Monday, October 1, 2012

Richmond Folk Festival Itinerary - October 12-14, 2012

Official Poster - 2012 Richmond Folk Festival
The Richmond Folk Festival is by far my favorite event of the year.  I usually go all three days if I can.  This year’s lineup looks to be great, as always.  In past years I’ve hiked all over the crowded, sprawling grounds paying little attention to the logistics of getting from one stage to the next in an effort to see as much as possible.  This year I’m hoping to streamline that a little bit by creating an itinerary that takes heed of stage locations and minimizes the crossing back and forth over the bridge and walkway to Brown’s Island.

So, to start with, on Friday night I plan to just park myself at the Altria stage for all three of the acts on the main stage that evening and not bother with trying to see anything else.  This will include Irish-American fiddler Liz Carroll who is playing with the Cape Breton fiddler/pianist Troy MacGillivray at 6:30pm, Cuban band Septeto Nacional de Ignacio Piñeiro at 7:30, and the Morrocan Gnawa music of Hassan Hakmoun at 8:30pm.  I’m not sure what Gnawa is like but it’s described as being a spiritual, trance-like, groove music from West Africa.  Should be interesting.  That’ll do it for Friday.
View of the Altria Stage - Richmond Folk Festival
On Saturday 10/13, I’ll start the day off at noon by returning to the Altria stage for the traditional New Orleans jazz of Dr. Michael White and the Original Liberty Jazz Band, before moving on to a second helping of Liz Carroll and Troy MacGillivray at 1pm on the tiny Union First Market Stage.  I’ll then remain north of the rivah for the Blue Ridge guitar picking of Wayne Henderson - 2pm, RTD Folklife stage - before crossing over to Brown’s Island for Iraqi oud player Rahim AlHaj on the MWV stage.  After Rahim, I’ll stay right there at the MWV stage for the World Fiddle Traditions workshop, featuring the fiddlers and/or players of fiddle-like instruments from several of the bands at the festival. 

At 5:15pm it will be time to head back over to the RTF Folklife Stage for bluegrass mandolin legend Jesse McReynolds, before checking out Delta Blues band Super Chikan and the Fighting Cocks at 6pm on the Community Foundation stage.  At 7pm, I do not want to miss Ti-Coca et Wanga-Nègès, who play rural Haitian music with accordion and banjo in the band - also on the Community Foundation stage.  I’ll close out Saturday evening with another accordion act on the Community Foundation Stage:  Forró Pé de Serra All Stars, who play forró dance music from Northeast Brazil.  David Byrne once described forró as "a mixture of ska with polka in overdrive".

On Sunday, I’ll be at the Community Idea Stations booth near the Altria stage until 3pm (come by and say hello), but I should be done in plenty of time to make it to Banjo Journey: From Africa to America at 3:30pm on the MWV stage.  After the banjo workshop, I’m going to make the long trek back across the river and up the hill to the Genworth Family Stage to see my buds The Hot Seats make their Richmond Folk Festival debut at 4:15pm.  If I have anything left after that, I’ll try and see a little bit of Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys at 5:30pm on the Community Foundation stage before heading home.
Richmond Folk Festival Map of the festival site
Even with such a detailed schedule, I’m still missing more than half of the artists who will be performing.  For the full list of performers, click here.  Don't forget there’s great food vendors as well and you can walk pretty much anywhere with a beer!  And oh yeah, this festival is free, as in no ticket cost.  That's a pretty good deal.

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