The 50th Annual Philadelphia Folk Fest is coming up soon and its going to be a great one, with such enticing headliners as Levon Helm, Dave Bromberg, Tom Rush and many many more.
As a veteran of both the Philadelphia Folk Fest and Woodstock, the Folk Fest comes in first by any comparison because its so much better organized.
The best part is after the stage shows are over and you sit around a campfire singing songs and jamming with new friends and old alike.
The primary Master of Ceremonies Gene Shay has a popular Sunday night radio show on WXPN 88.5 in which he plays some classic tunes and usually has on a guest who performs some acoustic stuff live. Shay's show has been on for the half century mark too, with my favorite program being the time he had Jim Croce on and he made Kipling's poem to Gunga Dinn a neat rhyming ballad.
WXPN used to feature a Sunday night radio show by a guy named Meatball Fulton, who I would like to learn what ever happened to - and introduced a lot of people to Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa. On the same night over at WMMR, Dave Herman began playing entire albums, I think they called it AOR - Album Oriented Rock in order to get it past the program managers, who preferred beautiful music.
In any case, it was during one of these radical Sunday night radio shows when one of them played "The Weight" by the Band, which just blew me away and tugged at me to get into the music.
I've heard and read a lot about the biblical and philosophical interpretations of this song, but then it all really made sense when Robbie Robertson explained that the part about "pulling into Nazareth" isn't the Nazareth in the Middle East where Christ used to hang out, but Nazareth, Pennsylvania, where the Martin guitar factory is located and where they once visited. It was probably on a day trip from Somers Point, NJ in the summer of '65 whe the Band played as Levon and the Hawks.
Now Levon's returning as a headliner with a new band.
In the photos below the first is a Jersey Shore contingent of campers - Bob Lang and Dorry Dude are two.
The old man is playing a pair of bones - spare rib bones.
Then there is one of a Martin Guitar Workshop, and I imagine the company is still one of the sponsors of the festival.
As a word of explanation, these are black and white photos because it wasn't that log ago, I guess it was the 70s and 80s when newspapers still only published black & white photos, and I sometimes did my own developing, printing and enlarging.
I'll be writing a preview of this years festival so stay tuned. - BK