75°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Boston Folk Festival

Spread across the emerald expanse of our very own soccer field, the 4th annual Boston Folk Festival welcomed autumn with a myriad of delicious foods, fantastic artisans and beautiful weather flawlessly woven together with the various musical talents showcased. This past Saturday and Sunday, I wandered within the welcoming enclosure to sample the wares and settle in for a relaxing time listening to some of America’s greatest folk singers and musicians.

Although the Saturday program was far more extensive and involved than the one offered Sunday, I enjoyed both immensely. Spreading out my blanket over the grass, lining up the edges with the blankets of my fellow “folkies,” I felt part of something a great deal larger than my own personal world. The crowd settled in on what looked like a grand communal patchwork blanket to listen to these musical storytellers and share their passion for the world of folk music.

Saturday brought such musical talents as Vance Gilbert, Aoife Clancy, Jimmy LaFave, Taproot and more. The atmosphere was one of close-knit pride for the freedom we enjoy, the trend in selections thematic and harkening to our most recent tragedies. Everyone was smiling, politely offering their place in line to those who could not stand long, and those who hadn’t the patience.

Sunday too, was cheerful and warm, the cool breezes offering relief along with the efforts of those gathering art and sentiments from the crowd to send to NYC to boost the spirits of the troubled and grieving. Among the highlights of Sunday’s program were Livingston Taylor, Eddie From Ohio, and the Greene O’Leary School of Irish Dance. I particularly enjoyed these dancing sprites that displayed a remarkable amount of discipline and stamina for their small 7- to 15-year-old frames. Clothed in beautiful handmade outfits of colorful, Celtic knotwork, they danced a number of jigs and steps to the delight of the crowd, against the backdrop of the clear, blue-green harbor.

Additional entertainment at the festival included harbor cruises, henna tattooing, intricate jewelry demonstrations and of course huge tracts of food vending. A folk fanatic could get everything from Caribbean cuisine to barbecue, falafel to smoothie and everything in between. I had a few glasses of freshly squeezed lemonade and some tofu curry from the same place that sported “curried goat” and I expect it tasted better.

The weekend turned out beautifully, the sun held out and the voices of the performers rang out across the festival, bringing people from all walks of life together in celebration of America and song. I had such a good time there that I have decided to take my friend Chris up on his invitation to attend Falcon Ridge’s Folk Festival in New York State next.