All She Wrote: A field guide to the folk festival


David: So what did you think of the Folk Festival?

Me: It was like God dropped her lacy panties over LeBauer Park.

The 76th National Folk Festival has come and gone but the National Council for the Traditional Arts-sponsored event has left its mark on its host city in many ways.

The free to the public, large-scale, three-day outdoor cultural extravaganza is orchestrated to celebrate the roots, richness and diversity of American culture and this year it brought together more than 300 of the nation’s musicians, dancers, artists and entertainers. From the granddaddy of hip hop Grandmaster Flash to Texas Telecaster master Bill Kirchen all the way to Québécois hipsters Le Vent du Nord — the talent pool was a melting pot bubbling over with mellifluous sounds, sights, tastes and experiences.

It also brought a veritable clusterfolk of locals, volunteers, artisans and tourists topping the 100,000 marker. Here are a few of the specimens not on the list of performers who are sure to be remembered from this year’s event.

Micro-Brew Management — Hopsimus Maximus: These beer guys and gals who hock their hops have got their own catch-and-release system down to a science. They simply trap you, strap you with an armband and keep you coming back for more.

The Bohemian Catastrophe — Tie Diehardius: Birds of a feather often flock together and you will frequently see these psychedelicately plumed creatures traveling in couple form. Whether they are khaki couples in event splurge tie-dye or whimsically layered unreconstructed hippies, they are never hard to spot.

The Grandmaster Splasher — Solo Copius Cupsius: Generally only the male variety of this suds-spewing creature is visible in crowds. He’s the sloshed sidewinder who wends his way to the front of the crowd leaving a sticky trail behind him — usually on your sandal.

The Native Grammarian — Folklorius Pretensius: You know this guy or gal.  Also known as Tthe Native Know-it-All, they are usually in volunteer garb (the hall monitors of events like this) and full of copious folkloric details about the performer on hand but with no idea of where the bathroom is.

The Haute Hippy — Spendsalot Toolookpoorius: The female of this tribe is ubiquitous in college towns, has experimented with both lesbianism and watercolors and has a walk-in closet filled with dung-colored hemp hammocks that she drapes on her sagging frame daily along with sensible shoes that cost more than your Uber driver’s wheels.

The Drum Circle Jerk — Bangsalong Toomuchius: These guys and gals love their percussion instruments so much they never leave home without them in some incarnation. Be it a didgeridoo, xylophone, bell, bongo, marimba, tambourine, conga, cymbal, gong or spoon — they got the beat and plan to share it with you.

The Hackneyed Sacker — Suckedalotius Atskateboardius: Males over 40 doing this in public.

The Glow Stick in the Mud — Ravius Drunkius: Some creatures, regardless of sex or age or event content, take every post-sundown outing with the general public to mean a re-enactment of the raves of the 1990s by wearing, twirling, drinking or slinging anything that glows in the dark. Most of these items end up in your local landfill.

The Dream Snatcher — Po-Po-ius Bluelightius: Also known as the Dream Police, these elements of authority are often seen traveling in packs, wearing black and giving dozing festival-goers and or lingering homeless the wake up what fors.

The Pottery Barnacle — Claynatius Dirtynailius: These red clay gamblers, mountain mamas and Jugtown jugglers have been throwing pots for so long they are beginning to look like their own work. The pits and crackles and glaze faults of their creations have worked themselves into their kiln-fired faces and hands so skillfully that they themselves are masterpieces.