Come To Summerfest This Weekend!

15th anniversary concert will kick off Summerfest weekend
By Sean McCarthy, Contributing Writer

James Keelaghan, a singer/songwriter from Canada who will perform at the anniversary concert, is known for his capacity as a storyteller with a penchant for history, culture and society.

Next weekend, downtown will be the site of one New Bedford’s most popular summer attractions, the Greater New Bedford Summerfest, a weekend celebration of folk music from around the region, the nation, and the world. This year is particularly important, because it marks the 15th anniversary of the event that has continued to grow in popularity through time.
With that milestone in mind, the producers of the event will be presenting a concert Friday featuring some of the most prominent participants who have entertained Summerfest fans memorably in earlier years.
So while it is a bona fide treat for folk fans, it is also an opportunity for those who haven’t been exposed to much acoustic music to get a proven, quality introduction to this form of artistry at a reasonable rate.
“Folk fans know these performers well,” says Art Tebbetts, a local guitarist and singer who has been the host for Summerfest’s Main Stage since it began 15 years ago. “This is an all-star lineup.”
Friday’s showcase will include sets from The Kennedys, Caroline Aiken, Vance Gilbert, James Keelaghan, and Little Johnny England. Inclusive jam sessions are inevitable, as with many folk concerts.
And if there is a theme to Friday’s concert, it would likely be “variety.”
“This is a pu pu platter of folk music, a smorgasbord,” Tebbetts says. “The people who will be performing are very good at what they do. It will be an exciting evening.”
Maura Kennedy and husband Pete have played at Summerfest for a dozen years. They are not only pleased with the creative forum, but the location of the festival.
“Friday will be a great cross-section of music, and should be exciting,” Maura says. “We’re happy to help Summerfest celebrate their longevity. This is a unique experience for us because it’s such a great, historic area and a great atmosphere. Being near the waterfront is also something that we like.”
Maura says that one of the keys to the success of Summerfest, and to Friday night, is a tribute to the insights of Alan Korelenko, who organizes the entertainment lineup with wife Helene.
“Alan has an uncanny ability to take bands that have never played together and combine them in a way that interacts amazingly. He knows what musical combinations will work.”
“This is the concert for festival faves,” Korelenko says. “These players understand the energy and spirit that go into quality performances. Friday night you’ll see a lot of different approaches under the big folk umbrella.”
Caroline Aiken will be stepping in for the Australian duo Women In Docs who had difficulty with their visas and were not able to travel to perform. The Atlanta resident is known for her guitar-playing skills, specifically her bluesy delivery. In 2006, she was a Grammy nominee in the category of contemporary folk music.
Vance Gilbert is a Boston-based performer known for his energetic style who first began playing Summerfest at its first show in 1996. His latest release is “Up On Rockfield,” released early this year.
James Keelaghan is a singer/songwriter from Canada and is known for his capacity as a storyteller with a penchant for history, culture and society with an interest in Irish traditions.
The Kennedys play in a poppier style that draws influence from 1960s rock and folk. Both play acoustic guitar and ukulele, while Pete also plays electric sitar.
Little Johnny England is a five-person folk band that leans towards 1960s and ’70s British electric folk scene with a rocked-up approach.
All of the proceeds from Friday’s concert will go towards the weekend Summerfest event.
TICKETS: Friday night concert: $15; Saturday and Sunday’s festival is a separate ticket at $15 for each day; weekend pass can be purchased for $20. Children under 12 admitted free Saturday and Sunday only.
June 26, 2010 12:00 AM
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