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Western Workers Labor Heritage Festival

The 27th Annual Western Workers Labor Heritage Festival is a multi-disciplinary weekend of solidarity honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in an era of war, racism, and hard times. The festival is Jan 18 - 20, at the IAM Local 1781, 1511 Rollins Road, Burlingame, CA. The weekend includes song, poetry and story swaps, art displays, workshops, films and performances.

Performers include: Bay Area Rockin’ Solidarity Labor Heritage Choir, Lyn Marie Smith: Detroit Motown Labor Diva, La Peña Community Chorus, Jimmy Collier, Vukani Muwethu and more. Benefit Concert performers to be announced.

Workshops include: Occupy Songs; We Were There; MoTown Labor Music; Labor Organizing (Eleanor Roosevelt, Rose Schneiderman); Telling Stories Through Art; Politics of Catastrophism; Latino Worker Songs; Jazz workshop; Documenting Communities Standing Up Against Hatred: Not In Our Town; Theater workshop; Post-Election Reflection; and an Independent Filmmakers panel.

Films include: Walkout, by Moctezuma Esparza: school boycott by Chicano students in L.A., protesting their unfair treatment; Brother Outsider: Documentary about Bayard Rustin; Meeting Room, by Jim Davis & Brian Gray: social history of the Concerned Parents Against Drugs movement in Dublin. This Way Out, by Jai Jai Noir: a guide to starting a worker cooperative; Shift Change, by Mark Dworkin & Melissa Young: Cooperatives in Mondragon, Spain and the United States.

For more info see the website at To see several videos of past years’ festivals search YouTube for Western Workers Labor Heritage.

2013 Free Folk Festival Confirmed

Robin Cohen reports on the San Francisco Free Folk Festival’s Facebook page that the date for the 2013 festival is June 8 - 9, at the Presidio Middle School.

Per Robin: “This festival is a gift to the people of San Francisco and the Bay Area from the San Francisco Folk Music Club, founded in 1949 by Dave Rothkop. The club shares with esteemed folk icon Pete Seeger the aim ‘to put songs on people’s lips instead of just in their ears’ and to remind us that music helps put dancing in our feet. This event is for those who want to smile a lot, create new friendships, and be surrounded by music, dance and song—and by a wonderful community.

“Between 2,000 and 3,000 people attend the event every year. While the festival would be a special event under any circumstances, what makes it unique is the fact that it is an all-volunteer effort. Not only do members of the presenting organization—the San Francisco Folk Music Club—serve as volunteer organizers, but all performers and workshop leaders donate their time and talents to the festival as well. It takes about 200 volunteers to stage the Festival—and more are always welcome!”

For updates and more info on the Festival, see its Facebook page or the Festival website:

Occupella Update

Occupella has been singing weekly at the Tax the Rich Rally on upper Solano Avenue (in front of the closed Oaks Theater on the north side of the street and the open Chase Bank directly across on the south side) for over a year now.

We agreed to take a holiday vacation from rallying on the following three Mondays: Dec. 17th, 24th, and the 31st. We are now on our winter schedule, singing from 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. so that we’re done before dark.

Now that Prop 30 (tax the rich) has won and Prop 32 (union busting) has been defeated, the group agreed to (in the words of Harry Brill, organizer) “continue our mandate to work for fair taxes, and apply that principle to many issues, including but not limited to creating a better environment, maintaining and improving our precious and vital programs—social security, Medicare, Medicaid— improve K-12 education and achieve affordable higher education.”

In October, Occupella sang alternate Tuesdays at the Montgomery and Fruitvale BART stations to attract attention to and pass out literature about four of the initiatives on the ballot. The day after Thanksgiving, we led songs at the Wal-Mart picket at Hilltop Mall in Richmond from 9:00 - 11:00 am. There were about 40 people participating at the side door where we sang (including some shoppers who stopped what they were doing and joined in) and about 200 up top with the Brass Liberation Orchestra providing the music. Organizers reported making the goal of a thousand total protests, with 46 states holding at least one.

On December 6th, we’ll join the Wild Old Women in front of the Bank of America at 3250 Mission Street (between Valencia St. and 29th Street) in Bernal Heights from noon till 1:00 p.m. for their one year anniversary of weekly protests (focusing heavily on foreclosures).

Some of our events are known way ahead of time, while others pop up a day or two beforehand. You can check our calendar at for information, or get on the mailing list which goes out once a month with immediate updates for newly added specific events by e-mailing Hali Hammer at Join us—you’re Occupella too!

Florence Winter Folk Festival

The Florence Winter Folk Festival will be held on January 26-27, 2013, in the town of Florence on the central Oregon coast. It is two days of jam sessions, music, arts, crafts, pie contest, and concert performances held at the Florence Events Center and at venues around the community.

Headliner concerts are Barry McGuire and John York at 7:30 p.m. on January 26 and a Hootenanny to sing along with songs of Peter, Paul and Mary and the Kingston Trio with The Vintage Singers and The Surrey Three at 3:30 p.m. on January 27. In addition to these headliner acts there are eight additional performances from world renown musicians on Saturday and Sunday with: The Sea The Sea, Miche Fambro, Calaveras, Lauren Sheehan, The Flying Balalaika Brothers, Catherine Reed, The New Iberians and Lemuel Sheppard.

Tickets are now available at

Lark Camp Registration is Open

Lark Camp is a yearly celebration of World Music, Song and Dance and will take place this year July 26 - August 3, 2013.

Lark is music and dance from the world over! Lark is Music, Song and Dance Workshops, Cabins, Dances, Parties, Sessions, Great Food, Dance Hall, Dining Hall, Camping, Fire Circles, and more, all in the Mendocino Woodlands Redwoods.

Check out the Lark Camp Website: for complete information on classes, and staff and to register. Also, many hours of downloadable MP3 music and videos of the Lark Camp staff are available on the staff page:

Early registrations and donations allow us to have the must robust staff possible, so sign up early!