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Philadelphia Folk Festival Friday Highlights the Variety of Folk Sounds from Around the World
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 08/18/12 7:19 am | updated: 08/18/12 7:23 am
The first full day of activity at the Philadelphia Folk Fest certainly got off on the right foot. Most of the acts scheduled to play both on Main Stage in the afternoon and the Lobby stage in the late morning/early afternoon were locally sourced, Philadelphia based bands. This included the Philadelphia Co-Op Showcase with The Whiskeyhickon Boys, Kala Jojo, Zach Stock on the Lobby Stage. Also playing the Lobby Stage was Philadelphia roots rock band Mason Porter. If you combine them with Rev. TJ McGlinchey and Griz, who both played on the Main Stage, those three acts played Memorial Day weekend for the Sun Drop festival at the The Fire. It was great to see them out on the farm, together again on stage.

Dante Bucci got things started on the Main Stage with his unique stylings using the Handpans, a unique instrument that looks like a reverse steel drum. Karmic Repair Company, Cabinet, and Chris Kasper all put in solid sets during the afternoon. It was a great representation of Philadelphia based folk acts.

There was about an hour break in the action on the main stage, and the skies starting to darken with heavy clouds while everyone grabbed some dinner. Coming back from the break Dennis Hangey played the ceremonial bagpipe opening to the festivities and Gene Shay took his role as MC like he has every year for every festival for 51 years.

Friday's lineup of artists spanned the country and beyond in both their style and influences and showcased many different aspects of folk music. Brother Sun was the first act on stage. The gospel and blues based vocal trio are themselves pulled from different corners of the country, Boston, New York, and Chicago. Moving on from the simple setup of Brother Sun, second to the stage was the 11-piece from Boston – Debo Band. They mix a fusion of American soul and funk, African polyrhythms, and Eastern European brass. Debo Band sounds most like Ethiopian groove/pop. They brought a lot of energy and flavor to the stage Friday Night. Jumping back to the United States, Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three from St. Louis showed us their brand of Americana, a mix of jazz, ragtime, country blues and western. One of the performances I enjoyed the most of the evening came from the next band, Comas. They are straight forward Irish traditional folk, but they do it very well. Comas kept it fairly simple with a guitar, fiddle, flute, and bodhran, although they sometimes swapped other instruments in and out like the pipes. The final band of the night came from Louisiana. The Voices of the Wetlands Allstars bring the best of New Orleans musicians in one supergroup. They played a little blues, some rock, zydeco, and just had a fun time closing out the night.

I did skip one artist, that was tonight's headliner, although she played next to last. That would be Mary Chapin Carpenter. The crowd was building onto the hill in front of the Main Stage all night and it was it's largest for Carpenter. It's hard to argue against them, she is a 5 time Grammy winner, 4 times in a row for Female Country Vocal Performance. She's also kind of local, born and raised in Princeton, NJ. Those dark clouds that were growing over the farm at dinner decided to open up on the crowd right after Comas ended their set and Carpenter's gear was being set up. It didn't bother the crowd too much, they seem to have come prepared with tarps and ponches, ready for the monsoon. Mary played wonderfully and her band sounded great. I wasn't sure if the crowd was going to let her leave the stage.

It was a great first day and Saturday promises to be even better with a tremendous lineup for the Main Stage. We will be broadcasting again starting just before 4pm. Go to to check the broadcast information.

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(3) responses


 by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA | responded: 08/18 7:20 am
Voices of the Wetlands All Stars playing the Main Stage on Friday at the Philadelphia Folk Fest


 by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA | responded: 08/18 7:21 am
Comas plays the Main Stage on Friday at the Philadelphia Folk Fest


 by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA | responded: 08/18 7:23 am
Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three play the Main Stage on Friday at the Philadelphia Folk Fest


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