Folk Music Festival offers weekend of acoustic entertainment

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

Sharlot Hall Museum is inviting the community to, among many other events, a Gospel Sing on Sunday morning.

It sounds like a headline from a bygone era, but that is appropriate, as the 29th Annual Prescott Folk Music Festival brings the musical traditions of the past into the present, alongside contemporary and eclectic styles of acoustic music.

"There's a lot of performers doing traditional folk music, but there's also a lot of progressive music, all acoustic," said Barbara Cook, the events coordinator for Sharlot Hall Museum. "It's not all sad 'daddy died in the coal mine' music. There's bluegrass, family-oriented entertainment - really something for everyone. Possibly the one and only thing they all have in common is that they're all acoustic."

The festival will take place Oct. 6 and 7 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Sharlot Hall Museum at 415 W. Gurley Street in Prescott. It features six separate venues at the museum, where musicians and other performers will entertain audiences. Cook said that in addition to musicians there are dancers, storytellers and music history presentations, and that this year there will be many opportunities for audience interaction.

"There's going to be a lot of participatory events for those who attend, like jams with various instruments, storytelling workshops, and more," said Cook. "If someone's always wanted to try a harmonica or, say, a dulcimer, this is the chance."

Cook said that a musical instrument swap meet will take place on Oct. 7 from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. outside the museum's Transportation Building. People will have an opportunity to swap or sell their musical instruments, and vendors will be present selling new and antique instruments, and offering instrument restoration.

"We also wanted to make sure the event had plenty to offer families and kids," said Cook. "We have the Super Silliest Band, 'Worm Drive: The Musical,' and the Eat Your Veggies workshop by the Artichoke Sisters band. I'm not sure what that's about - but they can come and find out."

This is the first that year Cook has coordinated the Folk Music Festival. She said that Warren Miller, the museum's curator of education, organized the event in previous years, but he retired in April of 2007.

"Warren was a folk musician himself, and he was familiar with the folk scene in Arizona, and across the country," said Cook. "I'm trying to follow in his footsteps the way he'd have wanted, with a wide variety of talented performers. There will be over 150 performers participating, so people will have plenty of options to enjoy."

Cook said the Folk Music Festival is one of the museum's most prominent events, and that it perfectly aligns with the museum's goal.

"Our mission here at the museum is to document, promote and archive the history of the central Arizona mountain region, and music has played a huge part in the history of the state, from the territorial days on through today," said Cook. "It's our intention to continue supporting musicians who can help fulfill that mission, and maintain Arizona's rich musical traditions."

For more information on the Folk Music Festival, see the Sharlot Hall Museum website at www.sharlot.org or call (928) 445-3122.