The Brooklyn Folk Festival

The Brooklyn Folk Festival is a celebration of down home music at St. Ann's Church on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights from April 5 to 7, 2019.

The Brooklyn Folk Festival

St. Ann's Church | Brooklyn Heights

The Brooklyn Folk Festival, located in the heart of Brooklyn, NY, is a celebration of down home music at the historic St. Ann's Church on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights from April 5 to 7, 2019.

The annual festival provides an opportunity for young and old alike to come together, enjoy music, workshops, film screenings, contests and jam sessions and be part of the vitality of our community.  The festival is produced each year with a strong sense of vision and attention to detail with the goal of achieving an event that is more than the sum of its parts.

Over the past 9 years, the annual festival presented by the Jalopy Theatre & School of Music, has created a substantial and unique community event that brings together thousands of music lovers and hundreds of musicians to celebrate the valuable musical traditions of the world’s peoples. The 3-day event includes 30+ bands, vocal and instrumental workshops, a family-friendly square dance, jam sessions, film screenings, the famous Banjo Toss contest and more.

In 2008, Eli Smith, banjo player and host of the online Down Home Radio Show, realized that there should be a Brooklyn Folk Festival to showcase emerging talent from the phenomenal local folk music scene, incredible performers from the 1960s generation of the New York City folk music revival, and the best folk musicians from all across the country. To produce the festival, Smith teamed up with Geoff and Lynette Wiley, owners of the Jalopy Theatre, a Red Hook, Brooklyn venue that has been home to many up-and-coming as well as established folk, roots and traditional musicians since opening its doors in 2006.

Banjo Toss into the Gowanus Canal, part of the Brooklyn Folk Festival on April 8, 2018. ©Mark D Phillips

 

One part of the festival, that we find charming, is held off-site on the Gowanus Canal. Who would ever have thought of throwing banjos into our superfund waterway as entertainment and competition? The Banjo Toss will be held Sunday, April 7, preceded by the first Boathouse Flapjacks Social from 12-1pm with festival partner the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club. The Dredgers will be offering practice tosses the Saturday before as part of their Spring Cleaning event on Saturday, March 30th.  Practice tosses will use a canoe paddle, which is off balance and similar to the weight of a banjo. In addition, the Dredgers will be hosting the first Boathouse Flapjacks Social 12-1pm to give competitors some extra energy for the competition!

Organizers have been generous to offer two banjos - one to the winner of the men's and one to the winner women's competitors.

 

The 2019 Brooklyn Folk Festival schedule:

Friday April 5th

Main Stage

7:30pm Tenores de Aterúe– Sardinian vocal quartet
8:10pm Jake Xerxes Fussell– Folk & Blues from North Carolina
9:00pm La Cumbiamba NY – playing Gaitas y Tambores from Colombia
9:50pm Jontavious Willis – Blues from Georgia
10:40pm Feral Foster & Ali Dineen – Folk, Blues, Country and original songs

Parish Hall Stage

8:00pm Ukrainian Village Voices – Vocal and instrumental music from rural Ukraine

Louisiana Dance Party!

8:45pm Jackson & The Janks (Feat. Sam Doores of The Deslondes) – R&B from New Orleans
9:40pm The Big Dixie Swingers – Western Swing and Jazz from New Orleans!
10:30pm The Revelers – Cajun, Zydeco, and ‘50s inflected swamp-dance music!

Workshop Room

8:00pm Puppet Show! –  Those beautiful Boxcutter Collective babies are back! Last year their show predicted Amazon’s move to NYC, the opening of the rainforest to more devastation by capitalism and the rise of witchcraft across the country. What will they bring us this year? Stay tuned to find out.
9:30pm Vincent Cross presents: Ballads of James “The Rooster” Corcoran

Saturday April 6th

Afternoon Concerts

Main Stage

 

12:00pm Dan Zanes & Claudia Eliaza – Sing from “The House Party Songbook“: An All-Ages Performance Featuring Songs From Their Family Roots Music Treasury – Presented by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
12:50pm Brotherhood of the Jug Band Blues – Traditional and original jug band music
1:40pm Nate Polly – Country songs from E. Kentucky, presented by the Appalshop
2:30pm The Mammals – Folk and original songs
3:20pm Little Nora Brown – Banjo songs, ballads and tunes
4:10pm The Ozark Highballers – Oldtime string band from Arkansas!
5:00pm The Lovestruck Balladeers – Trad jazz, ragtime, and more!
5:50pm Amythyst Kiah – Folk, blues, and original songs

 

Parish Hall Stage

12:30pm Exceedingly Good Pub Sing with Ken Schatz – An open singing session, come sing together!
2:30pm Square Dance!! with John Harrod, featuring a flatfoot dance performance by the City Stompers!
4:00pm Mara Kaye – Early jazz and blues songs
5:00pm Barry Clyde – Folk and blues songs
5:50pm The Hayrollers – Bluegrass!

Workshop Room

12:00pm Revealing the Banjo’s Earliest History – Through historical images and accounts, banjo-maker Pete Ross and writer Kristina Gaddy explore the Origins of the banjo and it’s development from the 1600s through the early 1800s in the hands of enslaved African Americans. They reveal fascinating discoveries about the banjo’s role in cultural-spiritual practices like Vodou and the origins of the word “banjo.”

1:00pm “Playing (with) Trash” – Come spend an hour making your own musical instrument! We’ll use everyday found objects and simple tools. No experience necessary, great for kids and adults! –  with Zeke Leonard

2:15pm  Old Time Jam Session – Bring your fiddles, banjos, guitars, mandolins and harmonicas for a good old string band jam session! – Led by fiddler Stephanie Coleman

3:30pm  Fiddle Workshop – Glimpses of the African-American Fiddle Tradition in Kentucky: This workshop will explore what is known about the African- American fiddle tradition in KY – with master Kentucky fiddler John Harrod, presented by the Appalshop

4:30pm  Izzy’s Impact: Remembering Izzy Young and the Folklore Center – This panel will be moderated by Scott Barretta and will feature thoughts, stories and remembrances (and some music) from Izzy’s friends John Cohen, Peter K. Siegel and Matt Umanov.  There will also be a selection of photographs and memorabilia from the Folklore Center curated by archivist Mitch Blank

6:15pm  Film: Catfish Man of the Woods – Clarence “Catfish” Gray is a fifth-generation herb doctor living near Glenwood, West Virginia. In the film, Gray gives his healing techniques and his personal philosophy of life. “A beautiful film, keenly observant and irresistibly appealing. It is difficult to imagine an audience that would fail to respond.” –The Washington Post
Presented by the Appalshop.

7:00pm Film: American Epic – This new documentary features the untold story of how the ordinary people of America were given the opportunity to make records for the first time.  NYC Premiere!

Evening Concerts

Main Stage

7:00pm The Local Honeys – Stringband from E. Kentucky! Presented by the Appalshop
7:50pm Frank Fairfield & Meredith Axelrod – Folk, blues and popular songs from the 19th and early 20th century
8:40pm Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton – Blues, Old Time and Ragtime Music
9:30pm Kashiah Hunter & Friends – Sacred Steel from Atlanta, GA!
10:20pm The Brain Cloud – featuring Tamar Korn and Dennis Lichtman – Western Swing
11:10pm The Big Dixie Swingers – Western Swing and Jazz from New Orleans!

Parish Hall Stage

8:00pm Frankie Sunswept and The Sunwrays – R&B, R&R and original songs
9:00pm Ska-lopy Brass – The Jalopy Theatre’s own ska band!
10:00pm The Four o’clock Flowers – R&B and Soul

Sunday April 7th

Afternoon Concerts

Main Stage

2:00pm Pete Seeger 100th Birthday Children’s Concert & Sing-a-long! with Emily Eagen and Chris Q. Murphy – Presented by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
2:45pm Jim Kweskin – Jugband, Folk, Blues, and early Jazz
3:30pm John Harrod – Old time fiddling from Kentucky! Presented by the Appalshop
4:15pm The Down Hill Strugglers w/ John Cohen – Oldtime string band
5:00pm Baby Gramps – Folksongs?!
5:45pm Ian Felice (of the Felice Brothers) – Original and folk songs

Parish Hall Stage

2:00pm Emma Rose and Friends – Bluegrass songs and tunes
2:45pm Flatfooting Dance workshop with Megan Downes of City Stompers
4:30pm Jalopy Chorus – World harmony song traditions, led by Eva Salina
5:15pm Jalopy Jr. Folk Stringband ensemble performance
6:00pm – Cooking Presentation: How to Make a Pierogi – with Polka Dot Cafe of Greenpoint

Workshop Room

2:00pm Vocal Harmony Workshop – Learn to sing together in harmony, with Don Friedman and Phyllis Elkind

3:15 pm Songs from the Freedom Highway: Protest Music, Past and Present – w/ Nick Panken (of Spirit Family Reunion) & Special Guests

4:30pm Alan Lomax’s 1959 “Southern Journey”: Its Legacy 60 Years On – With a state of the art stereo tape machine – and the assistance of the young English folksinger Shirley Collins, Lomax made the first-ever recordings of now-legendary figures like Bessie Jones, Mississippi Fred McDowell, work songs at Parchman Farm and the thunderous hymnody of the Sacred Harp. Alan Lomax Archive curator Nathan Salsburg will survey the music and performers and explore its inspiration and legacy.

5:30pm Film: The Ballad of Shirley Collins – “Not just a delicious glimpse into the young Collins, but a glorious insight into the music, character and attitudes of rural America.”- Mojo
“Music Documentary Of The Year” – Louder Than War
This is the NYC Premiere!

7:00pm Film: Evelyn Williams (27 min) – This film is a portrait of a coal miner’s daughter and wife; a domestic worker and mother of nine; a college student in her 50s and community organizer; an Appalachian African American. She is a woman whose awareness of class and race oppression has led her to a lifetime of activism. Now in her 80s, she is battling to save her land in eastern Kentucky from destruction by a large oil and gas firm. Presented by the Appalshop.

8:00pm Lil’ Dogies – Harmony singing of old time & country music, all the way from Kentucky!

1:00PM SPECIAL EVENT: THE BANJO TOSS – Banjo Throwing Contest!
This event is held off-site. Flapjacks social at noon! Banjo toss at 1pm!
Assemble at the Gowanus Dredgers Boathouse, 165 2nd St., right on the canal!
More [details]
Carroll St. F/G train is just two blocks away!

Evening Concerts

Main Stage

7:00pm Bruce Molsky, Tony Trischka, and Michael Daves – Bluegrass & old time music!
7:45pm Anna rg (of Anna & Elizabeth) – Traditional and original songs
8:30pm Joan Shelley – Original songs from Louisville, KY
9:15pm Yacouba Sissoko – Kora (harp) music from Mali

Parish Hall Stage

7:00pm Jesse Lenat – Original songs
8:00pm Tin + Bone – Old time banjo and harmonica