Takoma Park's annual tradition shines with great new music
Every year, thousands of visitors, tourists and Takoma Park natives come to Takoma Park's Folk Festival, a blend of flowing music, homemade crafts and irresistible food. Families come for the children section, adults for the music, and activists for the endless stands and their various causes. Though this year's festival, held on Sept. 19, had newer music than in previous years, it held the same allure as always.
This year's festival offered hours of various types of music, dance and story-telling on seven different stages. The day began with lesser known local groups in the morning and ended with better known bands like Chopteeth, an Afro-funk band which has previously performed in Takoma Park.
On the Field Stage, fans watched on the hill as groups like The Big Sky, Iona and Squeeze Bayou played. The Big Sky, a roots rock band, did an excellent rendition of Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World" which was similar enough to recognize but unique enough to enjoy.
Iona, a Celtic influenced quartet who played after The Big Sky, rallied watchers into dancing along to several songs, while their ballads had visitors clapping along. Many of their songs, such as Wizard Silly's "Donald Macgillavry," had strong Irish, Welsh and Scottish roots, as did their instruments. The quartet was equipped with a violin, a Bodhan, a guitar and a flute.
The Field Stage later played host to a traditional Cajun band, "Squeeze Bayou." The show started slowly as the lead singer sang folk songs with a touch of a Cajun lilt and picked up with the twangy and memorably "Cowboy's Waltz." Drums throbbed in the background as the rhythmic songs of the Bayou enthralled visitors.
Interactive shows such as the performances at Lenore Dance Stage, dedicated to the festival's organizer, Lenore Robinson, who passed away in 2004, were also common at the festival. Bulgarian Dance led by Larry Weiner, with music by Lyuti Chushki, had family's dancing to the rapid, engaging music. Dozens of festival-goers paraded in circles as Weiner taught them the traditional dance. The five person band had an other-worldly feel, while the pacing kept the music grounded in reality.
Lesser known bands such as "No Blow and Bushwackers" played as well and garnered attention from visitors. With only three people, "No Blow" managed to have an eclectic variety of music. The lead singer's deep voice was perfectly suited for the old-feeling ballads they sang, such as "Dido Bendigo," which was dedicated to one of the dogs in the audience. With a family friendly performance, "No Blow" entertained viewers with their washboard instruments and enthusiastic antics.
Other performers included two local talents: the band "Takoma Zone" and banjo man Frank Cassel. With more diversity than in previous years, the festival drew more visitors in, even having a bus for transportation from the Metro to Takoma Park Middle School, where the festival was held. Once again, Takoma Park proves that despite its quirky-ness, it can give its citizens a rocking good time.
Alexis Egan. Alexis is a (very) short junior, who is very pleased to be writing for Chips Online with all her friends. Along with writing, her other hobbies are playing soccer, reading about Mount Everest and listening to any Irish music. Her favorite movie is The Princess ... More »