Veteran singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn is returning to the Moab Folk Festival for a performance at the Center Street Ball Field on Saturday, Nov. 7. [Courtesy photo]

When Melissa Schmaedick and a group of friends and musicians began planning Moab’s first folk festival 13 years ago, the group came up with a “wish list” of artists they wanted to see perform.

“We still have that original list,” said Schmaedick, founder and producer of the Moab Folk Festival. “When I came to Moab, I came with the idea I wanted to create some kind of celebration of music; a celebration of community. The festival creates spontaneous community. It’s a pretty cool thing that happens – it’s what I love about festivals.”

Each year, the board of directors of the nonprofit music festival use that original list to find headliners. This year’s lineup includes four of the artists on that original “wish list”– Bruce Cockburn, Ray Wiley Hubbard, Jonatha Brooke and Dar Williams – all singer-songwriters.

During a recent interview on National Public Radio, Williams, who lives in a small town outside of New York City, said Moab is at the top of the list of towns where she wanted to perform. In fact, she plans to stay a few extra days because she plans to include Moab in a book she is writing about beautiful community collaborations.

“Wayfaring Minstrels Guide to Urban Planning” is one possible title of the book about communities doing interesting things to bring people together – even when there is a diversity of religious and political views, Williams said.

“I invite people to talk to me about what they love about Moab,” Williams said. “To me, Moab has such an incredible feel, and spirit.”

In addition to writing songs and books, and being a touring musician, Williams also teaches a college course about how different groups use music to build their social movements.

“I’ve concluded that music is the best way to build a social movement,” she said. In fact, it’s essential. It’s the glue, the energy source, to keep a social movement (such as the Civil Rights movement) going.”

Williams will close out the festival Sunday, with a performance starting at 3 p.m. at the Center Street Ball Field.

Grammy-nominated John Fullbright is returning to perform an unprecedented third time as winner of the People’s Choice award twice at the Moab Folk Festival.

“John Fullbright won by a landslide both years in a row – so we couldn’t pass him up,” Schmaedick said.

Also performing throughout the weekend are 3hattrio, Mary Gauthier, 10 String Orchestra, The Small Glories, Anne McCue and Andrew Duhon. Some will take the stage at the ball field, while other artists will play at the indoor venues during the evenings.

Food will be for sale at the ballpark, including salads and organic burgers from Jimmy’s Table, a variety of quesadillas from Quesadilla Mobilla and wood-fired pizzas created by Sweet Water Gypsies. No outside food is allowed in.

Rocky Mountain Power, a sponsor, is offsetting all of the festival’s energy consumption with the purchase of an equal amount of wind shares. Food scraps will be composted at a local farm.

Ecoproducts, of Boulder, Colorado, is donating all the compostable food containers and utensils on condition none will end up in the landfill. Instead, students at Utah State University in Logan, will compost the materials.

“The seed for this project was planted when Bruce Cockburn came the first time in 2007, when he said in his contract, he would not tolerate Styrofoam,” Schmaedick said. “We have been on a mission since then (to operate sustainably) … So this year, it is serendipitous that we have pulled off this composting for the return of Bruce Cockburn.

The Moab Folk Camp will offer songwriting, beginning guitar, intermediate guitar, claw hammer banjo, harmony singing, ukulele, school of rock for folkies, stagecraft and outdoor art, starting on Sunday, Nov. 1, and concluding on Friday, Nov. 6. To register, contact Cosy at

At Star Hall on Saturday and Sunday mornings, there will be on-stage interviews of Hubbard, Brooke, and Gauthier, with time for questions from the audience. The interviews are free, and open to the public.

“It’s a clever way to get more intimate with the performers,” Schmaedick said.

Four musicians from original “wish list” to perform at Moab Folk Festival Nov. 6-8 event

“When I came to Moab, I came with the idea I wanted to create some kind of celebration of music; a celebration of community. The festival creates spontaneous community. It’s a pretty cool thing that happens – it’s what I love about festivals.”

When: Friday, Nov. 6, through Sunday, Nov. 8

Where: Star Hall, Grand County High School and the Center Street Ball Field

Cost: Various ticket packages available

Visit to see the schedule, and for more information. Tickets are available online, and by phone: 435-259-3198; or in person at the venue at the time of the show. Tickets can also be purchased at Canyonlands Copy Center at 375 S. Main St., or Back of Beyond Bookstore, 83 N. Main St.