36th Annual Old Songs Festival to be held June 24-26

& WFDU-FM’s TRADITIONS Playlist for June 19, 2016

This coming weekend’s forecast calls for sunny skies in Albany, New York area.  I take that as a good omen as the 2016 Old Songs Festival will be taking place just outside of the capital city at the Altamont Fairgrounds in Altamont, New York.

Old Songs Festival Altamont, NY

Old Songs Festival
Altamont, NY

Readers of my blog and listeners to my radio show know how much the Old Songs Festival means to me. It is my annual booster shot for traditional music as it reminds me of everything I love about the living traditions of folk music. While the music and dance has deep roots in the traditions, the festival also celebrates new harvests of song and dance the spring forth from the folk community.

This year marks the 36th annual Old Songs Folk Festival­ of Traditional Music and Dance. For three days (June 25-26), the Altamont Fairgrounds on Route 146 in Altamont will be the site for a gathering of like-minded friends and fans who will share acoustic music, including folk, blues, world, old-time and Celtic music. It is a multi-generational affair with ample mixes of jam sessions and dances in addition to the performances and workshops.

There are three main stage concerts that are held on a main stage nestled in a grove of trees that make for a comfortable setting. The main stage concerts take place Friday at 6:30 pm, Saturday at 6:30 pm and Sunday at 3:30 pm. During the daytime hours, there are over 100 performances, dances and interactive workshops on eight stages around the grounds. The festival also features an interactive area for children, a vendor area featuring artisans of various craft, and a diverse selection of food as well. The festival makes use of the farm and barn museums and outbuildings that dot the site.

Old Songs is known for gathering together performers representing many musical styles, regions and countries. This year’s performers include Robin & Linda Williams, Phil Wiggins Tidewater Trio, Jeremy Kittel Band, Kim & Reggie Harris, Matthew Byrne (Newfoundland), Cassie & Maggie MacDonald (Nova Scotia), Claudia Schmidt, Sally Rogers & Howard Bursen, Charm City Junction, Anne Hills, Joe Jencks, Low Lily, Barrule (Isle of Man), The Waxwing Four, Andy Cohen, Brian Conway & John Walsh, The Canal Street String Band, Moonshine Holler, Annie & the Hedonists, Ustad Shafaat Khan (India), Nanne & Ankie (The Netherlands), Mitzie Collins & the Striking Strings, and more.

There will also be a number of contra dances with The Gaslight Tinkers, Pete’s Posse, and Old World Charm School, and with callers Steve Zakon-Anderson and Susan Kevra.

Camping is available for all 3 days with an all-festival camping ticket. Tickets may be purchased online at festival.oldsongs.org, by phone at 518-765-2815 or at the festival gate.

My show this past Sunday included a preview of some of the artists who will be appearing. I will share my full report on the fest next week.

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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.

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