The Brooklyn Folk Festival (BFF) is still young but it sure has heart. It launched in 2008, the creation of banjo player and host of the Down Home Radio Show, Eli Smith, with the intent of promoting up-and-coming folk musicians. Teaming up with the roots-focused Jalopy Theater, Smith created a music festival suited for all things folk, showcasing new musicians and old musicians while offering family-friendly activities and workshops. In its eighth year, the Brooklyn Folk Festival will begin this year on Friday, April 8th through Sunday, April 10th, featuring 30 bands, four instrumental workshops, crafts, and contests.
This year, the BFF will include performances by legendary folk musician Michael Hurley, old-time fiddler Rayna Gellert, two members from psychedelic-rock band The Fugs, and plenty more. The festival is folk-centric, of course, but will cover beloved genres like Americana, Mexican folk, blues, gospel, and jazz. While waiting around for some more music, attendees can engage in activities like singalongs, swing dances, and a banjo workshop. For three days, the Brooklyn Folk Festival is a family-friendly event with great music, food, and fun. See the full line-up below and get your tickets here:
Friday Evening Concerts
8:00PM Meredith Axelrod – Blues, Ragtime and Country music
8:45PM The Four o’clock Flowers – Blues, Folk, Gospel and early Jazz
9:30PM Michael Hurley – Legendary folk musician, needs no introduction!
10:15PM Frank Fairfield and Tom Marion – American and Italian string music and songs!
11:00PM Extra Special Guest!!! Who will it be?
11:45PM Clifton Hicks– Old time banjo and ballads from Georgia!
Saturday Afternoon Concerts
12:45PM Old Scratch Sallies – String band blues and rags from Tennessee to the Tex-Mex boarder. Comin’ all the way from New Orleans, LA!
1:30PM Brotherhood of the Jug Band Blues – Jug band music, original and traditional
2:15PM Happy Valley Pals – Oldtime string band from Durham, NC
3:00PM Willy Gantrim – Blues, Folk, Country and original songs
3:45PM Rafe & Clelia Stefanini – Fiddle and banjo music
4:30PM Rayna Gellert (of Uncle Earl) – Old time songs and tunes, original songs
5:15PM Piedmont Bluz – Country Blues guitar, harmonica, washboard
6:00PM Mick & Evan Kinney- Amazing old time string band from the great state of Georgia!
6:45PM Gaida– Syrian vocalist with her band, traditional Arabic maqams and more
Saturday Evening Concerts
7:45PM Ed Sanders & Steve Taylor (of the Fugs) – Songs and poems with music
8:30PM Feral Foster – Original and Folk songs
9:15PM Spirit Family Reunion – Original and Folk songs
10:00PM Jerron “Blindboy” Paxton – Blues, Old Time and Ragtime Music
10:45PM Roy Williams & The Human Hands – Gypsy jazz, country and more!
11:30PM Radio Jarocho – Son Jarocho from Veracruz, Mexico
WORKSHOPS AND ACTIVITIES:
3:00PM New Topical Songs performance (Songs from the News!)
4:00PM Oldtime Jam Session
5:00PM Lariat Tricks and Cowboy Songs with Cowboy Ernie Sites!
6:00PM Harmonica Contest!!!
7:00PM Old Scratch Sallies – String band blues and rags from Tennessee to the Tex-Mex border. Comin’ all the way from New Orleans, LA!
8:00PM Skalopy – Jalopy’s own Ska band!
10:00PM Swing Dance!! Featuring music by Jessy Carolina and the Holy Crow Jazz Band!
2:00PM Ukulele workshop
3:00PM Mississippi Fiddle Tunes workshop
4:00PM Film: Mountain Music of Peru plus Q&A with filmmaker John Cohen!
5:00PM Blues guitar workshop
6:00PM Film: The Beauty of Barbara Allen – An exploration of the old time music and ballads in North Carolina. Q & A with film maker Jack Anthony
Sunday Afternoon Concerts
2:00PM Family Sing A-Long with Emily Eagan – All-ages sing-a-long. Grown-ups who love to sing can come together and harmonize, while kids learn songs and sing along. Families leave with songs they can keep singing together!
3:00PM Rayna Gellert, Tim Eriksen and Elizabeth Mitchell: Songs for Sonya- Old-Time Ballads in honor of Sonya Cohen Cramer
3:45PM Freedom Songs of the Civil Rights Movement with activist and singer Mattie Jones
4:30PM Dubl Handi – Oldtime banjo and folk songs
5:15PM Down Hill Strugglers with John Cohen (of the New Lost City Ramblers) – Oldtime string band
6:00PM Bulla En El Barrio – Afro-Columbian percussion and vocal band, exploring new and classic Bailes Cantados of Bullerengue
Sunday Evening Concerts
7:00PM Wyndham Baird – Folk, Blues and Country songs with guitar, piano and harmonica
7:45PM East River String Band – Country Blues and Oldtime music
8:30PM Abay Mengiste – Ethiopian krar (lyre, like King David’s harp from the Bible) music
9:15PM The Whiskey Spitters – Jugband, Ragtime, Oldtime, the Jalopy house band!
9:45PM Extra Special Guest!! Who will it be?!
WORKSHOPS AND ACTIVITIES:
1:00PM BANJO TOSS COMPETITION!!! – MEET AT SMITH AND 9TH ST TO PROCEED TO BANJO TOSSING ARENA!!!
2:00PM Shape-note Singing with Tim Eriksen
3:00PM Oldtime Jam with Hilary Hawke
4:00PM Sam Wilson’s puppet show!
6:00PM Square Dance!! With the Happy Valley Pals (from Durham, NC)! and David Harvey of NYC Barn Dance calling!
2:00PM Old Time Banjo workshop
4:30PM Build Your Own DIY Found Object Instruments with Zeke and Special guest!! Good for kids 6+!