The 20th anniversary edition of the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival took place last weekend. Unfortunately, I had some personal committments and could only spend 1 day at the event, so I won’t do a full review as it would be unfair based on only the small portion I was able to see.

I can say however, that I had a great time on Saturday and saw several outstanding performances and heard a few new voices that I hope to present on Traditions in the future.

Since Falcon Ridge first began in 1989, the weekend event has become a strong showcase for contemporary singer-songwriters as well as sharing traditional music as a truly living tradition – one in which young artists are sharing the beauty of true “folk songs” in a style that is honest to their lives.

Wandering through the grounds at Falcon Ridge gives you an opportunity to find some real treasures. As I was browing through the wares of some of the extraordinary craftsman that were displaying their work, I stumbled upon the group We’re About 9 entertaining a small crowd. When I walked by, Katie Graybeal and Brian Gundersdorf were sharing songs from the lastest WA9 recording “Paperdust :: Stardust“.

I also came across an impromptu jam session that featured Pat Wictor on his lap guitar. Pat also participated in a wonderful workshop that I visited.

I’ve attended a number of festivals this season. While you often hear people complaining about the aging folk audience. At several festivals I felt like the young kid, but at Falcon Ridge I am one of the older folks. It is really refershing to see the interest in this style of music that is enjoyed by the 20 and 30 somethings. Of course, there were a large contingent of representives from “my generation” in attendance, proving you are never to old to have a good time! Folk music keeps you young!

Speaking of keeping young, Janis Ian hosted a very moving workshop on Saturday afternoon. Janis has just released her long-awaited autobiography titled “Society’s Child”. Rather than read from pages of the book, Janis shared a few stories that held the audience spellbound – not an easy feat for a storyteller at an outdoor festival.
Janis told stories of her early success and the reprecussions she faced as a teenager for writing a song such as “Society’s Child”. She treated the audience to a new song about marriage and the confusion that still unfortunately exists with recognizing same-sex couples around the globe. Another story about dealing with her mother’s struggle and final battle with MS had many people in tears. As with any great folksinger, Janis Ian once again turned the gathering into a community of friends that shared common feelings and found strength through music. She set a great example for being proud of ones accomplisments without allowing the accomplishments to alter a chosen path.

Falcon Ridge has gained a reputation for being an outstanding festival because it accomplishes so much in just a few days. Each year, the farm grounds bears witness to a gathering of friends – old and new, sharing a common love for music. It is a family reunion of sorts, and many people are already counting the days until we gather again.

About Ron Olesko

For over 40 years, Ron has been a radio programmer with WFDU-FM in Teaneck, New Jersey. He created WFDU-FM's TRADITIONS in 1980, a show that he continues to host and produce every Sunday afternoon from 3 to 6pm Eastern Time. He's the president of and booker for the Hurdy Gurdy Folk Music Club in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, and is a regular contributor to Sing Out! as well as the host of the Folk Music Notebook blog on this site. Ron can also be found emceeing concerts and festivals around the NYC/NJ area. A lifelong Mets fan and a rabid soccer geek, Ron is a Red Bull season ticket holder since their inception and will most likely be in his seat when not in the studio.


FALCON RIDGE 2008 — 2 Comments

  1. Thanks Bobby!<BR/><BR/>I’m glad you enjoyed the festival – even with the rain! The music was amazing!<BR/><BR/>Thanks for listening to the show, and congratulations on winning the tickets! <BR/><BR/>I’d also like to thank Anne Saunders and the Folks at Falcon Ridge for the generous ticket giveway! I’m so glad that we were able to send a listener to the event!<BR/><BR/>See you there next year!

  2. I won the 4 day pass w/ camping so once again i say thanks to all concerned &amp; thankful i<BR/>still have enough brain cells left to count to 20(yrs.)<BR/><BR/> Posting on the Falcon forum allowed me to find someone to share the ride &amp; to set up camp with. I knew things would go smoothly when in the 1st five minutes of the trip north &amp; having asked him to bring along some music, he