Folk Fest Turns 25! – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Folk Fest Turns 25!

April 26, 2000 Geneva, NY – The 25th Annual Folk Fest will be held on the Quad on the Hobart and William Smith Colleges campus from Friday, May 19 through Sunday, May 21. Celebrating 25 years of providing the region with traditional and increasingly innovative folk and ethnic music, dance, food, and crafts, Folk Fest will offer even more music and more great food this year, in celebration of its anniversary. The festivities are free and open to the public.

This year's Fest will feature nearly 25 professional groups as well as student and faculty and staff performances. Among the highlights this year: Bill Harley, dubbed “the Mark Twain of contemporary children's music” by Entertainment Weekly; and Charlie Hunter, an irrepressible contemporary jazz notable. (See below for more information about the performers.)

Along with music performances, a food and crafts fair will encircle the Quad with more than 50 vendors showing homemade international items including clothing, jewelry, pottery, candles, and glass blowers, as well as more than a dozen food tents, with local merchants offering everything from gyros and falafels to pizza and Hawaiian ice.

There will also be a Children's Fest, including such activities as magic shows, pony rides, a petting zoo, face painting, children's music, storytelling, and clowns.

Folk Fest organizer Moss Cail, a Hobart senior, promises that this Folk Fest will offer one of the most talented and diverse array of performers ever. “Folk Fest is not only providing a previously unmatched line-up of exquisitly skilled and stellar musicians, but also offers a larger and more diverse range of craft and food vendors than any year previous, as well as an incredible number of children's activities and performances,” he added.

The Folk Festival is a non-profit, student-run, free festival that helps support local children's organizations. This year, the festival proceeds will support several programs, including the Ontario Day Care Center and the Children's Hour School.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges campus is located off Routes 5 and 20 and Route 14 in Geneva, New York, overlooking Seneca Lake. Take exit 42 off the New York State Thruway. Feel free to bring dogs on leashes, frisbees, lawn chairs, and blankets, but keep in mind that Folk Fest is a substance free event. For more information contact the Folk Fest office by e-mail at or call 315: 781-3690.


Bill Harley. Dubbed “the Mark Twain of contemporary children's music” by Entertainment Weekly, Harley is well seasoned in his field, with 15 award winning albums to date. Appearing as a regular commentator on NPR's All Things Considered, he reaches many different ages, those that no longer consider themselves children, and those who still do. An accomplished storyteller and children's author, Harley integrates story and fable into his musical performances. “If Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes fame were to grow up, he'd be Bill Harley.”-Billboard Magazine

Charlie Hunter. One almost need not introduce such an irrepressible contemporary jazz notable. Playing in his own unique style, Hunter provides both rhythm and melody with his 8-string Novax guitar. Veteran of six successful albums, with a slew of different talented musicians, Hunter is now backed by a drummer and percussionist. Charlie and company promise to be a highlight of this years fest, be one of this years highlights, providing a chance for those who enjoy powerhouse modern jazz a chance to witness a master at work.

viperHouse. Now if what your looking for is good old-fashioned body rockin', down-home Burlington funk, go no further than viperHouse. While all 10 members of this collective are vastly skilled performers, sheer numbers do not impede their ability to produce as a first-rate groove band. Deeply ingrained in the burgeoning Burlington music scene, viperHouse has been exposed to some of the finest music available, playing with such giants as Trey Anastasio of Phish. viperHouse has quickly become one of the most exciting and engaging party bands on the eastern scene.

Viva Quetzal. A group dedicated to the bringing “awareness of Latin American history and traditions” to young people, Viva Quetzal skillfully combines music and message. Viva Quetzal uses the musical performance as a springboard to educate its audience about Latin American culture, history, and current place in the world. Seven performers use over 15 different indigenous instruments, as well as some more classical instruments.

Walter “Wolfman” Washington and the Roadmasters. There is no one quite like Walter “Wolfman” Washington and the Roadmaters. Equal parts funk, soul, and gospel blues stirred with deep feeling and simmered in a special New Orleans roux, Wolfman's music pulses with down and dirty beats, framed by the guitarist's exquisitely personal compositions and relentlessly propelled by the crisp punch of his skin-tight ensable. The Wolfman will get you up, if you have come to get down.

Yonder Mountain String Band. The Yonder Mountain String Band (YMSB) has exploded on the Colorado music scene and now they bring their hot bluegrass sound to upstate New York. YMSB is a 4-piece outfit, featuring guitar, bass, mandolin, and banjo, plays driving bluegrass for the traditional fan, and acoustic acid-grass for the freak inside all of us. Playing at such prestigious bluegrass festivals as High Sierra, and Telluride, YMSB takes traditional bluegrass to a whole new level, and leave you ready and waiting for more.

Other Performers

Matt Abelson. If you are looking for fast-paced, danceable Irish music look no further. Ableson plays the hammered dulcimer, a classic folk instrument, embracing such styles as Celtic and Bluegrass. Abelson pours his life and soul into the dulcimer, playing much faster and harder than one would expect, thus giving a much more lively feel to the instrument.

Dana Cooke. Cooke, a former journalist and one-time aspiring fiction writer, has quickly distinguished himself as one of Central New York's finest and most engaging songwriters. He's been nominated twice as Best Songwriter in the Syracuse Area Music Awards; both his albums were also nominated for “Sammies.” And, most important, the audiences at his shows (many of whom would otherwise never venture within three miles of a “singer-songwriter”) laugh, coo, giggle, applaud, and increasingly scream for more.

Mamado Dibate. A Griot (storyteller, music maker, cultural historian) of the Mandingo people of Mali, West Africa, Mamado promises to be a real treat this year. A master at the traditional Kora (West African 21 string harp), Dibate will offer an experience not easily paralleled in this country.

Baby Gramps. The definitive Folk Fest performer, Baby Gramps is the quintessential eclectic one-man-band. A solo performer, Baby makes unbelievable sound combinations with only his voice, and a dobro guitar. His original songs engage children, and send adults into roaring laughter, leaving all pleasurably dumbfounded at his unique style and insight.

Burke Ingraffia. An introspective and inspired singer/songwriter from New Orleans via Austin, Texas. Burke has played at numerous folk festivals and other venues. A true “folk” artist, Burke has released two albums and will surely represent the true spirit of Folk Fest.

Mecca Bodega. Mecca Bodega is a percussive driven band from New York City featuring imaginative rhythmists Marc and Paul Mueller. Their eclectic tribal groove complements Kevin Huppert's bass and Marlon Cherry's inventive guitar work and vocals. Along with Australian didjeridoo player Simon 7, they create a unique hypnotic sound that is fresh and challenging to the ear and s