It has been a week since the second North Carolina Folk Festival in Greensboro folded its tents and dismantled its downtown stages.
Seeing the zesty grab bag of musical genres haul away its scaffolds and risers is kind of like taking down your Christmas tree — a little bit sad and wistful. You wish it could have lasted longer.
So, while our impressions are still fresh, a few thoughts about this year’s Folk Festival:
I’m walking on sunshine ... and don’t it feel hot?
With an outdoor event like this one, you hope that storm clouds will be stay away.
But there can be a downside to a sunny disposition — especially when Mother Nature has one and temperatures climb into the 90s.
(And all that heat-radiating concrete and asphalt in downtown Greensboro doesn’t help — but don’t you dare move the festival anywhere else.)
We were impressed with the Saturday and Sunday afternoon crowds that seemed to enjoy themselves despite the steamy temperatures.
Some brought umbrellas and wore wide hats. Some draped towels over their heads. Still others got inventive and scooted under tables for precious shade.
Short of planting trees in the middle of streets and parking lots, what to do?
To the festival’s credit, it did provide free water at the Bellemeade Parking Deck (BYOBottle).
It also would be nice to have misting stations, and we recall seeing them at previous festivals. And maybe some tables with umbrellas?
All of this, of course, costs money (but the more the public donates money, the more organizers could do these kinds of things.)
Another thought: Would the organizers consider a date later in the fall that’s likelier to be more comfortable?
The excellent acts that performed in the heat and the people who came to see them would benefit if our really cool annual event were just a little bit cooler.
We miss the Dance Pavilion; bring it back next year
Judging by past crowds, the packed dance floors under that big tent have been an undisputed hit at both the North Carolina Folk Festival and its precursor, the National Folk Festival.
Part of the fun is dancing yourself.
And part is watching other dancers who are really, really good at it.
But whether you’re a pro or have trouble enough clapping to a beat, much less dancing to one, nobody cares. It’s a judgment-free zone. Everyone’s there to have a good time. And they do.
Festival organizers cited some hiccups in negotiations this year for the site of the venue (a parking lot on East Washington Street, between South Church and Davie streets, on property formerly owned by the News & Record).
We know a dance floor was added at the City Stage between Market Street and Friendly Avenue. And they should keep it for next year. But still bring back the Dance Pavilion!
We hope the old site, or another, will be secured for next year.
The Bucket Brigade was brimming with bravado
The blue-shirted volunteers who solicited donations, the Bucket Brigade, were troupers in the truest sense.
They were energetic but never pushy as they filtered through the crowds in the quest for contributions of at least $10 a pop. And they appeared genuinely friendly from start to finish, despite the heat and the hours and the hard pavement.
Smooth and by the numbers
Kudos to the volunteers and the staff for a quick setup and breakdown of the festival venues. Traffic delays were minimal, and crews were professional and efficient.
By Monday morning, you’d hardly know it had been here.
As for the future?
We hope there’s a long one for the Folk Festival ... as in forever.
We’ve cited studies before about the value of the arts — socially, culturally and economically.
The Folk Festival easily exemplifies all three and is accessible to everyone.
In other words, it’s a keeper.