For many Oklahoma music fans, it was a weekend of wishing – wishing the annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Okemah wasn’t happening on the same weekend as Pryor’s Rocklahoma! But I chose to attend the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival because it pays tribute to our state by recognizing one of its greatest artists and songwriters – and because the funds raised by the festival go toward research to combat Huntington’s Disease, which Guthrie suffered from for many years, eventually dying of the malady.
Woody Guthrie himself called Okemah “one of the singingest, square dancingest, drinkingest, yellingest, preachingest, walkingest, talkingest, laughingest, cryingest, shootingest, fistfightingest, bleedingest, gamblingest, gun-, club- and razor-carryingest” farm, ranch and oil boom towns.” Take that, Ratt and Poison! I love 80’s rock, too, but for me, the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival is a guaranteed blast.
The festival, held July 11-15, supports some of the state’s finest local talents and we always look forward to see our favorites, including Arlo Guthrie (Woody’s son), Folk Uke, Jimmy LaFave, the Burns Sisters, Emily Katz, Likely Stories, Larry Spears, Travis Kidd, Scott Taylor, the Red Dirt Rangers, Don Morris, Tom Skinner, Bob Childers, Dan Duggin, Dean Brown, Terry "Buffalo" Ware, Guy Logsdon, Joel Rafael, Nancy Apple, Rob McNurlin, Barton & Sweeney, Randy Crouch, the Farm Couple, Greg Klyma, and Radoslav Lorkorvic.
Former festival favorites have included Pete Seeger, Peter Yarrow of Peter Paul & Mary, Mary Reynolds, Sara Lee, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Josh White, Jr., Rocky Frisco and "Soup" Dave Thomas. This year, we heard from Joel Rafael's daughter, Jamica Rafael, Tony Lee Thomas, Tim O"Brien, Romi Mayes, Buffalofitz, Lisa Curl, Jed & Kelley and others...
...Later that day at the Brick Street Café stage, fans heard music from Likely Stories, Buffalofitz, Barton & Sweeney, Jamica Rafael, Folk Uke, and Randy Crouch, but the highlight of the day was the down-to-earth folk/western charm of Folk Uke. As talented as their kinfolks, the group includes Wille Nelson's daugther, Amy Nelson, and Woody Guthrie's granddaughters, Cathie and Annie Guthrie... And even muddy, drenched clothes and a filthy face couldn’t stop crowd-pleaser Randy Crouch from bringing down the house. After a fabulous performance, adoring fans surrounded him, showering him with hugs, handshakes, and love-pats on the back.
By Dawn Johnston
Thursday, 26 July 2007