As many of you know, this weekend, August 2-4, marks the 25th Anniversary Year of the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, in Hillsdale NY. If you’ve been to Falcon Ridge, you know that, yes, it’s one of the pre-eminent music festivals in the country, and that each year it highlights some of the greatest national, regional, and emerging artists that share space under that big musical tent called contemporary folk music. And if you’re a friend of Common Ground, you know that MANY of the artists who have appeared (or are about to appear) at one or another Common Ground show over the years are also Falcon Ridge veterans. (OK, for the record the list includes Abbie Gardner, Alastair Moock, Amy Speace, Anthony DaCosta, Brother Sun, Carolann Solebello, Chris Smither, Chuck E. Costa, Eliza Gilkyson, Ellis, Ellis Paul, Eric Lee, Fred Gillen, Jr., Gathering Time, Jason Spooner, Jeffrey Foucault, Jim Henry, Jim’s Big Ego, Joe Crookston, John Elliott, Kym Tuvim, Lindsay Mac, Marc Black, Mary Gauthier, Meg Hutchinson, Natalia Zukerman, Nerissa and Katryna Nields, Pat Wictor, Pesky J. Nixon, Radoslav Lorkovic, Randall Williams, Red Molly, Richard Shindell, Spuyten Duyvil, Susan Werner, Terence Martin, The Grand Slambovians, The Boxcar Lilies, The Honeycutters, The Kennedys, The YaYas, Tracy Grammer, Tylan, Vance Gilbert — and I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few!)
If you’ve been to Falcon Ridge more than once, you know it’s got the hardest working and somehow always cheerful volunteers, interprepters and sound crews. You also know that more than just a music festival. It’s a family reunion, it’s free-form hilltop hootenannies, an agnostic gospel tent revival show that embraces all believers — sometimes coating them in mud, but always leaving them counting down the days until next year.
If you attended Falcon Ridge last year, you probably remember The Grand Slambovians debuting their song “The Hills of Falcon Ridge,” written by Joziah Longo just for the occasion. The band has just finished their first recorded version of the song to “spark people up” in advance of the festival. I know the it was truly magical hearing it blanketing the hillside last summer. Listen, enjoy, and I hope to see you in Hillsdale. (Click the Falcon Ridge logo above for full info!)