Hundreds of folk & bluegrass music lovers are expected to gather at the New City Volunteer Ambulance Corps (200 Congers Road, New City, New York) on Sunday afternoon, August 26, 2012 for the third annual picnic, singing party, and jam hosted by the Borderline Folk Music Club of Rockland County and co-sponsored by AcousticMusicScene.com. The free event, for which people are expected to bring a cold potluck dish for six, is set for 12-6 p.m. in the outdoor grassy area adjacent to the parking lot.
Since the fury and wrath of Tropical Storm Irene prompted the cancellation of last year’s event, invited special guest Si Kahn has again agreed to assume the same role this year. Kahn is a world-renowned folksinger, songwriter, author, and community activist. A resident of Charlotte, NC, he has recorded 16 albums in both the folk and bluegrass genres and is the author of four books and three musical plays. His latest album, Courage, was the most played album on folk radio in 2010, according to the Folk-DJ listserv. However, he is perhaps better known for his role as an activist in support of organized labor, immigrants, women’s rights, peace, prison reform, and other social justice issues.
As part of the day’s program, which includes a number of participating musicians each of whom will perform one song written by Si Kahn along with their own material, Kahn will perform a 30-minute solo set and, with four other artists, will conduct an hour-long musical workshop focusing on the influence of folk music on immigration and labor. He will also lead a sing-along at the conclusion of the day.“Every time I listen to another artist performing one of the songs I’ve written over these past 35 years, I learn something new about the song and about myself as a songwriter,” says Kahn. “But I have never before been at a concert where 20 respected musicians and musical groups will each be singing at least one of my original songs. I know that every one of them will interpret the song(s) of mine they’ve chosen to perform in creative, powerful ways, making them their own as well as mine.”
Kahn continues: “I am so much looking forward to sitting in the audience at the Borderline Picnic, and to hearing my lyrics and music come back to me in fresh, original ways. I am deeply grateful to the Borderline Folk Club, and to the many wonderful musicians who will be singing my songs, for honoring me in the best way any artist can be honored: by their peers.”
Among the other artists who will be participating in the day’s musical festivities are Arlon Bennett, Bob Conroy, David Goldman, Great Blue (Steve Kaplan and Shirl Lawrence), Robin Greenstein, Loretta Hagen, Josh Joffen, Terry Kitchen, Mara Levine, Backroad Joe MacKay, Mark Miklos, Ann Price, Risky Business Bluegrass Band, Elaine Romanelli, Dan Schatz, Michael Scolnick, Maggie Seligman, and Steve Suffet.
AcousticMusicScene.com’s Michael Kornfeld, who also serves as president of the Folk Music Society of Huntington and vice president of the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA) board of directors, joins Diane Crowe, host of “Music of the People” (which airs Tuesdays from 4-6 p.m. on WMCB 107.9 LPFM in Greenfield, MA) and coordinator of the People’s Music Network; Barbara and Graham Dean, folksingers and hosts of “Common Sense Songs (which airs Wednesdays from 8-10 p.m. on WBCR-LPFM in Great Barrington, MA); and Bill Hahn, co-host of the weekly folk music program “Traditions” (which is broadcast Sunday afternoons on WFDU-FM, 89.1 in Teaneck, NJ), in emceeing the event.
Aside from the pre-selected artists performing their own songs and those of Si Kahn at the main stage, there will be opportunities for people of all skill levels to participate in a jam and song circle led by banjo virtuoso Roger Sprung.
“This is the one day a year that we at The Borderline give back to the community that supports us as a non-profit, all year round,” says Sol Zeller, president of The Borderline Folk Music Club and the event’s chair. “What better way is there to thank the good people of Rockland than by giving them a free afternoon of non-stop music with top- quality performers. The fact that a great personality like Si Kahn will be with us only makes this picnic so much better.”
Mara Levine, a folksinger and Borderline member, who is program director for the event, echoes Zeller’s sentiments. “Si is highly regarded in the folk community for his work and his music, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to play a role in an all-day festival in his honor.”Although The Borderline Folk Club hosts the Picnic, the Folk Music Society of Huntington (NY) and the Folk Music Society of New York (aka Pinewoods Folk Music Club) are co-sponsoring and assisting with the event, along with AcousticMusicScene.com “We are all members of the folk music community at large, and we all help each other out when and where needed,” says Zeller. “It is a system of mutual aid just like you find among the various volunteer ambulance corps and fire departments because we all share the same goals.”
People who plan to attend should bring lawn chairs and a cold potluck dish to share with six other people. Soft drinks, paper goods and plastic ware will be provided. No alcohol will be served or permitted on the premises. Plenty of free parking is available both on-site and at the school parking lot across the street.
Although this is a free event, Zeller requests that people make reservations in advance by sending an email to solz1 [at] optonline.net or calling (845)354-4586. Additional information is available online at www.borderlinefolkmusicclub.org.