Award-winning podcast, Between the Liner Notes, this month delves into the 1961 Washington Square Folk Riots. Washington Square Park Blog was interviewed, along with an illustrious line-up, which included key figure Izzy Young who ran the Folklore Center, Stephen Petrus, who curated last year’s exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York, Folk City, and wrote a book of the same name, and filmmaker Dan Drasin who produced the documentary, Sunday, which remains the best source detailing what occurred on that day: April 9, 1961.
Of course, more has transpired since that time at Washington Square Park, and in more recent years which is what WSP Blog brought to the piece.
The critically acclaimed program, Between the Liner Notes, is hosted by New Yorker Matthew Billy, and this episode, released today, 3,000 Beatniks Riot in Village, can be listened to here:
Every Sunday since the end of World War II, musicians journeyed to Washington Square Park to sing folk-songs. Until one Sunday—after the City of New York denied the musicians a singing permit—they decided to protest instead. What resulted was a violent confrontation with authority. Listen as historian & museum curator & Stephen Petrus, documentary filmmaker Dan Drasin, Folklore Centrum proprietor Izzy Young, and the editor of WashingtonSquareParkBlog.com Cathryn Swan discuss this formative moment in folk-music history.
Listening to this comprehensive and fascinating segment, I learned many things about this critical moment in time of which I was previously unaware.
In my interview, I spoke of the more recent history, the precedent the 1961 Folk Riots set for the park going forward, and the performance crackdown (a sort of deja vu) under the Bloomberg Administration which occurred in 2011 – but is still being discussed as music volumes at the park are being debated. (My piece is towards the end of the segment.)