Folklife Festival

I just got back from the Texas Folklife Festival. It was my first year to go, and it was a blast! Exhausting, but wonderful. They estimate annual attendance at around seventy thousand; I probably talked to at least two or three thousand, myself. The Festival pulblicized my work to their local news station, and they had a news reporter from WOAI TV come out and interview me!

The photo at the top is the left-hand corner of my booth; that’s the Lao village reel, along with some different kinds of silk fabrics from around the world. I took these photos on the morning of the third day, and I forgot to put my Wyatt reel back up on the table. It goes in the blank spot in the middle. The theme for the whole thing is different cultures, so I focused on the different traditions and styles of silk, as well as wild silkmoths from all over. The live bugs were a BIG hit.

I was told that I’d have two eight-foot tables and an 8×8 plot to set up in; it turned out that it was a loosely defined area under a large tent. It was nice – the tent kept the hot sun off of us, and we actually got a pretty good through breeze.

This is a little more of the main front table. I like the way this setup worked, although I am realizing the need to make heavier table covers. I used some light plastic ones, and they blew around a lot.

This is the second table; it has various kinds of silk yarns, and the wild silkmoths in Riker mounts.

These are just a few shots of the Festival. The Hemisfair site is on 22 acres, and the whole thing was fairly densely packed with booths.

I think this one is cool, although it turned out a little dim. On stage are square dancers; waiting in the wings are bagpipers, and the Chinese lion dancers just came off. It was very multicultural.

There were several stages constantly filled with dancers and musicians. I think these are Greek, although they could be something else similar. They had a lot of ethnic costumes and dances that I didn’t immediately recognize.

These guys were SO cool. To listen to them, they sounded like a cross between STOMP and a Kodo drumming troupe. They’re drumming on small barstools, each of which has a five-gallon water jug and a small saucepan attached.

There were a couple of bands like this – mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, violins, etc. I wish my friend Evelyn had been here to see them!

Random hot guy with a tattoo. There were some hot cowboys working a snow machine, but I’m going to make a separate entry for them.

13 replies
  1. sunfell
    sunfell says:

    Looks like you had a lot of fun! I remember the Hemisfair site, and my mom used to listen to WOAI radio when we lived in San Antonio.

  2. bookofnights
    bookofnights says:

    Wow, that is so incredible. I love your set up, and I wish I’d been there. Is there a website or something so I can keep an eye out for next year?

  3. greyfortholly
    greyfortholly says:

    What a great pre festival treat!

    Edmonton will soon be hosting it’s series of festivals and perusing your photos is getting me psyched up. Thanks so much!
    I’m hopping my aunt will be down for a few of them.
    I have had a few people telling me I should have a little booth at one or the Folk Fest with the spinning and silver wire that I work with. I think I will wait till next year so that I can have a booth with my friend who has been working with glass. I’ve gotten him some gold and silver foil sheets to expreriment with his glass blends. It’s so very cool to have hooked up with another artist. He’s my hairdresser so we ‘talk shop’ the whole time he’s working on my hair.
    Thanks again for posting these fun picks.

  4. admin
    admin says:

    It’s a really great festival – they put up a sign by the different areas saying how long you’ve been there, and a LOT of them have been coming back for thirty or more years. Very festival-family feeling.

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