I don’t even know where to start talking about how very special Sunday was. If you missed it…. you really missed one of the best South Florida music events ever. Everything about it was pure magic. It turns out to be true that wonderful things can come in small packages. And while “Festivus” was certainly a scaled down event compared to some of the BFC Festivals of the past, there was nothing scaled down about the quality of the music or the power that music has to bring us all together. It was an incredible day… from the wonderful community gathering of old and new friends, to the afternoon open mic, to the delicious barbecue/pot luck dinner, to the incredible evening concert, and capped off by a song circle around the campfire that didn’t end until well past 2 am, EVERYTHING was perfect. Even the weather cooperated! (Zero percent chance of rain, and evening temperatures that were just nippy enough to make singing around the campfire a perfect way to end the evening.)
The afternoon open mic went a full two hours, and featured an array of such incredible local talent that several newcomers approached me and asked if they were really listening to an open mic… or if perhaps they had stumbled upon a professional performance featuring artists who hadn’t been listed in the program. It was that good! Thanks to each and every one of you who participated, stood on that stage, and shared your music with us.
Our own award-winning local artist Ellen Bukstel opened the evening concert, which turned out to be just about as good as it gets. First, there was the Rowan Cunningham Band… featuring the Rowan brothers (Lorin and Chris) on guitar and mandolin, Jeff Adkins on bass, and the incredibly talented classically trained Sue Cunningham on fiddle… who shared their wonderful vocal harmonies and energetic bluegrass/Americana/roots style music with us. That was followed by Jack Williams, an incredible songwriter whose expressive voice, unique folky/bluesy/jazzy songs, and incredibly adept guitar picking (so adept, in fact, that he has worn a hole in his guitar!) mesmerized the crowd. And then followed by Verlon Thompson… poet/balladeer extraordinaire, with his unique music which can best be described as a cross between country Nashville and Texas-style singer-songwriter, and without a doubt one of the finest flatpickers you will ever hear. After individual sets by these three equally talented but musically diverse artists/bands, something wonderfully synergistic happened. They all shared the stage together for a round robin/jam set which rocked the house. People were, literally, dancing in the aisles. I don’t think I have ever heard such a wonderful mixture of sounds.
None of this would have been possible without the hard-working people who made it all happen. So I want to make sure to thank each and every one of them for all their hard work. First… Ellen Bukstel and Brian Wolfsohn… who shared their home, their stage, their portapotties, their firewood, their hearts, and their bread with us at the Shack, which served as our own mini-Woodstock for the day. Then, our wonderful Soundman, Brett Segal, and his helpers, stage crew Walter Morris and Mark Fodera. Steve Greenberg, who served as Emcee throughout the day and evening, and adeptly kept things moving along. Neil Leibowitz, who handled the finances, spent days ahead of time helping organize ticket sales and cash flow, and made literally dozens of trips back and forth to the Shack to assure that the grills were ready and the food and utensils were plentiful. He also manned the barbecue, along with Rob Boumel, both of them managing to serve up great food to a hungry crowd in record time. Bruce Feldman, who was in charge of CD sales. And last but certainly not least… Laura Levene, Carrie Lynn Kaplan, Janis Rubel, and Mary Stephens… who did, well, everything. They hung banners, manned the front gate, organized the pot luck table, helped keep the barbecue line moving, and basically jumped in wherever needed. Every one of these individuals put in a huge amount of time and effort to help make this weekend happen. If you see them, be sure to thank them.
We hope to have photos and some video footage of the event posted on the BFC Facebook Page as soon as we can.
And so, may our community grow and thrive, and may the wonderful music continue to flow.
With deep gratitude to all of you, our wonderful music community,
Director – Broward Folk Festivus
Corresponding Secretary – Broward Folk Club