SFFMC has at least three ways to communicate with the membership: the folknik, the Harmony e-mail list, and the Club’s Facebook page. The printed folknik is sent to all members in good standing by U.S. Mail, and is also available online on the Club’s web site www.sffmc.org. Anyone can subscribe to the Harmony e-mail list for free; just go to the Club’s web site and click on the link near the bottom of the home page. In addition, you can join the San Francisco Folk Music Club group on Facebook.
The SFFMC board reminds everyone that some members choose not to be on Facebook while others choose not to subscribe to the Harmony e-mail list, and some do neither. If you are sharing information that should be available to all Club members, please be sure to post it on both the Harmony e-mail list and Facebook, and also submit it to the folknik for publication.
Although the San Francisco and El Cerrito Free Folk Festivals are projects of the Club, they also maintain separate web sites www.sffolkfest.org and www.elcerritofolkfest.org, as well as separate Facebook pages. You can join the San Francisco Free Folk Festival group and “like” the El Cerrito Free Folk Festival on Facebook.
This year’s Memorial Day Campout will be Friday, May 24, 2:00 pm—Monday, May 27, noon. We will return to Mark Levy’s place at Waterman Creek—a site among the redwoods in Santa Cruz County on the way to Big Basin State Park—about an hour and a half from the Bay Area. We can have the usual campfire sings and jams.
We will celebrate the life of the late Utah Phillips, labor organizer, folk singer, storyteller, poet and the “Golden Voice of the Great Southwest”, and we’ll sing all the songs that have become our favorites. For more about Utah Phillips, see thelongmemory.com/, also Google utah phillips.
Facilities: Parking and tent spaces are throughout the 7.5 acres of woods. There are four spaces where RVs can connect to electricity only. In inclement weather, we can use the 30-foot diameter, heated Octagon Dance Hall for playing, singing and dancing.
Water is available. Bring food and regular camping equipment, including tables and chairs—also instruments. Please pay attention to the signs about disposing of trash. Portable toilets will be provided.
Work Party: We will organize a work party to ready the site. People who want to help with this can come as early as Wednesday and camp free of charge for days they help. Contact Melissa Sarenac: for more info. If you can come, e-mail Mark Levy at and let him know when you will arrive.
Reg, Rates & Rules: Register at camp—no advance registration. It is not necessary to be a Folk Club member to attend. Adults: $10.00/night, Kids under 16: $4.00/night. “Babes in arms” free. Day use: $8.00/day. NO pets, radios, TVs, and NO (beeping) watches or cell phones. RVs are OK.
Maps: If you need directions or a map, contact Melissa Sarenac, or Ed Hilton:
The fold-in is at noon, Sunday, April 28, at the home of Marian Gade,
The more, the merrier. Help with the folknik, enjoy a meal afterwards, and make music. Bring a potluck dish and instruments.
Booking Deadline: By the time you read this, the planning and booking for this year’s SFFMC will be well under way (but as I write, bookings have just started!). Two years ago, we moved all the bookings deadline to March 15. So we’re trying to train everyone to get their submittals in earlier.
It is a work in progress and some bookings settle before others. Music performance and dance and music workshop booking will be mostly over by the end of February or middle of March. Family activities booking, though, will likely still be active when you read this. The upshot here is time’s a-wastin’; no more waiting till May or June. If you’re interested in performing or leading a workshop, get those requests in now. It may be too late, but it may be still worth submitting anyway. If nothing else, you can get a jump start on next year’s program.
Music Performance: This year’s performance lineup will feature some old friends: Holly Tannen and Lisa Aschmann—two performers who haven’t graced our stages in more than a decade—and Ray Bierl, all much clamored for, and many other favorites. This year we also feature the festival premiere of William Florian, the former lead singer of the New Christy Minstrels. There will be a whole passel of first-timers on the schedule as well. The young band from the Mission District—the Creak—will take the stage with their fresh, slightly twisted brand of bluegrass. Joining them on the schedule are those purveyors of delightful sibling harmonies: the T Sisters. That’s just a small taste; for the other 50 performances, you’ll just have to wait (or go to www.sffolkfest.org.)
Dance: The SF Folk Festival has always been a great place to travel the world through dance. This year, the many daytime workshops will include Irish, Zydeco, Bollywood Fire, Klezmer, plus a variety of other social and folk dances from around the world. On top of that you can attend one or try all three evening dances including an wonderful evening of Contra Dancing, International Dancing and Vintage Ballroom Dancing. All dances are taught and you don’t need to bring a partner. I promise you that you will leave any dance with a smile on your face. We will also have dance performances on the Faith Petric Stage for a chance to see and experience diverse cultural styles through dance.
Scheduled Jams: In 2011, we added a new component to the program at the festival—organized hour-long jams in various genres or on various topics, overseen by a jam leader who is an expert in the field. (This is in addition to the informal jams that pop up in the hallways, the breezeway and the courtyard.) These scheduled jams—six hour-long jams each day of the festival—have turned out to be immensely popular: a great new way for festival attendees to participate in music-making at the festival. In the last two years, we’ve had jams as diverse as Cajun music, barbershop singing, bluegrass, Beatles songs, Depression-era songs, Scandinavian music, gypsy jazz guitar, and jug band music. By the time you read this folknik, we will have started booking this year’s jams. Pleasant surprises are in store.
Film: This year, we introduce something new to the festival: film! We’ll start out in 2013 with perhaps six to eight hours of film and may expand that in 2014. Choices might include documentaries on types of folk music or traditional music, biographies of folk music icons, performance footage, or even dramatic movies in which folk music or folk musicians play a central role. Hope you’ll check out one or two of them and let us know what you think.
Info & Volunteering: As you all know, the Free Festival is free largely because it runs on volunteer power. (And you also know how fun volunteering is.) For more info on the festival and on volunteering, check out www.sffolkfest.org/ or Facebook at the group page San Francisco Free Folk Festival.
The Berkeley Old Time Music Convention (BOTMC) Spring Situation is coming, Friday and Saturday, March 15 and 16!
On Friday, March 15, there will be a special edition of the North Oakland Square Dance at the Niebyl Proctor Marxist Library, 6501 Telegraph Ave (near 65th Street), Oakland. Jordan Ruyle will be calling to live music by Ben Sigelman, Maxine Gerber & Allegra Yellin. Other special activities are planned.
On Saturday, March 16, there will be a Free Old Time Open House at the Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison, Berkeley, Noon–4:00 pm. Concerts in the Showroom, Workshops Upstairs, Hosted Open Jams in the Lobby, Kids! Build A Tin Can Banjo!, Room for more jams in the building, and outside! Workshops include Old Time Harmony Singing, Banjo, Guitar, Fiddle, Autoharp, Cajun Jam. Performers include Oak Grove (winners of the BOTMC 2012 String Band Contest); Martha Hawthorne & Bill Foss, Fiddlekids Kids and more.
For more info: berkeleyoldtimemusic.org/spring2013.html
Those who attend SFFMC’s New Year’s Camp Harmony will feel especially at home at this summer’s BACDS Family Week, June 30–July 6 in Sonora, CA. Quena Crain, who at 14 called her first dance at Camp Harmony, will call contras. Quena will also lead a caller’s workshop and a Youth Action session. Michael Riemer will teach Irish Dance for everyone. Mary Luckhardt will teach English Country Dance. And Erik Hoffman will offer Dance Groove Laboratory for the 10–12 year olds.
To crank up the excitement, recent Harmonites Will Wheeler, Kathrine Gardner and Paul Kostka will be playing for dancing. Margaret Miles will lead a Circle of Song. See the website below for the rest of the fabulous staff and program.
Like Camp Harmony, Family Week is a great place to try something new, whether it’s dancing, playing music, calling, telling stories, doing art, or leading a workshop yourself. Above all, we get to be with our amazing kids as they grow into wonderful people. Many of these kids also go to Camp Harmony. So please share this website with your family members, friends, and acquaintances – let’s broaden our extended family and spread the word. For more info: www.bacds.org/familyweek