The Florida Folk Festival:  Florida celebrated by 125 acts on 12 stages over 3 days. Music, folklife demonstrations, storytelling, dancing, crafts, heat, ticks, food and the best root beer floats ever.

                               The Suwannee River at Stephen Foster State Cultural Center

Livingston Taylor and Tom Chapin were among our favorite headliners this year.  Both are excellent musicians with warm stage presence.

           Livingston Taylor and Tom Chapin

Other headliners included Melanie, Billy Dean, Les Dudek and Jim Stafford.  It’s been fun to watch as some young musicians like Brother Brother and The Currys have polished and perfected their performances over a period of years.  We knew them when. . .

Many talented Florida performers don’t have widely recognized names but have developed significant followings at the festival.  We have very much enjoyed Ben Prestage and Bing Futch.

           Bing Futch

Sometimes during a Festival we carefully review the schedule, choose must-see performers and dash from one venue to the next.  Other times we settle at one venue and let performers come to us and are often introduced to a performer who becomes a must-see.  A young woman Dave heard this way is singer-songwriter Madi Carr whose interests include Johnny Cash and Janis Joplin.  Watch for her–she just turned 16.

One festival brings back memories of previous ones.  Jane hated to attend a set at the River Gazebo in tribute to Boomslang Swampsinger who died last summer.  Jane was attracted to his delightful Florida songs at her first festival.

                               Members of Peters Road Swamp Blues Band

Also at her first festival, she remembers literally “sitting up and taking notice” when she heard the song “The Storyteller” written by Ann Thomas and performed by Ann and her husband Frank.  Ann has died, but Frank shared Ann’s memory, that song, and his legacy of songs at the amphitheater stage Sunday evening.

We don’t know if we’ll be in Florida for next year’s Festival.  If not we’ll miss it and suspect other festivals will have a hard time living up to this one.



Categories: Travel

1 Comment

Esther McAfee · May 31, 2017 at 5:12 pm

I hated to miss the Festival this year. We had a family commitment on Friday, and to drive up there on Saturday for a day and a half just didn’t sound like a plan. Keep us posted.

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