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Brooklyn Folk Festival announces its 2017 lineup

By Ro S

Brooklyn Folk Festival is returning to St. Ann & the Holy Trinity church this year in Brooklyn Heights with another stellar hodgepodge of Americana and world genres: ragtime, country, gospel, bluegrass and blues, as well Indian classical, Balkan vocal music, rural Ukrainian tunes and more. Like previous years, the three-day event boasts another impressively loaded schedule this time around, with workshops, concerts, activities, dance-offs and more taking place in afternoon and evenings sets from Friday, April 28 to Sunday, April 30.

This year's headliners include blues multi-instrumentalist Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton, banjo player Willie Watson of Old Crow Medicine Show and anti-consumerist gospel ensemble Rev. Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir. Tickets are on sale now at

Some highlights include: swing dancing lessons, tutorials on building your own DIY instruments, a harmonica-playing contest, and of course, the fest's infamous banjo toss, wherein participants throw the stringed instrument, tethered to a rope, as far as they can into the Gowanus Canal. Check out the full list of events below.

RECOMMENDED: See our full guide to the Brooklyn Folk Festival

Friday April 28th
Main Stage
8pm – Anne Waldman
8:25pm – Ukrainian Village Voices
9pm – Jim Kweskin
9:45pm – Thunderbird American Indian Dancers
10:20pm – Anna & Elizabeth
11pm – Feral Foster
11:45pm – Tennessee Stiff Legs

Parish Hall Stage
8:45pm – Ethan Leinwand
9:30pm – Cole Quest & the City Pickers
10:15pm – The Freakniks
11pm – Skalopy

Workshop Room

Saturday April 29th
Afternoon Concerts
Main Stage
Noon – Jalopy Jr. Recital
12:45pm – Fada
1:30pm – Martha Burns
2:15pm – Brotherhood of the Jug Band Blues
3pm – Spitzer Space Telescope
3:45pm – Peter Stampfel & the Ether Frolic Mob
4:30 – Clarence Ashley: Jalopy Records Album Release & Tribute with Various Artists
5:15pm – Bill & the Belles
6pm – Amythyst Kiah

Parish Hall Stage
Noon – Old Time Slow Jam
1:30pm – Ethan Leinwand
2:15pm – The Hayrollers
3pm – Little Nora Brown and Friends (Highlighting the work of The Shlomo Foundation)
3:45 – Poorboy Krill – Blues and folk singer
4:45 – “Hard Hitting Songs for Hard Hit People” with Mat Callahan & Yvonne Moore
5:30 – Ethan Leinwand
6pm – Harmonica Contest

Workshop Room

1pm – Book Reading & Discussion: I Got A Song: A History of The Newport Folk Festival
2pm – DIY Instrument building with Zeke Leonard.
3pm – Book Reading & Discussion: The Explosion of Deferred Dreams: Musical Renaissance and Social Revolution in San Francisco, 1965–1975
4pm – FILM: The Mountain Music Project
5:30pm – Old time banjo workshop with Hilary Hawke
6:30pm – Puppet show! with The Boxcutter Collective… presenting: “The Revolt of the Beavers”

Evening Concerts
Main Stage
7:15pm – The Calamity Janes
8pm – Jerron “Blindboy” Paxton
8:45pm – Willie Watson
9:30pm – Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir 
10:45pm – The Big Dixie Swingers
11:30 – Jackson Lynch

Parish Hall Stage
7pm – Main Squeeze Orchestra
10:15pm – Salsa Dance with Willie Martinez and the NYC Salsa All Stars

Sunday April 30th
Afternoon Concerts
Main Stage
1:45pm – The Jalopy Family Sing-A-Long with Emily Eagen and Friends
2:30pm – Deedle Deedle Dees
3:15pm – Preachin’ in the Wilderness
4pm – The Down Hill Strugglers with John Cohen
4:45pm – Meredith Axelrod
5:30pm – Queen Esther
6:15pm – Locust Honey String Band

Parish Hall Stage
2pm – Old Time Jam Session with Hilary Hawke
3:15pm – Gotham Jazzmen
4:45pm – The Jalopy Choir
5:30pm – Square Dance with the 5-Mile String Band
6:30pm – TBA

Workshop Room
2pm – “Sing Like the Carter Family” – Learn to sing songs in 3-part harmony the way the original Carter Family did. Taught by Martha Burns.
3pm – Topical and Protest Songs performance and workshop with Jan Bell
4pm – FILM: Shake ‘Em On Down – Documentary film about legendary blues musician Mississippi Fred McDowell, includes Q&A with filmmaker Scott Baretta.
5:30pm – 10pm – Special art installation and performance with Anna Roberts-Gevalt, Elizabeth LaPrelle and Tim Eriksen.

Evening Concerts
Main Stage
7:15pm – Jay Gandhi – Indian classical and folk music
8pm – The Last Poets – Radical poetry with music, the roots of rap from NYC
8:45pm – Eva Salina & Peter Stan – Balkan music
9:30pm – Pat Conte – Blues, gospel and old time songs and tunes
10:15pm – The Dream Shadows Orchestra

Parish Hall Stage
7:15pm – The Cat’s Meow – Irish fiddle and accordion music
8pm – The Horse-Eyed Men – Original and traditional songs

Workshop Room
5:30pm – 10pm – Special art installation and performance with Anna Roberts-Gevalt, Elizabeth LaPrelle and Tim Eriksen.


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