Celebration of 75 Years of Folkways Records Confirmed, with Artists Past and Present

“Diverse, spontaneous, countercultural, and trenchant… one of the most vital and spiritually sound folk-music events in the country”
–Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker

The Brooklyn Folk Festival, which celebrates its 15th edition this year, will feature one of the best lineups of its tenure, from eighteen-year-old Nora Brown to 92-year-old Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, with special events celebrating Folkways Records’ 75th anniversary and the centennial of Anthony of American Folk Music compiler and visual artist/filmmaker Harry Smith.

WHO: Nora Brown, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, The Fugs, Jake Blount, Dom Flemons, Jake Xerxes Fussell, Alynda Segarra, Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton, Alice Gerrard, and many more
WHAT: The 15th edition of the Brooklyn Folk Festival
WHEN: November 10-12, 2023
WHERE: St. Ann’s Church, 157 Montague St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
TICKETS: https://www.viewcy.com/o/thebrooklynfolkfe
FAN INFO: https://www.brooklynfolkfest.com/

Playlist of artists performing (OK to share)

Some of the highlights among the performers include:

* Alynda Segarra
* Brooklyn’s eighteen-year-old Appalachian-style folk musician Nora Brown, who just taped an NPR Tiny Desk Concert with Stephanie Coleman;
* Two-time GRAMMY Award winner Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, who traveled and performed with Woody Guthrie;
* counterculture pioneers The Fugs, about whom Pitchfork said, “Inspiring… Before there was punk, there were the Fugs: antagonistic, hilarious, and radically political to the bone. They were anarchic beat poets in the East Village who took folk instruments they could sort of play and didn’t give a damn”;
* “Afrofuturist in roots-music garb” (NPR, Ann Powers) Jake Blount;
* “one of the most accomplished American Folk Artists” (MOJO) Dom Flemons;
* The “often-transcendent” (Pitchfork) Jake Xerxes Fussell, who “breathes new life into old, obscure folk songs” (NPR);
* NYC Bluesman Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton, who has graced the cover of the Village Voice and Living Blues Magazine;
* GRAMMY-nominee and International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Distinguished Achievement Award recipient Alice Gerrard;
* string and conjunto band Lone Piñon, traveling from New Mexico to celebrate their upcoming release on Jalopy Records;
* and Hopalong Andrew, performing a set for children and families.

Elliott, Gerrard, Blount, and Flemons are part of the Folkways’ anniversary celebration.

The Brooklyn Folk Fest will also present events celebrating the centennial of visual artist, experimental filmmaker, musicologist, anthropologist and record collector Harry Smith (1923 – 1991), featuring a selection of programs that will consider Smith’s impact in the world of music, film and the visual arts. Programs include an exploration of Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music with various performers recreating Volume Three: Songs in sequence. The Whitney Museum of American Art will open the exhibition Fragments of a Faith Forgotten: The Art of Harry Smith on October 4. (Festival producer Eli Smith produced the acclaimed 2020 box set Harry Smith B-Sides.) More info on the exhibition: https://whitney.org/exhibitions/harry-smith

In partnership with the Harry Smith Archives, the Fest will present “Unseen Treasures from the Archives,” a program of rare and video shorts and audio interviews including excerpts from Smith’s seminal interview with John Cohen for Sing Out! magazine, a video interview with John Cohen and excerpts from a Smith interview with P.A dams Sitney for French TV in the 1970s. A session on the newly published biography “Harry Smith: Cosmic Scholar” will follow with a conversation with author John Szwed and Harry Smith Archives Director, Rani Singh. Other special guests are to be confirmed.

The Brooklyn Folk Festival is presented by the non-profit Jalopy Theatre & School of Music, a grassroots community space that is a music venue, music school, instrument store and record label. By growing the Brooklyn Folk Festival since 2009, the Jalopy has created a substantial and unique community event that brings together thousands of music lovers and hundreds of musicians to celebrate the valuable musical traditions of the world’s peoples.

One of the signature events returns off-campus, the world-famous banjo toss. Hailed by The Associated Press for giving “new meaning to the term heavy metal,” the banjo toss takes place at the Gowanus Canal, a waterway that once served as a major transportation route for Brooklyn’s factories, tanneries and mills. Taking place on November 12 — the final day of the three-day festival, most of which takes place at St. Anne’s Church on Montague Street — the event brings dozens of competitors to the canal’s shoreline, with all participants taking turns throwing a banjo into the murky water. The farthest toss wins a free banjo (not the one thrown into the waterway).

Workshops will also be presented, as well as open jams, encouraging fest-goers to bring their instruments. Food and crafts will be available for sale on site.

In other Jalopy news, upcoming releases on Jalopy Records include Cuatro Vidas by acclaimed New Mexican string band Lone Piñon and Secret Museum of Mankind: Atlas of Instruments – Fiddles, vol. 1 (various artists).

Brooklyn Folk Fest schedule:


Main Stage
7:00pm – The Down Hill Strugglers – opening set honoring John Cohen, the New Lost City Ramblers and Old Time Music on Folkways Records
7:30pm – Sonia Sanchez
8:00pm – Peggy Seeger – Exclusive video performance from her home in England
8:50pm – The Fugs
9:40pm – Charlie Parr
10:30pm – Dom Flemons

Parish Hall
7:30pm – Albanie Falletta
8:30pm – Mamie Minch
9:45pm – Jackson Lynch Band

Saturday Afternoon

Main Stage
12:00pm – Ken Schatz – leads Sea Shanty singing
12:50pm – Kyle Tigges
1:40pm – Harry Smith @ 100
2:30pm – Harry Smith @ 100
3:20pm – Wyndham Baird
4:10pm – Sandy Rogers
5:00pm – The Down Hill Strugglers
5:50pm – Erik Frandsen

Parish Hall
1:45pm – Jalopy Open Mic Showcase
3:00pm – Wolf van Elfmand
4:15pm – Country Dance with The Slide Stops & Sargent Seedo
5:50pm – Samoa Wilson Trio

1:00pm – Record producer Peter K. Siegel in conversation with Eli Smith: “Making Records With Folkways”
2:45pm – Panel discussion with: Jeff Place, Maureen Loughran, Kaia Kater, Hilary Saunders & Jake Blount
The role of Folkways Records in defining American folk music in the 20th and 21st centuries. This panel will focus on the expansive definition of “traditional music” that has defined the label’s ethos since 1948.
4:15pm – Harry Smith @100 – Films screening TBA
5:00pm – John Szwed – “Cosmic Scholar” Harry Smith book reading and Q&A

Saturday Evening

Main Stage
7:00pm – Nora Brown
7:50pm – Jake Blount
8:40pm – Alice Gerrard
9:30pm – Kashiah Hunter & The Sacred Sounds
10:20pm – Jerron ‘Blindboy’ Paxton
11:15pm – Harry Smith @ 100 Film Screening

Parish Hall
7:00pm – Barry Clyde
7:45pm – South Texas Conjunto Dance Workshop with Dan Margolies
8:30pm – Felipe Perez South Texas Polka Dance
9:30pm – Larry & Joe

Sunday Afternoon
*1:00pm – Banjo Toss! Banjo Throwing Contest – The Gowanus Canal

Main Stage
2:00pm – Hopalong Andrew – Music for Children & Families
2:50pm – Fatboy Wilson & Old Viejo Bones
3:40pm – Lone Piñon
4:30pm – Songs of Slavery and Emancipation
5:20pm – Felipe Perez y Sus Polkeros
6:10pm – Ramblin’ Jack Elliott

Parish Hall
2:00pm – Old Time Jam with Stephanie Coleman
3:15pm – Jalopy School of Music Recitals – with teachers Kyle Tigges and Emily Eagen
4:30pm – Jalopy Chorus with Eva Salina
5:15pm – Square Dance – with Megan Downes & The City Stompers

1:00pm – Felipe Perez Conjunto Accordion Workshop

Sunday Evening

Main Stage
7:00pm – Boxcutter Collective – Puppet Procession Performance
7:15pm – Ali Dineen
8:00pm – Feral Foster
8:45pm – Alynda Segarra
9:30pm – Jake Xerxes Fussell

Parish Hall
7:15pm – Katie Martucci
8:30pm – Beareather Reddy Band