The Savannah Folk Music Society is pleased to outline and update highlights of the 19th Annual Savannah Folk Music Festival, Oct. 10-12. The Festival’s signature event, the Sunday concert from 2-7:30 p.m. on Oct. 12, will be at Grayson Stadium and stars internationally acclaimed folksingers Jesse Winchester and the Carolina Chocolate Drops.
The three-day Festival, presented by the Savannah Folk Music Society and the City of Savannah’s Cultural Affairs Department, Bureau of Leisure Services, is free to the public.
The Festival begins with its traditional “Folkfest in City Market” from 7-11 p.m. on Oct. 10. The Folkfest features a variety of Savannah’s top folk performers making joyful sounds in a number of folk music styles and genre.
The evening also features part one of the “Noteworthy Art” silent auction, the sale of several Gretsch guitars, some signed by celebrities and others transformed into unique art objects by leading Savannah artists.
On Oct. 11, there are three big events. At 9 a.m. is a Sacred Harp Sing at First Primitive Baptist Church, 3212 Bee Rd. This is participatory shape note singing, a living tradition of four-part a capella Americana. This event is conducted by the Savannah Sacred Harp Singers and will conclude at 3 p.m.
At 2 p.m. will be the finals of the “Youth Song Writing Competition.” This is the culmination of a contest between Savannah-Chatham County youth (under 20 years old) for the best original song in the acoustic folk tradition. Winners will divide $1,000 in prizes from event sponsor AMR Music.
The third event on Saturday is the “Old Time Country Dance” from 8-11 p.m. at Notre Dame Academy gymnasium. The dance features music from Charleston, S.C. string band, The Hungry Monks and the assistance of a guest caller. Beginners and contra dance veterans are welcome to have a great time.
The “Concert at Grayson Stadium” features Jesse Winchester, The Corolina Chocolate Drops, Mad Agnes and The Hungry Monks as well as the winner of the Youth Songwriting Competition.
The Oct. 12 concert also includes the second half of the “Noteworthy Art” silent auction. Each of the performers will present two sets, one in an early and one in a later rotation.
Born in Louisiana, raised in Mississippi and Tennessee, Winchester was steeped in Southern gentility, the church and the sounds of R&B, gospel and country music.
After studying philosophy in Germany, he settled in Memphis, but the Vietnam War critic chose to relocate to Montreal rather than be drafted. There he was discovered by The Band’s Robbie Robertson and he released his first album which included the classic “Yankee Lady.”
Perhaps his best known composition is “The Brand New Tennessee Waltz.” Amnesty granted in 1977 enabled Winchester to make appearances in the U.S. and after 30 years in Canada, he settled back in Tennessee. In 2006, Winchester was recognized by ASCA for his career contribution to folk music.
The Carolina Chocolate Drops are a group of young African-American string band musicians who have taken the world of folk music by storm.
Mad Agnes is the inventive trio of Margo Hennebach, Adrienne Jones and Mark Saunders. This Connecticut-based group stirs up elements of classical and folk, crosses singer/songwriter poignancy with street-theater smarts, and infuses it all with courageous harmonies, complex counterpoint and rich storytelling.
The Hungry Monks are centered around the creative talents of Hazel Ketchum and John Holenko.
For more information, call (912) 786-6953 or visit the Web site, www.savannahfolk.org.