Monday, May 31, 2010

Florida Folk Festival 2010 -- Part 1

Every year on Memorial Day weekend since 1953, Florida Folk artists have gathered on the banks of the Suwanee River in the old town of White Springs. At 58 years, it is the oldest State-sponsored folk festival in the U.S. I have been participating as a performer, either solo or with The Ashley Gang band since 1997.. so this first post on FFF 2010 features photos of the Ashley Gang. Thanks to Cindy Scortino for handling the camera while my hands were full of guitar...


Above: The Ashley Gang on the Old Marble Stage (l-r: Bob on guitar, Michelle on bass and vocal, me, Al on guitar and vocals, Kay on flute, and norm seated on percussion). The Marble Stage was the only stage used for the first few years of the festival and is sacred ground for we Florida songsters. It is the first place I ever performed at FFF 13 years ago as a solo act. We had a full to over-flow audience that sent us amazing waves of energy and appreciation -- and I think we sent that back. One of our best sets ever as a band...


Above and below: 4 of the 6 Ashleys (Kay and norm are there but off camera) at the Ann Thomas Memorial River Gazebo. This is a fully acoustic setting at an old boat landing right on the banks of the Suwanee River, and a place for only Florida music by Florida songwriters. We performed some of mine and some of Al's original tunes for another full house... The concerts at the Gazebo are hosted every year by Florida folk music legend, Frank Thomas (seated behind the band in the photo above). Frank has written hundreds of Florida songs (and has never written a single one down). The Gazebo is now named after late wife and musical partner, Ann.


In addition to our little band of Floridians, there were dozens of others -- old favorites and new up-and-comers over three full days on multiple stages at the Stephen Foster State Park. I'll follow up in a few days with photos and notes of some of my favorites.... For those of you here in the States, Happy Memorial Day -- and please take a moment to remember what this day is all about.

2 comments:

I am a lover of children's literature said...

Rats....I only wish I could have been there. Maybe, someday?

The Vital Muse said...

Every Memorial Day Weekend, Don -- White Springs, Florida -- about 75 miles west of Jacksonville. An easy drive. Trust me.