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New SFFMC Festival in the East Bay

The San Francisco Folk Music Club, the City of El Cerrito and Windrush School — a private school in El Cerrito — are planning a brand new folk music festival: The El Cerrito Free Folk Festival. It will be held Saturday, October 10, noon-10:00 pm. Mark your calendar!

Ken Hayes, SFFMC board member and Membership Secretary, is the festival director. Windrush School is a beautiful campus, on a hill overlooking the bay and framed with hills in all directions. Though it has only a small parking lot, the school is easily accessible by the BART station a block away. There is room for plenty of workshops.

The Club is planning for this to be an annual event. For this first year, it will be a one day festival without a dance component. It features performances and workshops offered by over 50 world renowned and local musicians, with open mics, jam sessions, a full program of performances for families and kids, and much, much more.

Unlike the SFFFF, this is a joint effort with the city of El Cerrito and festival site owners, so expenses will be considerably less. Since El Cerrito is a smaller city than SF, and thanks to the help of the city in promoting the festival and the attendance of children (K-8th grade) and families from Windrush School, we anticipate an excitingly different population mix from our other festivals. Congratulations to Ken and the committee for what looks to be an exciting new SFFMC event!

More INFO on the new festival is at No SFFMC event, including this one, could take place without its amazing, passionate crews of volunteers. To help out with this new festival, please contact or 510-548-3125.

Camp New Harmony 2009-2010

Camp New Harmony approaches! It's SFFMC's annual ring-in-the-new-year music/dance/tribal meeting/party for SFFMC members and their families. The camp is brought to you by you and me and everyone who participates so please come and join in! FIRST-TIMERS ARE WELCOME!

New this year! We anticipate that we will once again have more applicants for camp this year than the camp can comfortably accommodate. Read the registration information carefully for more information about registration priority criteria and get your registration in ASAP. We have moved up the early-bird deadline to October 15th. Confirmation materials are now available via email or snail mail. You do not need to include a SASE if you want to receive your confirmation letter via email.

When & Where: Camp is nestled in the rolling hills between Calistoga and Santa Rosa, about an hour and 15 minutes from San Francisco. The dates are from 2:00 pm Tuesday, December 29, 2009 through 12:00 pm Sunday, January 3, 2010.

Check the SFFMC website ( for more information, online copies of the registration and membership forms, photographs of camp, and further updates! We are looking forward to ringing in the New Year with you.

We want to thank everyone who took time at last years’ camp to write up suggestions for improvements at our new home. The committee has been reviewing these comments and incorporating many of them into our plans for this years’ camp.

If you have any questions regarding camp, please contact Katie Riemer at (include “Harmony” in the subject line) or call 510-548-4727 (before 9:00 pm, please).

—The New Harmony Committee

Berkeley Old Time Music Convention

Fiddles, banjos, ballads and square dancing take over Berkeley on September 9-13 at the Berkeley Old Time Music Convention. Headliners include 89-year-old North Carolina fiddler Benton Flippen, Virginia ballad singer Elizabeth LaPrelle, and North Carolina flatfooter and square dance caller Rodney Sutton. This year’s festival adds a film premiere to the already packed schedule of square dances, string band contest, workshops, concerts and other activities, including several geared towards families.

The convention opens Wednesday, September 9, at the Pacific Film Archive with the premiere of Always Been a Rambler — a new full-length documentary about the New Lost City Ramblers. It includes footage shot at the 2006 BOTMC.

On Thursday and Friday, afternoon jamming at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse’s new downtown digs is followed by a triple-bill concert each night starting at 8:00 pm. Friday also features lunch-time and afternoon panels and demonstrations at the Freight.

On Saturday, free daytime activities include a family concert at the Berkeley Main Branch Library, followed by a youth showcase and string band contest in nearby Civic Center Park. In the evening, there’s a rollicking square dance party at Ashkenaz, with a welcoming wood-floored hall for all ages.

Sunday features master classes with the out-of-town performers at the Jazzschool and the Freight, including a clogging workshop and a square dance calling workshop. Workshops tend to fill up, so please visit the BOTMC website — — for registration INFO. Sunday afternoon we have a family dance at Ashkenaz and the sign-yourself-up “cabaret” at Jupiter, a terraced beer garden and pizzeria. Many insist the four-hour cabaret is the convention’s tastiest event. Acts have included various spontaneous fiddle-banjo mashups along with such zingers as the Disciples of Markos, a Greek bouzouki ensemble and the Stairwell Sisters in petticoats, pink gingham, scarlet pigtails, and bubble gum wads, performing the 1890s novelty number “Chawing Chewing Gum.”

Find more INFO at You can also get involved, because the BOTMC needs you! If you would like to volunteer, and get free admission to one of the concerts, please email our valiant volunteer coordinator Amy Hofer:

Sea Music Concerts on Shipboard

Hear sea music's outstanding performers in the intimate setting of the ship Balclutha's wooden decks, with the city lights twinkling in the background. This year's SF Sea Music Concerts series presents another great lineup.

September 26, Hank Cramer: one of the best-loved singers in the American West. His booming voice, guitar accompaniment, and repertoire of chanteys and other sailor songs enthrall audiences at every performance.

Saturday, October 17, Robbie O'Connell: one of Ireland's outstanding singers and songwriters. He has toured the world over solo, and as a member of The Clancy Brothers. He accompanies himself on guitar.

Saturday, November 14, The Johnson Girls: from New York, this exciting a cappella foursome brings strong voices, intricate harmonies, and a repertoire of rare songs from African American, Anglo American, and European sea song traditions. After hearing them perform, Pete Seeger exclaimed, “You are first rate! Where have you been?”

All concerts are 8:00-10:00 pm, on board the Balclutha at Hyde Street Pier, Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco. Tickets: $14.00 general, $12.00 SF Maritime National Park Association & Maritime Library Friends members. Season tickets for all three concerts: $36.00. For INFO and tickets: 415-561-6662, ext. 33, or

Hootenanny in November

The next SF Hootenanny Night is November 14th, at 7:00 pm and is a Jug Band Hootenanny featuring Devine's Jug Band. They are currently recruiting singers to lead songs with the band; contact Richard at

Hootenanny Nights are held every other 2nd Saturday, in SF at the Café; International,508 Haight at Fillmore. They are free but donations are gratefully accepted. More general INFO is online at More about the Hoot's music, performers and community is available at:

Tim and the Rusty-Voiced Bard

Tim Holt has been giving a talk and performance called “Woody Guthrie And The Great American Folksong” in Bay Area libraries for nearly two years. He describes it as a folk history of this country, set to music. His next performances are:

Included in this historic panorama is the early settlement of Appalachia (“Cumberland Gap”), the westward migration (“Sweet Betsy From Pike”), the Depression (“Ramblin' Round”), and the civil rights movement (“If You Miss Me At The Back Of The Bus”). Nearly half the songs are those of our “rusty-voiced Homer,” as Alan Lomax called him. His songs are a direct, living link to the hard times of the Depression.

Woody knew what it was like to walk down the road “feelin’ bad.” He rubbed shoulders and shared meals with down-and-outers, and performed in the migrant camps of California for those who picked peaches “for a dollar a day.” But he rose above the despair he saw all around him to compose songs of hope and empowerment, songs like “Union Maid” and “This Land.”

“This Land” is the story of a pilgrimage through deserts, wheatfields, and dust storms, while a mystical voice “all around me” chants its message of unity and collective power. Yes, this “rusty-voiced” bard painted a vivid picture of Depression America, but his great, creative spirit also enabled him to rise above his surroundings, toward an inspired vision of what this country could become.

Jam Under an Apple Tree

Tell all your friends that enjoy Bluegrass, Folk, Country, and anything else, that they are welcome to join an evening of free music at the Apple Tree Jam. Sessions happen every Thursday night (weather permitting, in Spring and Summer), 6:00-9:00 pm, under the Apple Tree, at the Rainbow Market on Highway 49, a few miles west of Nevada City. Winter gatherings are Wednesdays at the Mason Building in Grass Valley.

The event is strictly alcohol free; please do not bring your own bottle. Refreshments are available in the Market. Newcomers are encouraged to bring their own chairs (or instruments — or both).

For more INFO: or Pat Rose at 530-477-6516,

Evo Teaches in Martinez

Evo Bluestein teaches two weeks of dance mornings at the end of September, in Martinez. In the afternoons, he will be free to give music lessons. If anyone knows of any schools with funds for assemblies or other programs Evo would also be delighted to pursue them. Please contact him with any ideas or if you'd like more INFO: Evo Bluestein,, 559-297-8966.

Sam Hinton, 1917-2009

Sam Hinton passed away on Thursday, September 10, at 4 p.m., surrounded by family and hearing his own songs. It was a peaceful end to a long, creative and beloved life. There is a sweet tribute to him at,, the website kept by his grandchild Katrina Cooper and her husband Danny.