Folk Music Fest to feature more than 150 performers
Sharlot Hall Museum's Folk Music Festival will celebrate its 35th year this Saturday and Sunday with more than 150 artists converging on museum grounds to entertain with traditional, roots and Americana music.
"This is the oldest continuous music festival in Arizona and has become a local and statewide favorite," festival director Terry Berrett said. "The festival offers something for everyone. This is a people-friendly event where the entire audience has a 'backstage pass.'"
Headliners who will be performing on four stages are Beth Fitchet Wood, Tom Munch, JC Scott and Laney Greynolds, The Close Enough String Band, Joe Bethancourt, Fred Coon and Bill Burke.
Wood, a singer, guitarist, composer and producer, first came into prominence in the Southern California band Honk in the early 1970s. When Honk wound down, Wood put out records under her own name and toured the world as a background vocalist and assistant producer. She also performed on albums by Kenny Loggins, Jackson Browne, Jennifer Warnes and others.
Munch, a Coloradoan, will make his first appearance at the annual festival. He grew up on the Plains and in the mountains of the West, developing respect for these lands and their history. Hearing the tunes of the pioneers, miners and cowpokes from the time of his birth, he learned to sing and play with a depth of understanding of the joys and hardships that inspired them.
Scott and Greynolds were each on separate paths to musical success: JC as a solo artist playing with musicians from Arlo Guthrie and Lindsey Buckingham to Kenny Loggins, and Laney as a high-energy lead singer with the band Saddletramp. However, after a chance meeting at the 2009 Sharlot Hall Folk Music Festival, the two "knew they had been born to sing together," Berrett said.
Celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, the Close Enough String Band "will take you back to days past through the music of Sara and A.P. Carter, Charlie Poole, Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers, along with many other old-time bands" Berrett said.
Bethancourt was raised in the southern Appalachians in North Carolina, Europe and Arizona, "absorbing music almost from the time he could walk," Berrett said. "His blending of the music of his roots with his love of Arizona and the Old West makes for an interesting combination." He was elected to the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2012.
"Old-timey" musicians Coon and Burke have performed on numerous radio and television shows and plan to record their festival performance to be included in an upcoming CD release.
The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday on the Sharlot Hall Museum grounds. The gates open at 9:30 a.m. each day. Admission to the festival is $8 for those 16 years of age and older, $6 for Sharlot Hall Museum members and free for children ages 15 and under. Admission includes not only the music festival but also access to the museum's historic buildings and exhibits. New Frontiers, Park Plaza Deli and Andiamo Pizza will be on hand, selling food.
A successful event that kicked off the event last year will be repeated this year when festival musicians gather at 7 p.m. Friday at the Elks Opera House to entertain with "Legendary Songwriters," inspired by the great songwriters' great composing skills. Admission to the show is $15. Tickets are available by calling the Elks Opera House box office at 777-1370 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday or logging onto www.elksoperahouse.com.
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