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Freshwater Folk Festival  Returns to WSS September 9

On Saturday, September 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Freshwater Folk Festival will take place at the White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery at 400 E Main Street. It’ll be a fantastic fun-filled day for the whole family with live music by Billy Jonas, Beaucoup Blue, The Elk River Ramblers, The MacArthur Inn Gang, and local young artists in the Young Musicians Showcase. There will be food and crafts, a bounce house and pony rides, and a big tent full of demonstrations, educational exhibits and hands-on activities! It is also a celebration of the rich culture and natural history of West Virginia. Admission is FREE!

Beaucoup Blue

The displays, demonstrations, and activities are designed to foster understanding, appreciation and conservation of freshwater resources and will range from wildlife presentations and scientific phenomena to educational exhibits. They’ll be offered by groups such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory, Indian Creek Watershed Association, Project Healing Waters, and Sweet Springs Resort. Roy Moose will be there with Snakes of West Virginia. iNaturalist photographer Susan Ryan, award-winning WV wildlife artist Kathryn Lehotsky, stiltwalker Marcus Fioravante, and Jessica Levine will all be returning. Levine will teach you about local wild bees and give you everything you need to build your own bee hotel. She’ll even give you a packet of pollinator-friendly flower seeds so you can plant a garden for the bees that will live in your hotel! Tours of the fish hatchery will also be available.

This year, the Freshwater Folk Festival is proud to present the Young Musicians Showcase – a new addition to the festival that will feature young West Virginia artists and give them an opportunity to share their talent with all of us. Fourteen-year-old Lydia Jackson will kick off the fest with her own rendition of “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”  She has been studying violin at HeartStrings Academy under the instruction of Russell Fallstad since the age of four. Teens Ella Butler, Kylee Fury, and Aubrey Adkins, all students of singer Susanna Robinson, will grace the stage with their beautiful harmonies. Christian Montgomery, another student of Russell Fallstad, will be playing the violin, tenor and alto saxophone, electric guitar, and bass using a looping station. Singer-songwriters Molly Sutter and Jenna Molaro will perform their own original songs. The festival will open with the showcase at 10 a.m.

At 11:15 a.m, The MacArthur Inn Gang will perform. The MacArthur Inn Gang hails from Narrows, Virginia, where every Thursday night they jam at the MacArthur Inn. They’ll be bringing their good ol’ fashioned string band and old-time music to the festival stage. Members are Leea Smith and Charlie Ashworth on fiddle, Paul Smith on upright bass, Mickey Branyan and Jim Wright on guitar, and Ben Poe and Janie Trobaugh on banjo.

From 12:30 to 2 p.m., Billy Jonas will take the stage. His funky folk music is fun for the entire family, and participation is the name of the game! What is funky folk music, you might be wondering? Well, it’s genre-bending, style-blending singalongs, bangalongs, and improvisations using a quirky mix of instruments. Jonas’ musical mission is to honor and empower the creativity, inherent intelligence, and desire to learn in young folks, as well as their elders. And for everyone to have fun!

For over thirty years, Billy Jonas – a performer, singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and educator – has perfected the art of the neo-tribal hootenanny with audiences around the world. Using voice, guitar, and industrial re-percussion – which refers to musical instruments made from found, foraged, and recyclable objects, like pots, pans, tin cans, buckets, keys, and broomsticks – each concert is a soul-spelunking, heart-healing, joy-filled journey.

Billy Jonas

Jonas’ PBS special, albums and decades of live concerts have generated a following throughout North America. He’s been honored with an American Federation of Independent Musicians 1st place award, a USA Today Top 10, a New York Times “Best for Kids” listing, and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award for his CD “What Kind of Cat Are You?” And in 2010, The Billy Jonas Band was honored to perform at the White House.

From 2:15 to 3:30 p.m., Beaucoup Blue will fill the air with the sound of soulful blues. Beaucoup Blue is the Americana, Philadelphia-based father and son duo of David and Adrian Mowry. With voices that blend only as a father’s and son’s can, and smooth guitar work on 6- and 12-string guitars, slide guitar, and resonator, they’ve created a sound that is uniquely theirs. And, although Blues is their “thing,” you can hear influences of Folk, Soul, Jazz, Country, Bluegrass, and Rhythm’n Blues in their original songwriting.

With several CDs to their credit, Beaucoup Blue has garnered numerous accolades and honors – Grand Prize Winner of the Billboard World Song-Writing Contest, #25 on AMA’s Americana Top 40, #8 on Roots Music Report’s Folk Top 50, and Grand Prize Winner of the Telluride Blues & Brews Acoustic Competition, to name a few.

From 3:30 to 5 p.m., The Elk River Ramblers will be onstage. If you like Bluegrass, Celtic, Klezmer, Jazz, Classic Rock, and Old-Time Appalachian music, this is the band for you! With their original arrangements and compositions, The Elk River Ramblers really know how to mix it up. For example, have you ever heard Norwegian Wood on the Sitar? It’s awesome!

The Elk River Ramblers are Paul Marganian on fiddle, guitar, and vocals; Galen Watts on 5-string upright bass, 6-string electric bass, and vocals; and Seth Maynard on guitar and vocals. But, at the fest, they’ll be joined by Matt Harrison, who will be sitting in for Maynard. Harrison was trained in classical and jazz piano. Then one day, he picked up the guitar and loved it. Now, he plays over a dozen instruments – but says he has the most fun playing guitar, especially when making music with Paul Marganian and Galen Watts.

Elk River Ramblers – Paul Marganian and Galen Watts

The Freshwater Folk Festival takes months of planning and hard work by an all-volunteer committee and is funded by grants and donations. Contributions in support of this great community event are needed and much appreciated and may be made by check payable to Friends of the White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery, Inc. (FWSSNFH, Inc.) and mailed to PO Box 461, White Sulphur Springs WV 24986. At the festival, a donation box will be available at the stage. So, those who are interested may pitch in there!

For more info about the festival call 304-646-0602 or visit Freshwater Folk Festival on Facebook. And follow the fest on Instagram at freshwater.folk.festival.

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