Probably one of the best things to do in the summertime if you're a folk music fan is to head to a folk festival or outdoor concert series. From Bean Blossom, Indiana, to New York City Summerstage, the Rocky Mountains and rural Washington State, folk music fans have got it made for the summertime. Check out some of the best places to be this summer to get your folk music fix.
Aug. 5-7, 2011
With more than a decade under its belt, Pickathon has grown in to one of the Pacific Northwest's finest folk and roots music festivals. Situated on a lovely sprawling farm just outside of downtown Portland, Oregon, Pickathon has welcomed the likes of the Avett Brothers, the Gourds, and numerous up-and-coming locals, to name a few.
The 2011 Pickathon boasts a stellar lineup including Mavis Staples, Black Mountain, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Thao, the Sadies, the Wilders, Eilen Jewell, and many more. Check out the Pickathon website for a full lineup.
July 30-31, 2011
One of the oldest folk music festivals in North America, Newport was where Bob Dylan went electric, and where just about every folk artist worth mentioning has graced the stage—from Pete Seeger to the Indigo Girls, and beyond. This music festival takes place the first weekend in August each year, in Rhode Island. Newport is well worth a trip whether you're a local or coming from afar.
The 2011 Newport Folk Festival will feature performances from an ecelctic group of artists, including the Decemberists, Gillian Welch, Earl Scruggs, Gogol Bordello, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, and many more.
July 22-24, 2011
Falcon Ridge Folk Festival is one of the most popular, well-attended folk festivals in the country. Every year in late July—right in the middle of the summer—some of the greatest contemporary singer/songwriters, folk artists and bands join together for a four-day festival in the hills of upstate New York. The vibe is one of strong community, and the music ranges from gospel to old time fiddle-driven dance tunes. Camp out or stay in a nearby hotel—this is one of the best places in the country to be a folk fan in summertime.
June 16-19, 2011
Planet Bluegrass plays host to three fantastic music festivals in the mountains of northern Colorado, just outside Boulder. The first of these is Telluride. Probably the most popular not-entirely-bluegrass festival west of the Mississippi, Telluride has featured artists ranging from Bonnie Raitt to Nickel Creek. Lyons, Colorado, is a quaint little town, perfect for a festival of this size. Nearby camping and the river that runs through offer great opportunities for song circles and jam sessions.
The 2011 lineup includes Sarah McLachlan, Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, Old Crow Medicine Show, Emmylou Harris, Robert Plant & Band of Joy, Mumford & Sons, and more. Check out the Telluride website for a full lineup.
This incredible series of concerts take place in Battery Park and at the World Financial Center, South Street Seaport, Brooklyn, and elsewhere. Sponsored by one of my favorite radio stations in the country—WFUV—the free concert schedule is expanding all the time. Keep an eye on their Free NYC Concerts Web site for more info and each year's full lineup.
The 2011 lineup will be announced soon, so keep an eye on their site for more information.
Aug. 19-21, 2011
Rocky Mountain Folks Festival is another weekend thrown by the Planet Bluegrass Folks. Once again, Lyons, Colorado, is an incredibly charming town (and home to Uncle Earl). Rocky Mountain Folks Fest generally features an incredible array of artists from folk-rock to protest music and alt-country. Keep an eye on their Folks Fest Web site for a full lineup and more info.
The 2011 lineup includes Brandi Carlile, Jackson Browne, Josh Ritter, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Bob Weir, Jackie Greene, and many more.