I would not have known the Brooklyn Folk Festival existed were it not for the publicist. I might have known if I lived in New York, but I do not. I am grateful to that publicist because I was introduced to some fine people – musicians, a writer, and a filmmaker – who enriched my life.
This three-day festival celebrated its ninth year with a large diverse crowd, ranging from families with babies to older people who lived through the folk revival movement of the 1950s and 1960s.The musicians were as diverse as the audience; there was an 11-year old girl playing a mean banjo and there was Jim Kweskin who was part of the folk revival movement.
Where do I start to tell the story of Lead Belly Fest, an amazing tribute to Huddie ‘Lead Belly’ Ledbetter held at Carnegie Hall, first staged at Royal Albert Hall in London last year? Carnegie Hall was the site of Lead Belly’s last performance in 1949, so it was appropriate that the second staging of Lead Belly Fest occurred on the same stage.
Organized by Paul Puccioni to pay homage to the person about whom George Harrison said, “No Lead Belly, no Beatles”, this show honored the memory of one of the biggest, if not the biggest, influences on music in the 20th century.