Woodlands Festival Celebrates Folk Music, Woody Guthrie

Third annual festival attracts music lovers from all over Long Island.

Growing up, Claudia Jacobs traveled to music festivals all across the country with her family. Her favorites are the Clearwater Festival, which has been around since the 1960s, and the Falcon Ridge Festival.

"My parents were very involved in music. My father introduced me to folk music, and my mother was in the theater," said Jacobs, who directs the Woodlands Folk Festival. "We have an arts oriented family, and we went to festivals all over the country."

Inspired by festivals like these, Jacobs envisioned a folk festival right here in Stony Brook.

"More people have been coming every year," she said. "The word's getting out in the musician community. It's got a great vibe. Everyone's really nice, and that was really my major goal."

At Saturday's third annual Woodlands Folk Festival, more than 200 people came together at the for an afternoon of musical performances, storytelling, games, and more.

Jacobs had help from David Bernstein and Carol Castillo in putting on the festival. Putting on a festival like this "takes a village for sure," Jacobs said.

For the artists, the benefits of a festival such as Woodlands are valuable.

"A festival like this puts you in front of people who would normally not have ever heard you," said Greg Greenway, who traveled from Boston to play at Woodlands. "This gives people a chance to see what you do."

Martin Swinger, who traveled from Maine to make his second appearance at Woodlands, called this festival "important."

"We've got so much music coming at us through media," he said. "Music is constantly playing, but it's all coming from artificial places, so it's very important for us who do love live music to be able to sit down where we can actually hear people."

The event culminated in a tribute to Woody Guthrie to honor the in which each  performer, sometimes teaming up with others, performed a song by or inspired by the beloved folk musician. It culminated in a "we-are-the-folk-world" style performance of "Woody's Children."

"A lot of times when you're playing folk music you're fighting the prejudice that people against the 60s," Greenway said. "People think it's going to be boring, but folk music is alive. ... I think things like this really help to get the idea out, and that it's a living thing, and it's as different as every artist."

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