The SFFMC July 4th campout is once again in the redwoods at the Boulder Creek Scout Reservation (off Hwy. 9, south of Big Basin State Park, on Bear Creek Road). Dates are Thursday, July 2, 2:00 pm to Sunday, July 5, 2009, noon— the same place as last year’s July 4 campout.
We are widely publicizing this year’s July 4th campout to increase attendance so we can afford to keep coming to Boulder Creek Scout Reservation—a favorite. Get the word out to your friends interested in folk music! We are sending publicity to CA folk clubs, music stores and other organizations. If you have ideas for where to send fliers, or if you want a flier PDF (B & W, 8½ x 11”) contact Phyllis Jardine at
New this year, campout webpage at: www.sffmc.org/july4/july4.html! Registration coupon is at www.sffmc.org/july4/coupon.html. If you haven’t registered in advance, come anyway. Invite your friends interested in folk music; it is not necessary to be a member of the SFFMC to attend (although we encourage new members). We usually have plenty of room. The parking lot holds about 95 vehicles, which should be plenty of space.
There are tent spaces and tent cabins with cots, plus parking for RVs. RVs park in the parking lot unless otherwise directed by the ranger. If you don’t camp, the day use fee is $5.00.
SFFMC T-shirts will be on sale at the registration table. Price: $15.00 each, blue or maroon in various sizes.
Neighbors are directly across Bear Creek, so try to keep singing and talking quiet after 10:00 pm. Keep any song circles that will go later than 10:00 pm as far from Bear Creek as possible.
We plan to have a lifeguard for Friday and Saturday from 12:00 to 4:00 pm. Watch for a poster at the pool or registration table.
Recent years’ workshops have been great— let’s keep them up! Anyone can lead one. All you need to do is to set up a bulletin board— a large board or piece of cardboard with marked days and time slots. List the workshop with the subject, leader’s name, and the place, e.g. in the kitchen, etc. A blank bulletin board may be already set up. Several workshops are planned: on Utah Phillips, John Prine, and Hank Williams. Let’s have more! E-mail ideas to or just sign up for them at the registration table at camp.
All campers (except day use attendees) over 12 years old do an hour of camp duty: registration and parking, cleanup after the potluck, or cleanup of camp on the last day. Final camp cleanup and parking lot volunteers—especially on the last morning—are essential and always need volunteers! Please sign up for them at the registration desk as soon as you can after arriving. And please, show up for your chore. If you can’t, leave a note at the registration desk so we can cover the time.
Other volunteer jobs: early arrivals (check-in is 2:00 pm the first day) can help post signs, register and direct parking. E-mail if you can be there early—or just come to the registration table at camp.
Help us fill the following jobs in advance: e-mail or before camp.
Registration supervisors: preferably people who have done registration before. Can be divided between 2 or more people in 2 or 3 hour blocks of time. Set up registration table each day. Occasionally help at registration. Ensure cash box’s safety at end of day. Hourly check-ins with registration by two-way radio to see if they need replacements or other help.
Cleanup coordinator: preferably someone who has done cleanup before. Be at the kitchen on the last day by 11:00 am or earlier and delegate posted cleanup chores to volunteers. Ensure that kitchen is locked at end of cleanup. Put out lost and found items.
Potluck at the outside dining area near the camp kitchen, on Friday night at 6:30 pm and an open mic in the amphitheater afterwards.
You may store potluck food in the kitchen’s fridge or freezer until the potluck. Label food, and retrieve food when you leave camp. The deadline to retrieve food will be posted—it’s usually 11:00 am the last day. We may use the stoves, pots, serving dishes and utensils, etc. in the kitchen. Bring your own plates and silverware. Please clean any your dishes and take care of left overs by 7:30 pm-ish. Throw away leftovers, or leave them in the refrigerator labeled “Free—help yourself.”
Left Coast Folk, Berkeley’s hottest new acoustic listening space, hosts a wonderful songwriter’s series, Celebrating Songwriters. Hosted by Caren Armstrong, the series is in its 10th year. Left Coast Folk is located underneath Left Coast Cyclery! Seats 60 people. Usually the third Saturday of every month. Doors open at 7:30 pm, shows at 8:00. All money goes to the artists. info: www.CelebratingSongwriters.com or 510-204-8552.
June 13–14, noon–10 pm, the 33rd annual SF Free Folk Festival will be held at Presidio Middle School at Geary and 30th Ave. It is the SFFMC’s annual gift to its beloved Bay Area—free and open to the whole family. Festival web site is www.sffolkfest.org and sample music at www.myspace.com/sffreefolkfestival. We update the web sites as new performers and activities are added, so stay tuned.
The Festival features more than 50 concert performers; more than 30 dance workshops on dance of Europe, Asia, and the Americas; dozens of music workshops such as harmony singing, making instruments from junk, Australian sheep-shearing songs, Son Jarocho; loads of great family activities; and children’s performances.
We have a little musical something for everybody. For those who get excited at the mention of bluegrass, we have local legend Laurie Lewis with Tom Rozum and friends, and The Amazing Earl Brothers and much talked-about newcomers, 49 Special. In response to requests, this year we feature folk and acoustic music from far flung places: Los Cenzontles with music of old California and Mexico, The Palm Wine Boys play music from West Africa, Moh Alileche and Aza both give the songs of the Berbers. Django jazz lovers won’t want to miss Gaucho and the Tipsy Gypsies. Several new bands featuring familiar faces will play: Don Burnham’s band The Bolos, The West County Professional Tea Sippers Old Time String Band featuring Laura Lind and Searle Whitney, Hot Foot Swing with Dennis Campagna, and the Hali Hammer Band. And MORE!
People ask why we present so many different great things in one weekend; why we kill ourselves putting on this festival every year. In the documentary Playing for Change, Bill Moyers mentions “the simple but transformative power of music.” He says, “Music [and dance!] is the one thing that opens the door to bringing to people to a place where we are all connected.” That’s exactly how I feel about the Free Folk Festival. And it’s a heck of a fun party!
We need a small army of volunteers to pull it off. If you want to help, e-mail (Right now, we need poster-putter-uppers.) Our rent is triple last year’s, and we will ask everyone who can to be especially generous. But most of all, we need your involvement. Let us know what you like and how to make it better. Get involved, lend a hand, sing a song. See you at the fest!
Mountain Dulcimer is one of the easiest and most fulfilling instruments to play. Once it’s tuned you can hardly make a mistake. It’s beautiful with “high piney” tunes from the Appalachian Mountains, but also lends itself to the Beatles and Leonard Cohen (to mention only a couple of possibilities).
In three sessions you learn two tunings, several tunes, how to follow dulcimer tablature and a few strums to help you out with your musical pursuits. From there on you can probably make your own way, though DJ teaches private lessons, too.
Session 2: Mondays, 7–9 pm; 6/29, 7/6, 7/13. Session 3: Saturdays, 10:30 am–12:30 pm, 7/11, 7/18, 7/25. $100 for a session, $90 if paid 10 days prior to 1st class session. Pre-registration required. Class size: 4-6. For more info: 510-910-2574, or www.djhamouris.com
DJ Hamouris says: I have played my dulcimer since 1979 and have taught it for the past ten years. I have a BA in Music (though it wasn’t much use when I first took up dulcimer!) and have found I can teach anything I know. Let me help you get started playing the folk music you love! To find a dulcimer, check out Craig’s List, eBay, or EverythingDulcimer.com. I’m happy to check out any dulcimer for $20. Not all dulcimers are the same -- you buy the beer, I’ll tell you the stories.
It’s not too late! Come to our Memorial Day weekend campout at Waterman Creek in Santa Cruz County. Reg forms and info in the March/April folknik or at www.sffmc.org. If you haven’t registered or received a map by camp, contact Ed Hilton: 510-523-6533 or Ed can even check e-mail and send directions during camp.
Before camp, we will have a work party to help land-owner and folk club member Mark Levy get things ready. Come as early as Wednesday to help and stay for some extra camping and music—free! Mark needs to know if you plan to volunteer for this; contact him at: 831-338-7283 or
The fold-in is at noon, Sunday, June 28, at the home of Abe and Joan Feinberg, 1121 Ashmount, Oakland 510-451-1122.
The more, the merrier. Help with the folknik, enjoy a meal afterwards, and make music. Bring a potluck dish and instruments.