Those who attended last year’s Moab Folk Festival will remember Hubby Jenkins, the winner of the People’s Choice award – an honor that comes with an invitation to return the following year. This year Jenkins will perform at the festival’s two indoor venues – Star Hall on the night of Friday, Nov. 1, and the Grand County High School auditorium the following evening.
If you miss those indoor shows you can still meet Jenkins, however, when he demonstrates his traditional “bones” instruments at a free workshop at Star Hall at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3. Free workshops and artist interviews take place Saturday and Sunday mornings before the Moab Ball Field concerts start at noon.
Free events surrounding the festival has always been a part of the mission of festival founder Melissa Schmaedick, who said she wanted to create “community around music” when she founded the festival in 2003. The nonprofit umbrella organization Friends of the Moab Folk Festival produces the festival each year while also sponsoring a number of outreach events such as music education and assembly concerts for Grand County School District students.
The main music festival, which requires a ticket, features folksinger Judy Collins, who will perform at the ball field Saturday starting at 2:30 p.m. Collins follows singer-songwriter Max Gomez from Taos, New Mexico. Alicia Stockman will kick off the day at noon.
At the ball field on Sunday, Erin Costello, followed by Carrie Rodriguez, perform, with The Accidentals – a young, up and coming trio from Traverse City, Michigan – closing out the weekend.
Indoor performances at Star Hall and the high school will feature, in addition to last year’s People’s Choice winner, Lulu Wiles, Richard Shindell, Martin Sexton, May Erlewine, and Tracy Grammer.
Grammer is particularly happy to be on the road after a knee injury forced her to cancel performances in September and October. The Moab festival kicks off her postponed tour.
“I’ll be singing songs from my most recent album ‘Low Tide’ which came out last year,” Grammer said. “I’ll also be doing legacy songs from my late partner Dave Carter whose songs are so appropriate to the area. He was very mystical; art-centered, a poetic writer, and eco-oriented.”
“For many years I’ve been a legacy keeper,” she said.
Grammer said she eventually realized that fans wanted her to tell her own stories; she was invited to participate in an online songwriting challenge titled “Real Women, Real Songs” and ended up writing 17 songs – all of which appear on “Low Tide.”
The album, comprised of all original material, except for a Kate Bush cover song, reached number two on folkalley.com – “just behind John Prine,” Grammer said.
Following Grammer’s performances at Star Hall and the high school auditorium, her friend and colleague Richard Shindell will perform.
“Who knows, maybe we’ll do a little collaboration,” she said.
The Moab Folk Camp is a sister event, co-founded by musician and former Moab resident Cosy Sheridan, that takes place the week prior to the music festival.
“Professional musicians from around the country teach at the camp,” offering classes in songwriting, beginning guitar, banjo, ukulele, harmony singing, mandolin and more, Sheridan said.
On Tuesday, Oct. 29, all the folk camp instructors will perform a free concert for the community at 7:30 p.m. at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center, 111 E. 100 North. Each musician will perform two songs each. This year’s instructors include Sheridan; Cara Loft who’s performed at prior Moab Folk Festivals; David Roth, whose songs have been covered by Peter, Paul and Mary; Anke Summerhill, and several others.
Another freebie will be led by Sheridan at Star Hall, following Jenkin’s workshop on Sunday morning. She calls it a “conversation with musicians,” each of whom will perform a song or two, she said.
Sheridan said she’s looking forward to hearing Lulu Wiles perform, after first hearing her in Boston, where Sheridan now resides.
“I’m also a big fan of Richard Shindell – and astounding songwriter – and Martin Sexton, who has a voice to die for,” Sheridan said.
For more information, go to www.moabfolkfestival.com.
Moab Folk Festival returns for 17th year
When: Friday, Nov. 1 through Sunday, Nov. 3
Where: Moab Ball Field, Star Hall, and the Grand County High School auditorium
Cost: Various ticket options (Discounted tickets for Moab and Castle Valley residents)