Northwest Regional Folklife and Other Festivals
KRAB's first Folklife Festival broadcast was in 1974, two years after the first festival. I suspect it was Phil Williams' idea to broadcast the festival. He was on the KRAB board then as well, of course, of the Seattle Folklore Society. The Jun 1974 program guide contains this note:
As of this writing, half way through Memorial Day weekend, KRAB's live coverage of the 3rd Annual Northwest Regional Folklife Festival appears to be a complete success. In the 12 years of its existence, KRAB has never before engaged in a production of this dimension: technically as elaborate and sophisticated, and programmatically with such spontaneity and, such high a quality. By the time Monday night rolls around we should have brought to you at least 30 hours of live music from at least 50 different performers. This has been an intensive training program and learning experience for us here at the station; I hope you've enjoyed it as much as we. In the coming months you will hear many more live programs like this last one. I would like to thank all those (at least 25 different people participated throughout the weekend) who have donated time and energy to make the Folklife Festival broadcasts possible.
In 1977 Phil and Vivian Williams' record company Voyager, released an album sampling the music from that year's festival. In the liner notes Allan Swensson, festival Coordinator, wrote "Sponsors of Northwest Regional Folklife Festival include the City of Seattle, Seattle Center Department; the Pacific NW Region, National Park Service; and the Seattle Folklore Society. KRAB Radio, a noncommercial listener-supported station, has been a major contributor since 1975*. This first Folklife Festival Record, made from recordings of the 1977 KRAB Radio broadcasts, is a sample of the diversity and exuberance of traditional music in the Pacific Northwest. Even if you miss your favorite kind of music on this album, you'll find it at the festival."
*Allan seemed to have forgotten KRAB was also there in 1974.
If you should have photographs of KRAB at any of the Folklife Festivals, of memories your are willing to share, please contact us.
Northwest Regional Folklife Festival 1974 - KRAB May 30, 1974
Playing original material, Robert Rohde on guitar and Steve Kinzie on guitar and banjo.
Part 1 in the Playhouse (41:16)
Part 2 on the KRAB stage (19:45)
1974 was KRAB's first broadcast of the Folklife Festival. So far this is the only recording we have found from that year. No one has yet come forward with photographs.
In addition to the KRAB stage, the mixer for switching from stage to stage, and the announce microphone were also in Alki Room, all set up on folding tables, with the wiring within easy reach of the dozens of Folklife participant children. I put up a sign: "Danger Red Ants" which started an endless debate of "I don't see any", "How big are they?", "Its a joke", "Why?".
Recording courtesy Jack Straw Foundation, M0515
Northwest Regional Folklife Festival 1975 - KRAB May 26, 1975
In 1975, for three days and more than 30 hours, for the second time, KRAB broadcast live from the Northwest Regional Folklife Festival on the Seattle Center grounds. Phil Andrus served as artistic director, selecting and coordinating artists, as we switched between six (?) stages, including KRAB's own stage in the "Alki Room". This was a very big deal for KRAB. Hard to believe we have no photographs.
This short recording (05/26/1975) is of John Hendricks, a Portland guitarist who, according to the tape label (right), played with the "Fly-By-Night Jass Band". He also performed with the "PH Phactor Jug Band", playing Mandolin, Mandola, Banjo, Guitar, Kazoo, Jug, and Vocals. The announcer introducing Hendricks is Phil Bannon, a long-time KRAB volunteer engineer and announcer.
Recording courtesy Robert Weppner
10th San Diego Folk Festival, broadcast live on Public Radio West and KRAB - Apr 24, 1976
".....and the women will continue." "I don't know if there are any available seats here in Montezuma Hall."
1975, 1976 and 1977 were big years for folk festivals, and radio joined up with Folk Festival USA - live broadcasts from festivals all over the country. This one is the Saturday night concert from San Diego. Dennis's notes insist that it was broadcast live on KRAB Apr 24, 1976, but it is not listed in the program guide. Perhaps the evening's programming was pre-empted. (In the Seattle Times "Tempo" published Friday Apr 23rd it says the concert would be "broadcast live tonight", which would have been a pretty good trick, since it didn't happen until Saturday.)
The performers include members of Mike Seeger's traveling "1976 American Old Time Music Festival (AOTMF)": Lily May Ledford, The Balfa Brothers with Marc Savoy, and John Jackson. On Apr 3rd AOTMF did a benefit for the Seattle Folklore Society and KRAB at the Masonic Temple. In July KPFK broadcast a series of programs they produced from this festival, and featured photographs by Richard Hammond. Here he captured this portrait of Napoleon Strickland (fife) and Othar Turner's daughter, Bernice (drum):
Here's a list of what we've got:
Othar Turner with the Rising Sun Fife and Drum Band
Lily May Ledford, sometimes joined by Mike Seeger.
The Balfa Brothers with Marc Savoy
More from Othar Turner with the Rising Sun Fife and Drum Band
Mike Seeger and "the Group"
Hoosier Hot Shots
Ed Lowe and Tom Sauber
The Gypsy Gyppo String Band
The Mostly Sisters
Wilbur Ball and Cliff Carlyle, an interview
Hoosier Hot Shots, an interview
Recording Courtesy Dennis Flannigan, DF0225, DF0226, DF0227
Northwest Regional Folklife Festival - KRAB May 24-26, 1975 or May 29-31, 1976
We do not know the exact date of this recording. Is there anyone that can tell us whether it was 1975 or 76?
Here's what we've got, with Leila Gorbman and Phil Bannon making occasional announcing appearances.
Recording courtesy Dennis Flannigan, DF0246
Northwest Regional Folklife Festival 1976 - KRAB May 29, 1976
Most of this tape seems to have originated at KRAB folklife central, the Alki Room. The technical quality is a little unfortunate, with some distorting over modulation and microphones not able to handle voices trying to be heard above the crowd, but it is worth a listen anyway. It is split into five clips that can be played one at a time, or as a continuous stream.
1 - Irish American String Band: Mark Graham, Frank Ferrel, and Mike Saunders (29:44)
Juliette Delany; Kesh Jig?; Morman Brave; Medley: Maid Behind the Bar, Sheman's Reel, The Cookies; ?; Bee's Wing Hornpipe; The Galoway Races; Blackberry Blossoms; Chicken on a Raft
Introduced by KRAB's Leila Gorbman
2 - Mark O'Connor with Custer's Grass Band: Cris Plummer, banjo; Dave Hackliff, bass; Bob Asberry, guitar; Les Panther, mandolin; Mark O'Connor, fiddle, guitar (30:46)
Huckleberry Hornpipe; Don't This Road Look Rough and Rocky; Kentucky Mandolin; I'm Just a Used to be to You; Alabama Jubilee; I'm Losin' You; Orange Blossom Special; Sally Goodin'
3 - Washington State Fiddlers' Association 1 (30:00)
Floyd Benton: Rag Time Annie
4 - Washington State Fiddlers' Association 2 (47:31)
Barbara Lamb and the Tennesseans(?): Uncle Pen, Send me the Pillow that you Dream On
5 - Mark O'Connor with the Curly Creek String Band (36:43)
Begins, as the equipment is changed, with a bit of banter between two KRAB hosts, Molly (Mettler?) and Phil Bannon.
You All Come; Rock, Salt and Nails; I Saw the Light; Bluegrass Breakdown; I Couldn't Believe it Was True; Battle Hymn of the Republic; Keep on the Sunnyside; Katy Dear; Late Last Night; I'll be there Someday; There's no Hidin' Place Down Here
If you have any photos of KRAB at the Folklife Festival or stories to tell, please consider sharing (send us an email).
Recording from the collection of Dennis Flannigan, DF0255
NEW JUN 2017: Northwest Regional Folklife Festival 1977 - KRAB May 30, 1977
From a Playhouse concert, perhaps.
Baby Gramps with "Diddy Wah Diddy", "Rag Time Millionaire", "Yas Yas Yas", and "Teddy Bear's Picnic"
Recording courtesy Dennis Flannigan, DF1015
This was the 6th year that KRAB broadcast from the Folklife Festival live, starting with a 3 hour concert on Friday, followed by 3 days of 10 hours each. This tape is from the last day, Monday the 28th.
The KRAB hosts were Molly Mettler, a Charles or Charlie ?, and Matt Holmes at the Flag Plaza Pavilion; Gouda Cremora at the Liars Contest; and Leila Gorbman wrapping it up back at the Flag Plaza.
From the Flag Plaza Pavilion previously occupied by the relics of King Tut
Buckdancers' Choice (11:37)
From the Playhouse
Mike and Molly fill some time (19:41)
Back to the Flag Plaza Pavilion
May Thompson Bell (13:52)
Recording courtesy Dennis Flannigan, DF0287
American Fiddle Tunes Festival in Port Townsend - Jul 2 to 4, 1981
This appears to be the last of the American Fiddle Tunes Festivals to be broadcast on KRAB, though exactly when is uncertain - During Dennis Flannigan's KRABgrass show perhaps? The host announcer sounds an awful lot like Frank Ferrel. Is that you, Frank?
Heard here are:
Joe Pancerzweski with Sandy Bradley (33:19)
The Harmony Sisters: Alice Gerrard, Jeannie McCleary, Irene Herman (38:12)
Alan Block with Nancy McDowell (41:10)
The Hurricane Ridge Runners: Jerry Galleher, Mark Graham, Paul Kotapsh, and Armand Barnett (45:39)
Recording courtesy Dennis Flannigan, DF1011
Northwest Regional Folklife Festival 1982 - May 31, 1982
By Memorial Day weekend, the Northwest Regional Folklife Festival will bring to the Seattle Center dancers, craftspeople, singers and musicians by the hundreds, and one solitary radio station -- KRAB. For the seventh or eighth or sixth or ninth time (we all remember differently, but "for sure"), KRAB will be spreading the festivity of Folklife weekend to the edges and corners of the Pacific Northwest, through some thirty-six hours of live broadcasting. Expect to hear bluegrass banjos and old-time fiddles, roughedged blues arid graceful caeli tunes, songs old and new, sounds from next door and from the world round. Should you come to the Folklife Festival in, person, we hope you will visit the KRAB stage in the Flag Plaza Pavilion. And when you are loafing at home, cruising in your car, weeding your petunia bed or swatting flies in your kitchen, you can be at the Folklife Festival then, too, front row center. Tune in 8:00 p.m. till 11:00 pm on May 22nd and throughout the long weekend: 12:00 noon to 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
This recording is from Sunday, May 31st and includes the afternoon at the KRAB stage in the Flag Plaza Pavilion, and the closing show at the Playhouse that evening. There's a little distortion here and there, particularly in one of Baby Gramps' numbers, but for the most part listenable. Performing are the following:
From the KRAB stage (Paul Stanbery and Mary Wanner(?) announcing)
From the Playhouse (Robert Rohde announcing)
Phil Andrus signs off from the Seattle Center
Recording courtesy Dennis Flannigan, DF1012
If you possess any souvenirs (program guides, tapes, or photos) or have a story about your experience with KRAB you are willing to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org