House of Folk—My dictionary claims that “folk” means “of, originating among, or having to do with the common people.” Sounds kind of Marxist, doesn't it? For the organizers of this weekend's Albuquerque Folk Festival, however, “folk” has precious little to do with hairy ol' Uncle Karl. “Folk” is more a creative ethic, a DIY attitude that involves plenty of public participation. The festival isn't just about showing up and listening to a bunch of music or looking at art created by other people. It's about learning how to make your own damn music and art, while interacting with others of like mind.
The couple times I've sampled the festival, I've genuinely enjoyed myself. It provides for a relaxed, noncommercial atmosphere with a mild, socially conscious bent. If you're an acoustic picker, the Folk Festival presents an ideal opportunity to haul out your instrument and jam with a bunch of total strangers. Trust me, there's no better way to crisp your chops than to sit around in a circle on the grass and try to make a tune sing with people you've never played with before. Even better, if you get tired of lugging around that fat stand-up bass, you can check it at the instrument check room, which is free from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
There will also be tons of instrument workshops, where you can learn everything from bowing the Irish fiddle to blowing the tin whistle. There'll be a slew of dance workshops, too, featuring hula, tango, two-stepping and everything in between. And if you're into passive entertainment, the main stage will feature live performances throughout the day. This year's festival also includes interactive demonstrations of various folk arts and crafts, including quilting, lace making, sewing, crocheting, weaving, spinning, beading and wood-carving.
The Albuquerque Folk Festival occurs Saturday, June 17, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. at Expo New Mexico. Advance tickets are $10 with vendors listed at www.abqfolkfest.org. Day-of-festival-tickets are $15 general, $5 seniors, $3 kids under 12. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.