National Folk Festival, July 2009, in Butte,
Free Admission


The 71st National Folk Festival takes place in Butte next month, July 10-12. Billed as "a Great American Festival set in the Great American
West," the festival promises traditional music, food, crafts, culture, lots of fun, and free admission. One of the nation's largest and most prestigious celebrations of the arts, the festival has taken up residence in Butte until 2010. First presented in 1934, the National is the oldest multicultural festival in the nation. The National Council for the Traditional Arts, the organization that has produced the National Folk Festival since its creation, recognized Butte's and Montana's unique natural resources, cultural assets, and strong community spirit in its decision to come
to Big Sky country.

The National Folk Festival is a large-scale three-day outdoor event that celebrates the roots, richness, and variety of American culture.
The festival features "a jubilant and dizzying program," according to a press release, that includes music and dance performances,
participatory dancing, workshops, children's activities, regional and ethnic foods, storytelling, parades, craft exhibits and
demonstrations.

Butte, Montana has been slated as the host city for the 70th through 72nd National Folk Festivals, 2008-2010. The National Folk Festival kicked off a three-year run in Montana on July 11-13, 2008. In the first year of the festival in Montana, the event was attended by an estimated 75,000 attendees, a number expected to nearly double in 2009. The economic impact of these numbers in the Southwest Montana trade area is estimated at about $8 million dollars based on an on-site survey conducted by the Montana Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research.

Music and dance traditions from every part of the nation will be on display, performed by accomplished traditional artists. Audiences
will be treated to authentic blues, gospel, polka, cowboy, bluegrass, Cajun, rhythm and blues, mariachi, western swing, zydeco and more.
Continuous perform-ances on seven stages celebrate Native American, Celtic, Acadian, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, East Asian, Appalachian, Hispanic, Eastern European, Afri-can and Pacific Island cultures.

Folk arts are those deeply held grassroots cultural expressions-music, dance, crafts, stories and food-passed down through time by families, communities, tribal, ethnic and
occupational groups. The festival's programming embraces the heritage
and traditions of all Americans-from those whose families have been here for centuries to those of our country's most recent immigrants.
Legendary masters as well as the next generation of dynamic young artists celebrate the musical soul and cultural roots of America.

Each National Folk Festival host city celebrates its own regional traditions and heritage. Folklife demonstrations and exhibits feature Montana's finest craftspeople and other tradition-bearers, and explore subjects such as saddle making, blacksmithing, cowboy poetry, quilting, instrument making, woodcarving, needlework, and American Indian beadwork.

Chinese dragon and lion dancers, New Orleans brass bands and a host of other traditional street and celebratory activities are also part of the festival's mix. Special attention will be given to providing engaging and educational performances and hands-on activities for children and youth, sharing
the richness and diversity of many cultures. The festival's artistic diversity will be complemented by a variety of ethnic and regional foods for sale throughout the festival site.

Performers at the this year's festival include, Bob French's Original Tuxedo Jazz Band (New Orleans Jazz), Bill Kirchen & The Hammer of the Honky-Tonk Gods with George Bedard, Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano, Garry Harrison & The New Mules (Telecaster guitar), Melody of China, North Bear (a Northern Plains drum group), Texas Shorty (Texas fiddle), Magic Slim & The Teardrops (Chicago Blues), Wilho Saari (Finnish kantele), Sierra Hull & Highway 111 (Bluegrass), Thomas Mapfumo & The Blacks Unlimited (Zimbabwean Chimurenga), Ethel Caffie-Austin Singers (Gospel), Chuck & Albert (Acadian) Garry Harrison & The New Mules, (Illinois old-time), BeauSoliel avec
Michael Doucet (Cajun), Pride of New York (Irish), Jeff Little Trio w/ Wayne Henderson (Blue Ridge piano & guitar), Massive Monkees
(Breakdance), Los Macondos (Colombian vallenato), Otrov (Tamburitza).
 

 

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