The Woody Guthrie Folk Festival is held annually in mid-July to commemorate the life and music of Woody Guthrie. The festival is held on the weekend closest to July 14 - the date of Guthrie's birth - in Guthrie's hometown of Okemah, Oklahoma. Daytime main stage performances are held indoors at the Brick Street Cafe and the Crystal Theater. Evening main stage performances are held outdoors at the Pastures of Plenty. The festival is planned and implemented annually by the Woody Guthrie Coalition, a non-profit corporation, whose goal is simply to ensure Guthrie's musical legacy. The event is made possible in part from a grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council. Mary Jo Guthrie Edgmon, Woody Guthrie's younger sister, is the festival's perennial guest of honor.
The festival, which over the years has morphed into being called "WoodyFest" by attendees, was founded in 1998 and the inaugural festival included performances by Guthrie's son Arlo Guthrie, British folk-punk-rock artist Billy Bragg, Ellis Paul, Jimmy LaFave, Joel Rafael, and The Red Dirt Rangers. For the festival's founding, the Woody Guthrie Coalition commissioned a local Creek Indian sculptor to cast a full-body bronze statue of Guthrie and his guitar, complete with the guitar's well-known inscription: "This machine kills fascists". The statue, sculpted by artist Dan Brook, stands along Okemah's main street - named Broadway - in the heart of downtown Okemah.
The Woody Guthrie Coalition wanted the Guthrie family's approval before establishing the festival. Arlo Guthrie and his sister, Nora, felt strongly that their father would want the festival accessible to all and stipulated that they would sanction the festival if it were free. The Coalition complied and festival attendees have never been charged a fee to attend. To keep expenses at a minimum artists donate their time, although the Coalition pays for the artists' transportation and lodging. According to Rafael, the festival is a wonderful event because musicians are motivated to participate for all the right reasons.
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... Marc Benno), Dead Moon (Fred Cole), Graham Central Station (Larry Graham), Arlo Guthrie (Arlo Guthrie), The King Brothers (Newell Burton, Johnny Dyer, T ... Alan White) "Last Train for Glory" by Arlo Guthrie "Last Train from Poor Valley" (Norman Blake) by Norman Blake, The Seldom Scene "Last Train Home ... Koerner, Ray Glover, Lead Belly, Taj Mahal, Fred Neil, Omar the Howlers "Little Black Train" (Woody Guthrie) by The Carter Family, Jesse Fuller, Woody Guthrie "Little Engine That Could, The" (Billy May/Warren ...
... Sarah Lee Guthrie, born in Massachusetts on February 17, 1979 (1979-02-17) (age 34), and Johnny Irion, born in Columbia, South Carolina on February 3, 1969 (1969-02-03) (age 44), are a ... Guthrie and Irion were married on October 16, 1999 and began performing together as an acoustic duo in the fall of 2000 ... Their music combined Irion's love of rock and blues with Guthrie's roots of folk and country ...
... The Woody Guthrie Folk Festival is a perfect tribute to the spirit of Woody Guthrie and his beloved hometown of Okemah, and an important cultural event for all of America, setting ... Woody Guthrie is the heart of the whole folk music thing and folk music has taken on a new role." -- Joel Rafael When invited back for the 2nd annual festival, Ellis ... It's almost an American music festival secret ...
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“In writing songs Ive learned as much from Cézanne as I have from Woody Guthrie.”
—Bob Dylan [Robert Allen Zimmerman] (b. 1941)
“Dont you know there are 200 temperance women in this county who control 200 votes. Why does a woman work for temperance? Because shes tired of liftin that besotted mate of hers off the floor every Saturday night and puttin him on the sofa so he wont catch cold. Tonight were for temperance. Help yourself to them cloves and chew them, chew them hard. Were goin to that festival tonight smelling like a hot mince pie.”
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“Babies are beautiful, wonderful, exciting, enchanting, extraordinary little creatureswho grow up into ordinary folk like us.”
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“Dylan used to sound like a lung cancer victim singing Woody Guthrie. Now he sounds like a Rolling Stone singing Immanuel Kant.”
—Also quoted in Robert Shelton, No Direction Home, ch. 2, Prophet Without Honor (1986)
“This land is your land, this land is my land, From California to the New York Island. From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters This land was made for you and me.”
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