folksong Society manages the whole event, helped by a literal army of volunteers.

While a relative few work through the summer to build the festival. Most of the work takes place in the days leading up to the event. Together, they transform the Old Poole Farm outside Schwenksville from an agricultural site to a concert venue.

There's parking for thousands and a campsite. And, with all the performers from first-timers to folk superstars, a certain synergy takes place that literally changes folk music every year.

Some recall the days long before Woodstock when the festival had just a handful of performers.

Today, in addition to the top-ticket names, artists being groomed by the Folksong Society take their place in the folk music spectrum and take their first steps in what's hoped will be long and growing careers.

Every year, the list of performers includes people who test the bounds of folk music. More likely, they're artists from outside the folk genre but not far outside, people folk fans will enjoy.

On that roster this year are Asleep at the Wheel, the legendary Texas swing band led by Montgomery County native Ray Benson.

You'll recognize his distinctive voice at once. And there's Upper Darby native Todd Rundgren, whom festival organizers have sought for years. His name in music was made performing and producing rock, but you'll be surprised to learn how folk has influenced his multi-decade career.

Another locally-raised artist, David Bromberg, is best known for folk but now experiments with all sorts of music. He returns for another performance.

With eight stages running live for three days and nights, you can be sure you'll find plenty that you'll enjoy. There are special programs for children...the future of folk music. And come Monday, the same army that builds the festival every summer takes it down and carries the infrastructure away.

Organizers call it a touch of Brigadoon, the mythical city that's rarely seen.

The Old Poole Farm is located just north of Schwenksville off Salford Station Road in Upper Salford Township, Montgomery County.

Most people who attend the festival bought tickets in advance but they try to accommodate drive-ups, too. For information, visit the festival website.


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