Story and photos by Mary Jane Farmer — Click on the links below for many photos.
WoodyFest, short for Woody Guthrie Festival, 2016… what a great experience. Three daytime stages — indoors at The Crystal Theater and Brick Street Tavern, and the outdoors CIA tent. Also, several outreach sites, including a church, a senior lunch center, and a nursing home. It all centered around songwriting, as Woody Guthrie was a songwriter himself, and surrounding them were numerous fine musicians.
The Red Dirt Rangers led a tribute to Red Dirt originator, the late Bob Childers and
to Oklahoma Music Hall of Famer Tom Skinner, who passed away only recently. The Crystal Theater was packed with musicians who wanted to participate, including Okemah native John Fullbright, who actually sat in or had his own set each night, and for whom the city has named a street — John Fullbright Loop — near the new night-time stage.
Impressive to this photographer — one of five involved in the festival — was how friendly the townspeople were. The three daytime stages were all situation on the same street, obviously a major thoroughfare through the town with angle parking on both sides and with no traffic lights in those several blocks. Drivers were patient and considerate when festival goers were crossing the street; business owners brought their wares out onto the sidewalk, but were considerate when people had to walk past them; and store clerks were helpful when asked. And, the other volunteers and organizers were equally helpful and easy to work with.
Each of the five photographers were assigned specific musicians to cover, and so none
of us got to see or hear all the music. That also meant none of us could get photos of all the musicians, but we all got a lot of photographs. Here’s mine…
Now, feel free to upload any that you want to, I would just appreciate it if the credit line stayed with the picture. These are separated by the three days of the festivals, but in no particular order during those individual days. If you were a performer, pick the day of your concert, and others, too, if you sat in a lot.
Some have two photos, others have several more. Again, no particular reason, except that sometimes ‘more’ turned out than other times.
Enjoy, and BTW, next year’s festival is already being scheduled for July 12-16, 2017, again, of course in Woody Guthrie’s hometown, Okemah, Okla. There’s a sign-up place on the Website so you can get information as it is released. www. WoodyFest.org