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Banjo Fest Success & Review

Posted by Cathy Fink on Monday, July 13, 2009

 I can't say enough about how wonderful THE THIRD ANNUAL OLD TIME BANJO FESTIVAL was. But the review in THE WASHINGTON POST  below says it all.. We'll do it again next year!     At Birchmere, Banjos and Bonhomie  Monday, July 13, 2009

For many people, an evening of nonstop banjo music would be its own type of hell. Not so, though, for the roots-friendly audience at the Third Annual Old Time Banjo Festival. They packed the Birchmere on Saturday night to celebrate that most noble of instruments in its many permutations: In addition to the plain old five-string banjo, the guitjo, banjolele and cello banjo were on display.

Unlike previous festivals, the evening started with string-band music during dinner, courtesy of Adam Hurt and friends. The actual concert began with the legendary Mike Seeger, whose set was equal parts musical performance and history lesson, as he rotated among four banjos from different eras to play a collection of songs that included works byUncle Dave Macon (accompanied by the excellentBruce Molsky) and Bob Wills.

Arkansas trio the Old 78s (mushroom farmer Curly Miller and wife Carole Anne Rose accompanied by minstrel banjo virtuoso-Teddy Roosevelt look-alikeClarke Buehling) and their infectious mix of classical and ragtime music stole the show. The engaging duo of Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, though, gave the Old 78s a run for their money in the entertainment department as they captivated with stories and also their strange use of finger puppets.

The three-hour show -- four, counting the dinner set -- ended with the night's performers joining forces on a barnburning version of old-time favorite "Trouble in Mind." With the easy familiarity between musicians, their affectionate banjo jokes and the frequent audience singalongs, the Old Time Banjo Festival could easily have been mistaken for a front-porch jam session or backyard hootenanny . . . if it hadn't been for the $6 beer.-- Juli Thanki


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