The Washington Square Folk Festival first came to the park in 2011. It was created by previous WSP administrator Rebecca Ferguson. She had an idea for holding a folk music event in the park put on by the Parks Department — she connected with Matt Umanov (of the esteemed guitar shop) and he introduced her to Eli Smith, who has continued to organize the event each year. Ferguson left (quietly) in 2012 (curiously, it took nine months to replace her) — but the Folk Festival has continued on. This year it again takes place at the park’s Garibaldi Plaza on Sunday, September 13th from 1 – 5 p.m. There is even a Square Dance! And it′s free!
From this blog, Year One interview with organizer Eli Smith in 2011 introducing the Folk Festival:
This weekend there’s a new music event at the park, the Washington Square Park Folk Festival. The two day event, which began yesterday, is being produced by Eli Smith, organizer of the Brooklyn Folk Festival in Red Hook for the last three years and host of the Down Home Radio Show. The festival was the idea of WSP administrator Rebecca Ferguson who learned of Smith upon asking Matt Umanov — of the eponymous famous guitar shop on Bleecker Street — for a recommendation of someone to produce the show.
In putting together the event, Smith, who grew up in the Village on Barrow Street, said he “tried to bring in musicians who had a history with Washington Square Park.” The festival features musicians such as John Cohen and Peter Stampfel who “have been playing music in Washington Square Park since the 1950′s” as well as newer musicians who have busked in the park. The goal was for a “diversity of sounds and good stuff.”
Four years later, the Festival has been scaled down a bit since then; it is on one Sunday afternoon this year.
Some information from the organizer:
Sunday Sept. 13th will mark the 5th iteration of the Washington Square Park Folk Festival. The festival promises to be a wonderful event, featuring John Cohen of the New Lost City Ramblers, a legend of the 1960’s Greenwich Village folk scene, together with a number of excellent young folk groups from today’s New York City folk world. The festival takes places on a stage in the South East portion of the park by the Garibaldi statue.
1pm – Feral Foster– songwriter based solidly in Blues, Folk, Gospel and Balkan music
1:45pm – The Down Hill Strugglers with John Cohen (of the New Lost City Ramblers)– Old time string band
2:30pm – Hoodoo Honey Drippers – Country blues guitar and fiddle duet
Come on down!
Apologies for delayed posting at the site. The city began spraying dangerous pesticides by truck to conquer mosquitoes – these pesticides kill bees, butterflies, ladybugs, dragonflies (which eat up thousands of mosquitoes!), harm human health, and the environment. This is an issue I have been organizing around for awhile now. I have been helping out with this site. More to come here soon!