Albuquerque Folk Festival focuses on togetherness
than a few folks pitch in to put on the annual folk festival.
fact, about 700 volunteers are involved during the course of the
year, said Erika Gerety, director of the Albuquerque Folk
Festival, which takes over Expo New Mexico all day Saturday.
that vibe carries over to the event itself, an interactive
gathering of jam sessions, workshops, storytelling and dancing,
our mission is to get people to participate as much as possible
and get people together as a community," she said.
sense of togetherness extends to the main stage, too.
headlining show by million-selling folk artist Jonathan Edwards
("Sunshine (Go Away Today)," "Shanty"), a "band scramble" will mix
and match musicians from various bands. Pickers and singers toss
their names in a hat, and they are scrambled into bands. Each new
group will have 45 minutes to come up with a name and rehearse two
says the impromptu sessions are popular.
"Sometimes the band-scramble bands are almost more fun and better
than the professional bands," she said. There's something about
the energy. . . . They just sort of cut loose, and sometimes an
incredible sound comes out of that."
herself plays upright bass in several groups, including Hands
Five, which took top honors in the traditional category at the
2005 Santa Fe bluegrass festival; the Cheap Shots, which grabbed
the same prize last year; and Ladyfingers, an all-female ensemble.
Otherwise, she works full time at the University of New Mexico and
coordinates the volunteer army that puts on the folk festival, now
in its ninth year. Gerety said there are 10 board members and 35
managers, and about 120 people will work the grounds Saturday.
then there are about 650 musicians, dancers, presenters and
Visitors will be welcomed at 10 a.m. with performances by belly
dancers, Galician pipes, martial arts dancers and a marimba
ensemble, Gerety said.
other stages featuring ethnic, swing and bluegrass music.
Songwriter showcases and workshops with topics that include throat
singing, stage techniques (with Edwards) and a study of the
dance areas featuring styles such as Hawaiian, Balkan, tango,
African and Middle Eastern.
Storytelling and sing-alongs.
dance parties will take over in the evening: "contra"
call-dancing; swing and country; and African drumming.