Music / Music festivals

Folks ’16: A festival built for those of us who love to listen to the words


(8/12/16)   As a writer, this is my favorite musical event of the year.  The Folks Festival is a great gathering of like-minded people who really care about lyrics, the beauty of words and the human voice and the power of words to address the human connection, to make us feel something.

As a writer, I get to apply jumper-cables to my own wordworking by listening to Lucinda Williams, Darrell Scott, Mavis Staples and The Decemberists tell stories. I also look forward to hearing someone on the lineup below that I’ve never heard before make their way into my consciousness.



Rocky Mountain Folks Festival

Aug. 19–21, Lyons

Why it’s cool: This is an audience that actually listens to lyrics

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FLASHBACK TO 2010: “When 11-year-old Marc Cohn first heard the songs he covers on his new CD, songwriter Tift Merritt hadn’t even been born. Yet both reach back into the ’70s for songs they’ll perform at next weekend’s 20th Annual Folks Festival in Lyons. I would sit in this glass booth at the record store in the early ’70s and listen to whole new worlds,” Cohn said in a recent phone interview. He’s a staunch defender of 1970s music, dismissed by many as just soft rock and disco dreck.

… “The first time Marc Cohn played at the Folks Festival in 1992 it took place in an open field in Estes Park. Heavy rain and lightning prompted the organizers to cancel the remainder of the music including Cohn’s set which was rescheduled until the next day. But the soggy audience was more than a bit miffed. So Cohn volunteered to go out by himself and play a little number, “Walking in Memphis,” and then a couple more tunes.

“I remember it as a great day. I would have kept playing forever,” Cohn said of his first appearance at that second Folks Festival which also featured Leftover Salmon, Wind Machine, Maura O’Connell and Nanci Griffith.”

Gallery: Jackson Brown and others

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