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On My Kent State Folk Festival Experience ~

November 27, 2006

So, I missed my flight due to a major traffic hold up on my way to the airport. Now, many of my friends and family members would not be surprised that I missed a flight being the space cadet that I am, but this flight was not one to miss! A traffic accident near Shakopee, MN would put me at the airport only 15 minutes prior to my flight, just in time to see my plane pulling away on the tarmac. I grew increasingly discouraged as each flight I tried to get on stand-by was too full for a passengers clad in OSU and Browns jerseys piled on board. I moped around the airport calling Linda Fahey to give her updates now and then. She was supportive and reassured me that it would be okay to come later. At each flight (3 of them) I begged with all of the humility I could muster, but wasn't let onto a flight until 3:50pm Central Time, which would put me into Kent just as Bearfoot would begin playing followed by Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet. Discouraging, yes....but WAIT!

I made it to the concert hall and was greeted with smiling, energetic Folk Alley staff, each of them being genuinely supportive for my traveling woes. I could hear wonderful music coming from the hall and I couldn't wait to at least catch the rest of the show! Bearfoot and the Sparrow Quartet were fabulous and honestly, I was just so happy to be at rest, sitting and listening to good music with good folks!

The next day, I had the opportunity to take part in the workshops as well as help lead one. The Songwriting Workshop was like a mini-concert with a wall to wall audience, something I wasn't expecting. I'm used to going to workshops with a handful of people asking questions the entire time without ever really sharing songs. I enjoyed singing some new and old songs....and just sitting back and listening to my fellow songwriters' stories and techniques.

That night I was playing at a dinner for the Folk Alley staff and guests and eating a wonderful meal, when Jim Blum came in to tell me that he had worked it out so that I could open for the Folk Legends show that night! I was so excited! Tom Paxton, Loudon Wainwright III, and Odetta!!! I was immediately brought back to the concert hall, did the sound check...and 30-45 minutes later I was standing backstage with three of the greatest folksingers that ever lived! I kept saying to myself, "What did I ever do to deserve this experience?"

I played Bluebird Creek, the song that won me the chance to sing that night, and was received warmly. I caught the rest of the show up in the balcony. I smiled from ear to ear the rest of the night! The Folk Alley staff was amazing! Their passion and commitment for folk music was inspiring to be around and I felt grateful to meet them all. Their genuine interest in my songwriting life was flattering and I felt so appreciated. I want to say a special "thank you" to my new friend Linda Fahey, who lead me around for the weekend and treated me way more importantly than I ever deserve to be treated! Another thank you to Ann for selling my CD's. She was working very long, hard hours and still had a smile on her face! But I'm still waiting to hear that tune on the uke...we all are, Ann.

Thank you FolkAlley, and thank you FolkAlley listeners for giving me the experience and the opportunity to be around some of the best songwriters/performers in the folk world for the weekend. I will cherish it.

~ Chad Elliott

Posted by Chad Elliott at November 27, 2006 12:44 PM

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