Silver anniversary of Anchorage Folk Festival

Grammy-nominated group Della Mae treats the Student Union lunch crowd to a concert Jan. 16. Photo by Dan Duque.

Grammy-nominated group Della Mae treats the Student Union lunch crowd to a concert Jan. 16. Photo by Dan Duque.

The 25th anniversary of the Anchorage Folk Festival has kicked off, and it’s as crowd-pleasing as ever with an array of folk artist performances and a variety of dance and music workshops held on campus and around town.

The Anchorage Folk Festival began 25 years ago due to the success of the Alaska Folk Fest in Juneau. It is volunteer-run and works to support folk arts within the Anchorage area and promote local musicians. The organization has held the two-week Anchorage Folk Festival annually since its inception. The festival features local musicians and guest artists every year.

This year the Anchorage Folk Festival has brought up two guest artist groups who are at the top of the folk genre. Della Mae — 2013 Grammy nominee, Best Bluegrass Album Winner and IBMA 2013 Emerging Artist of the Year — is the biggest folk/bluegrass group appearing. Mr. Sun — folk group consisting of Darol Anger, Karl Doty, Grant Gordy and Joe Walsh, along with guest artist Tony Trischka — are the second guest artists to the Anchorage Folk Festival. Both Della Mae and Mr. Sun will be playing at multiple shows and will be holding workshops with the public.

In addition to the guest artists featured at the Anchorage Folk Festival, local musicians are given the opportunity to play. One such group, the AllGood Family Band — consisting of family members Michael Allwright, his wife Lily Goodman-Allwright and their sons Ry and Ezzy Allwright — has been playing for the Anchorage Folk Festival for years. Ry, who is nine years old, started playing with his parents at the age of five and even wrote one of the band’s songs. Ezzy, five years old, began when he was four.

“It’s a great experience. It’s a lot of fun to play music together and play as a family. It’s a wonderful experience with the kids,” Michael Allwright said.

The five members of Grammy-nominated folk group Della Mae perform for Anchorage crowds Jan. 17 at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium. Photo by Dan Duque.

The five members of Grammy-nominated folk group Della Mae perform for Anchorage crowds Jan. 17 at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium. Photo by Dan Duque.

There are a multitude of workshops and dances in addition to the performances. These include contra dancing, fingerstyle guitar pickin’, hot club jazz guitar basics, juggling, zen of music theory, swing dancing, drum circles, waltzing, improvisation, singing and much, much more.

UAA English major Arlo Davis, with banjo slung around his back and no plan of what he was going to do, came to the Anchorage Folk Festival on Sunday to check it out. Davis ended up at a workshop, which he called a “jam session.”

“I just got there because I followed the sound,” Davis said. “I didn’t know what was going on. It was fun watching strangers play together, have fun together, smile, share and learn from each other.”

For more information about workshops, dances and performances, and a full listing of events visit http://anchoragefolkfestival.org or email folks@anchoragefolkfestival.org. 

 

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