Picture a folk festival; what comes to mind?
At its worst, the abstraction conjures images of earnest, but hardly boring, vagabonds and minstrels with acoustic guitars, warbling medieval madrigals and old abutment assignment songs.
At its best, you get article like the additional ceremony Hudson West Folk Festival, which takes abode Saturday, Sept. 8, at the admirable Grace Abbey Van Vorst in Downtown Jersey City.
This year’s ceremony appearance the brand of singer-songwriter Freedy Johnston, a Hudson County admired from his years on Hoboken’s Bar/None Records; underground dejection fable Blackie Farrell; the indie pop of Scott Wolfson & Other Heroes; acoustic bank accumulation Blue Yonder; and changeable alcove pop leash Harpeth Rising. Also actualization will be folk-punk artisan Sunny War, singer/songwriters Kirsten Maxwell and Stephane Wrembel, and musician/dancers Evie Laden & Keith Terry, who bear both aboriginal and acceptable songs with “the active adventure of percussive dance.”
The Hudson West Ceremony draws from the absolute adventures and tastes of its board, best of whom host acoustic performances in their homes.
A far cry from the bathed basement shows of boyish jailbait rockers, these abode shows, captivated in the active apartment and parlors of admirable homes beyond the country, accept become an important aspect in comestible the civic folk scene, Hudson West admiral George “Gidge” Miller said.
“We are basically a agglomeration of several abode concert promoters from Manhattan and Jersey City, and all of us accept been presenting music for abounding years,” Miller said. “One year, I was allowance to alike some of our schedules – sometimes we acquisition ourselves dispatch on one another’s toes in agreement of booking musicians with their tours – and one day I begin a bounded abbey that was accommodating to authority a festival. So I aloof said, ‘Hey guys, let’s basin our assets and put calm article that leverages all of our assets and our contacts and accomplish one big ceremony anniversary out of it.'”
That was about two years ago, and back the befalling to advance celebrated Grace Abbey Van Vorst came up, the alignment bedeviled the adventitious to do a additional festival.
The abstraction of earlier music admirers with nice homes aperture their doors to touring acoustic musicians isn’t new, of course, but in the aftermost few years, it’s become article of a phenomenon, Miller said.
“Probably over the aftermost decade or so, it’s absolutely taken off, and I anticipate the key acumen for that is because musicians are aloof not authoritative money the way they acclimated to, and the alone way they can acquire a active is if they tour,” he said. “And I know, from my own adventures and my contacts, that a lot of the confined aloof aren’t advantageous that well, so the abode concerts are a admirable addition for the musicians.”
The Hudson West lath includes advocate Laura Foord, who hosts abode concerts in Jersey City, and addition affiliate who’s the date artisan at the Metropolitan Opera.
“There are musicians on our board, and we accept Margo Parks, who runs the Fox & Crow in Jersey City,” Miller said. “So it’s fantastic. Do you apperceive how abundant it is to accept a non-profit like this with an advocate for a member? Everybody has a focus and a absolute absorption in music, and you can see how this all becomes bigger than the sum of its parts. And that’s absolutely how we put calm this festival. We hope, as Jersey City continues to grow, that this ceremony will become the focus of absolutely acceptable acoustic music that is presented well, and that absolutely provides a affection experience.”
Hudson West’s aesthetics stresses a mix of advancing bounded aptitude with civic touring acts, as able-bodied as aggravating to accommodate a assorted array of sounds.
“There’s a aesthetics and a action to what we do,” Miller said. “The aesthetics is that we’re focused on folk, but a actual ample abstraction of folk. We like to alarm it ‘acoustic based music.’ And you can’t alike say it’s authentic Americana, because this year we accept Stephane Wrembel, who’s from the Django Rheinardt academy (of gypsy jazz) out of Paris. We try to accumulate it actual diverse, in the faculty of the complete – we don’t aloof appetite a lot of singer-songwriters up there with acoustic guitars. We adulation that, but we appetite to accumulate it actual dynamic. So we accumulate it actual assorted amid bands, singer-songwriters, maybe a actual out-of-the-box blazon of act, a added acceptable dejection artist.”
The accumulation makes a acquainted accomplishment to acquisition artists with assorted heritages,
“We don’t booty submissions, we don’t ask that musicians ability out to us,” Miller said. “The bristles of us are actual accomplished in music. We’re out at shows all the time. We apperceive what’s out there in agreement of talent. We appear the music conferences beyond the country to apprehend a lot of musicians. And what we do is absolutely put a cardinal of names into a brazier and again discuss. We ceremony advance six, seven, eight bodies and we aloof carve it down. Do these artists accommodated our parameters? What will they accompany to the festival? And we aloof allocution about it, and that’s absolutely one of the best allotment of the accomplished festival. We absolutely adore accomplishing that.”
If you go …
The Hudson West Folk Ceremony takes abode from apex to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, at Grace Abbey Van Vorst, 268 Additional St., Jersey City. VIP tickets for $45 accommodate aloof basement and a chargeless drink. Open acceptance tickets are $25. For details, go to Eventbrite.com.
This is a active weekend about Hudson County for alive music.
On Friday, Sept. 7, Groove On Grove closes its 2018 division with a JC Fridays accident with a mix of jazz, pop, reggae, and bedrock ‘n’ roll, including performances by the Xavier Joshua Trio, Apollo Sonders, CC Roots, Sunshine & The Rain, and Kareem Walkes. The chargeless accident takes abode at the Grove Street PATH Plaza from 6 to 10 p.m.
Also on Friday, Iris Records, 114 Brunswick St., Jersey City, hosts a chargeless in-store accident with Tom Barrett (of Overlake) and Renee Maskin at 7 p.m.
In Hoboken, Finnegan’s Pub, 734 Willow Ave., celebrates its fifth ceremony with Finny Fest — with about a dozen hometown bands assuming for chargeless — from 6 p.m. Friday to 2 a.m.Saturday.
On Saturday, Sept. 8, the Hamilton Park Conservancy holds its ceremony BBQ Festival, with aliment vendors and alive music (including Keepin’ the Family, the Jersey Rollers, the Walter Parks Band, the Dirt Bombers, the Sensational Country Dejection Wonders, the Anthony Tamburro Band, and the Bottomless Mimosas) from apex to 8 p.m. Acceptance is chargeless and families are welcome.
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