Saturday May 1st is the Annual Brown University Folk Fest featuring a full day of local Folk and Americana to help ring in the spring! Beginning at 11am an army of local folkies will be taking to the stage on Lincoln Field including but not limited to Stephen Higa, Detroit Rebellion, Marjorie Thompson, Daniel Chase, Lily Mae & Margerie, Ben Pilgrim, Kayla Ringelheim, Fishing with Finnegan, The Sean Kennedy Band, Pawtucket Mudd, Tallahassee and Last Good Tooth.
Perhaps its mere coincidence that the Brown Folk Fest occurs on May Day, or International Worker’s Day but the liberal hippie in me couldn’t help but note the underlying theme of class struggle, counter culture, and anti-war carried throughout the history of the Folk Movement. From early days of recorded folk such as Woody Guthrie’ “This Land is Your Land”, Pete Seeger’s “Solidarity Forever”, and Tom Paxton’s bitingly sarcastic “What Did You Learn in School Today?” continued through the sixties in masterpieces like Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War” Donovan’s “Ballad of a Crystal Man” and Buffy St. Marie’s “Universal Soldier” through more modern folk like Mason Jenning’s “United States Global Empire”, Devendra Banhart’s “Heard Somebody Say”, and Barefoot Truth’s “Walk Softly” the genre has given voice to the most pressing issues of the time.
So as you bob and sway to the music this weekend, keep in mind that pioneers like Pete Seeger went toe to toe with the House Un-American Committee to defend Folk, and freedom of speech in general, and as you enjoy the Saturday off of work (well at least most of us) you can thank the Labor Movement in the beginning portions of last century, for the right to a couple days off of labor. As you recall that it is the toil of our minds and muscles that keep this country moving forward, wear your red and green and show your support for the roots of American Folk!