Exclusive: Brooklyn Folk Fest Announces Lineup And Workshop Schedule

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The eighth annual Brooklyn Folk Fest makes its return to Brooklyn Heights on Apr. 8-10, and this year’s edition will feature more than 40 performances from all over the world. Among the highlights will be Syrian vocalist Gaida, blues guitarist Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton, and colorful folk legend Michael Hurley. (Proof of Hurley’s folk credentials: he has a daughter named Wilder Mountain Honey.)

The Brooklyn Folk Fest is predicated not just on artists’ performances, but also on attendee involvement and sociocultural education—folk music, after all, is a populist art form. To that end, veteran activist Mattie Jones will be teaching songs of the Civil Rights Movement, and Gaida and Bulla En El Barrio will attempt to break down American stereotypes of Syria and Colombia, respectively. In addition, last year’s banjo toss, in which competitors see who can throw a banjo furthest into the East River, will return. (You don’t have to throw your own banjo.)

Below, you can check out video highlights of last year’s Brooklyn Folk Fest, including the banjo toss in action. Tickets will be available here starting on Monday, with prices ranging from $20-25 one-day passes and $85 all-weekend passes.

Check out the full festival schedule below:

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 Special Guest! Who will it be?
11:00PM Special Guest! Who will it be?
11:45pm Clifton Hicks – Old time banjo and ballads from Georgia

Saturday Afternoon
12:45pm TBA
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 Gaida – Syrian vocalist with her band, traditional Arabic maqams and more
6:45PM Mick & Evan Kinney- Amazing old time string band from the great state of Georgia


2PM Ukulele workshop
3PM Mississippi Fiddle Tunes workshop
4PM Build Your Own DIY Found Object Instruments with Zeke and Special guest!! Good for kids 6+!
4PM Oldtime Jam Session
5PM Blues guitar workshop
6PM Harmonica Contest!
8PM Skalopy – Jalopy’s own Ska band!
10PM Swing Dance! Featuring music by Jessy Carolina and the Hot Mess

Saturday Evening
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
10pm Jerron “Blindboy” Paxton – Blues, Old Time and Ragtime Music
10:45 Roy Williams & The Human Hands – Gypsy jazz, country and more!
11:30PM Radio Jarocho – Son Jarocho from Veracruz, Mexico

Sunday Afternoon
2:00PM Family Concert
3PM Rayna Gellert and Tim Eriksen: 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
6PM Bulla En El Barrio – Afro-Columbian percussion and vocal band, exploring new and classic Bailes Cantados of Bullerengue

Sunday Evening
7PM 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 Special Guest! Who will it be?!


2PM Shape-note Singing with Tim Eriksen
2:30PM Banjo workshop
3PM Oldtime Jam
4PM Sam Wilson’s puppet show
4PM Oldtime Jam Session
6PM Square Dance! With the Happy Valley Pals