Return of S.F.’s Totally free People Competition sets bar substantial for songs supporters

Yoshiko Yap

The San Francisco Cost-free Folks Festival, on keep for 3 a long time throughout the pandemic, drew a group Saturday in its return to Golden Gate Park.

Image: Felix Uribe/Special to The Chronicle

The mandolin’s twang carried across a blustery New music Concourse in Golden Gate Park as the San Francisco No cost People Festival strike the stage for the first time given that the pandemic.

Curious passersby and folk songs devotees crammed the benches in entrance of the bandshell on Saturday to choose in the performances, which ranged from “folked-up” a cappella to string bands to Celtic dance. 

“It’s a way of sharing our audio with the relaxation of the globe,” stated Ed Hilton, president of the San Francisco People Audio Club, which operates the competition. 

Now in its 47th yr, the Absolutely free Folk Competition has extensive been a staple of the Bay Area’s people audio scene. Saturday, nevertheless, was its very first time at the bandshell — and its initial time outside in at least a number of decades, reported Daniel Hersh, the festival director. 

The Phil Lawrence Band performs all through the Free People Competition in Golden Gate Park. 

Photograph: Felix Uribe/Particular to The Chronicle

The competition is component of a collection of a lot more than 100 free of charge concert events across a wide range of genres at the bandshell this yr, put on by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Division and Illuminate, the group liable for the “Bay Lights” installation on the Bay Bridge and a associate in the Pink Triangle on Twin Peaks during Delight month.

Abra and Greg Ealy learned about the festival on the net and determined to make a working day of it. They frequented the de Young Museum, then sat for a number of performances prior to heading to the Haight.

“It’s interesting for guaranteed,” Greg Ealy mentioned soon after the a cappella duo Yes M’am sang a track about its appreciate for a selection of cheeses. “It’s a diverse variety of folks songs than what I was anticipating, but it’s entertaining.”

The pageant had much more to provide than performances. Interactive workshops, the place members could sing, inform stories and study a diversity of dances, dotted the Tunes Concourse. 

The audience watches Jaeger & Reid perform at Golden Gate Park for the duration of the return of the San Francisco No cost Folk Pageant. 

Image: Felix Uribe/Particular to The Chronicle

“It was genuinely sweet to be ready to share the tracks I grew up all over in a group environment like this,” stated Eleanor Chen, who led a workshop termed Southern Appalachian Ballad Singing. 

David Brown, whose workshop targeted on Quebecois fiddle tunes — “somewhere concerning Irish and Appalachian music” — claimed he was pleased to be enjoying songs outside on a stunning working day.

“One of the applications of the folks pageant is to expose people today who haven’t heard this variety of music before to it, so remaining out below with lots of people passing by is good,” he said.

With these types of a range of artists, any individual with an interest in acoustic songs could come across anything that appealed to them at the pageant, Hersh reported. “There’s fairly a little bit going on, squeezed into a person room in a single afternoon.” 

The bandshell in Golden Gate Park captivated enthusiasts and performers for the pageant. 

Photograph: Felix Uribe/Particular to The Chronicle

Barbara Feinstein, who experienced been to the festival’s sister occasion in El Cerrito but hardly ever right before to the San Francisco one, agreed.

“I wished to do a workshop, but I heard this great new music and I drifted back again about in this article,” she said, standing around the bandshell. The songs and placing reminded her of concert events she attended in New York’s Central Park as a little one in the 1970s, she stated.

The competition was place on fully by volunteers — none of the performers, organizers or workshop leaders bought paid out, while they did choose donations. Nevertheless, Hersh said there was so considerably fascination that not every artist who required to accomplish was equipped to. 

“The folk audio entire world has often been quite participatory,” he claimed. “It’s not just individuals listening. It is additional interactive, and people today want to be a part of that.”

Attain Gabe Castro-Root: [email protected]

  • Gabe Castro-Root

    Gabe Castro-Root joined The Chronicle as a summertime reporting intern in 2023. A junior at American College in Washington, D.C., he is the community information editor for his higher education paper, The Eagle, and interned final summer months at The Charlotte Observer in North Carolina. Castro-Root grew up in San Francisco and throughout higher school wrote for The Noe Valley Voice, his neighborhood paper.

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