America’s longest-running folk music festival takes place this coming weekend, Friday through Sunday May 25-27.
(Del sings) That’s Tallahassee’s own Del Suggs. Not only does he sing, he also talks. And he’s been speaking about a very important part of the state’s musical history.
“This is the 66th annual Florida Folk Festival. It’s the oldest continuously operated state folk festival in the country,” he exclaimed.
Some of the biggest names in folk, bluegrass, country, Americana and popular music have graced the various stages of the Florida Folk Festival over the years, and Suggs said this year is no exception.
“On Saturday night the headliner will be John Carter Cash, Johnny Cash’s and June Carter Cash’s only son, because the Carters are the royal family of bluegrass music with Maybelle Carter.”
Cash being only one of several headliners this year.
“Friday night our old friend Billy Dean will be coming in and he’ll be doing a songwriting workshop on Saturday. And then Sunday night we have John McEuen and the String Wizards. And of course John McEuen is mostly known as the fiddle player for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, one of the original founding members. He’s going to be there with some of the early founding members of the Dirt Band who played on their first couple of records and if you haven’t heard the String Wizards, they’re just an amazing collection of acoustic instrumentation.”
Suggs added musical diversity has been a hallmark of the Florida Folk Festival since its beginning so many years ago.
“One of our local acts who will be headlining the show on Friday night is the Maharaja Flamenco Trio. Florida is not truly a melting pot; I think of it more as a salad bowl. And we have all of these different communities that live here and they all maintain their own culture and the Florida Folk Festival is one of the few places where you can actually go and enjoy all of the different cultures that are here. Whether it’s from Japan, or Hawaii, from the Dominican Republic or West Africa, all of these different cultures exist in our state and they come to share their culture, art, music and dance at the Florida Folk Festival.”
Suggs said there are several more artists with links to the Capital City area.
“I’ll be performing as I have every year since 1984,” he began. “I can’t believe it’s been that long! Mimi and the Hearndogs will be there, Belle and the Band, the Adventures of Annabelle Lynn, Brett Wellman an amazing local blues act will be there. Grant Peebles will be there and our good friends from Panama City Lucky Mud will be performing and that’s a tasting of our local folks and many others from all over the state who’ll be performing.”
For info and more:
“Go online and buy tickets at: floridafolkfestival.org. The festival is actually at White Springs, Florida, the Stephen Foster State Folk Culture Park. So it’s only about 100 miles away and a very easy drive straight down the Interstate to get there and it’s right on the banks of the Suwanee River and you can’t get any closer to the soul of Florida than the banks of the Suwanee River.”