June 18, 2024
Joyful Bodhran Players

The two-day S.F. Free Folk Festival, taking place this weekend and now in its 37th year, boasts a full program of workshops, dance lessons, jams and performances.  And yes, “free” does refer to the price, and “folk,” in this context, spans a wide range of music.

A sample from the workshops’ program includes practical skills like music career building, running a picking party, and harmonizing for duos.  There are also less practical, though appealing, workshops like yodeling (and who doesn’t need this?), an introduction to the bodhran (see pic), and ukulele workshops (since June is also Ukulele Acceptance and Tolerance Month).

Bloodless Transylvanian Dancing
Transylvanian Attire Optional

The dance lessons include swing, waltz, contra, and a number of ethnic dances including Hungarian/Transylvanian dancing during which, the producers assure us, no blood will be drawn.  There is also a lesson on dancing for “universal peace,” and wouldn’t it be nice if that achieves its objective.

Six music stages will offer everything from a kids’ open mike, to bluegrass (The Creak), to country rockers (77 el Deora).  The more adventuresome will find on-stage exotica like Kuchipudi, a form of Indian dancing that belies its amusingly suggestive name.  Bands with Hicks with Sticks connections include The Bolos (a downsized version of Lost Weekend), Jeanie & Chuck (a downsized version of Jeanie and Chuck’s Country Roundup) and Misisipi Mike solo.  Whiskey and Women is an Americana trio that includes former Whoreshoes fiddler Joanie Reuter and Renee de la Prada whose “Nerd Love,” a song about using one’s brains to win a girl’s heart, has been a hit on HWS radio.

Find the first of the SFFFF’s four-page schedule, with ample reasons for going to its Presidio Middle school venue, here.

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