The White River Folk Festival at Conner Prairie is not only an opportunity to hear a buffet of folk music; it’s a chance for all ages to participate with many of the musicians in various workshops.
Indiana will have musical representation from the likes of Bittersweet and Briars, Culchies, Samsell, Tull Glazener, Jennie DeVoe, Ann McWilliams, Hog Eye Navvy and Joan Hamilton. Here is a look at some of the other artists and events scheduled for WRFF weekend.
The Michigan-based Blue Water Ramblers features four vocalists, mandolin and fiddle and songs of love, protest, farmers, sailors and lumberjacks. Their latest album, Mason Street Session, was recorded (where else?) on Mason Street in the heart of Grand Rapids, Mich.
Keith Collins is Conner Prairie’s interpretive specialist for music and his musical studies span the globe and different eras. He plays Gaelic harp, gourd banjo and the Appalachian dulcimer for traditional music. He also knows tunes on Classical, Baroque and Renaissance woodwind instruments.
Chicago-based Eric Noden mixes his own original blues with traditional covers of songs by the Rev. Gary Davis, Jim Brewer and Big Bill Broonzy. He’s even known to throw in a ragtime instrumental or two. Keeping it in the Noden family, his father played guitar and grandfather was a folk and country singer. Check out his album 55 Highway and look for a new album coming soon from Diving Duck Records.
Tim Eriksen started out playing punk before switching musical gears to singer-songwriter territory. Playing the guitar, fiddle, banjo and vina, his work can be heard on the soundtracks to the films Cold Mountain and the Coen Brothers’ remake of The Ladykillers.
Deidre Flint taught elementary school before going on the road and recording her albums Shuffleboard Queens and Then Again. She’ll be performing with Girls Gone Funny and any coincidence between them and the female exploitation video series is just that, a coincidence.
Glen Road is a traditional Irish trio, but their Canadian-recorded album Round The Bend mixes folk music from Ireland, Newfoundland and the U.S.
The lady who’s said to have launched the dulcimer revival thanks to her career is Jean Ritchie, and she’ll be performing twice at the festival, once Saturday and once Sunday.
Other weekend activities include numerous music workshops and jam sessions. Players of all ages and skills are encouraged to bring their own acoustic instruments to the acoustic jam as well as jams devoted to the fiddle (two separate events, one Irish fiddle), Irish flute, percussion, dulcimer, tin whistle and slide guitar. You can also participate in a gospel family sing-along, shape note singing, introduction to contra dancing and a workshop on songwriting.
There’s also various craft-making events and storytelling. Kids can have their own sing-along, kazoo jam (watch out, Tampa Red) and jug band jam, and learn how to make a kaleidoscope.
For more info, contact Conner Prairie at 800-966-1836 or check out www.whiteriverfolkfestival.org.