Kansas City Folk Festival is a gigantic concert. Here are some highlights.
Kansas City Folk Festival
Sunday, Feb. 19, at the Westin Crown Center
Rise Up Singing (10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m., Century C ballroom), an unconventional “all-faiths sing-along,” will jump-start the Kansas City Folk Festival on Sunday morning at the Westin Crown Center. More than two dozen performances by musicians from Kansas City and around the globe will take place on six stages during the lively seven-hour musical carnival that concludes the annual Folk Alliance International conference.
Tributes to American folk icons Phil Ochs, Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger (noon - 2:45 p.m., Pershing South room) are among the offerings that will delight purists. The folk fixtures Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer (noon - 12:45 p.m., Shawnee Mission room) will entertain children and their parents. Lula Wiles (11 a.m. - 11:45 p.m., Roanoke room), a charming folk trio from Boston, will also safeguard folk traditions.
Most participants, however, are intent on expanding the parameters of folk. Since emerging as a punk-inspired troubadour in the 1980s, Billy Bragg (4 p.m. - 4:45 p.m., Century C ballroom) has earned a devoted following for his strident politics. An outing by Ani Cordero (1 p.m. - 1:45 p.m., Century C ballroom), a New York based disciple of the slain Chilean singer-songwriter Victor Jara, is likely to be similarly vociferous. The octogenarian blues man Bobby Rush (3 p.m. - 3:45 p.m., Liberty room) is devoted to more sensual concerns.
Folk doesn’t recognize borders. Baile an Salsa (3 p.m. - 3:45 p.m., Century C ballroom) combine Latin dance music with the traditional sound associated with the band’s base in Galway. Joined by the vocalist Nathalie Pires, Kansas City’s Ensemble Ibérica (2 p.m. - 2:45 p.m., Liberty Room) will further demonstrate the folk’s boundless possibilities by exploring the music of Portugal.
Tickets to the Kansas City Folk Festival are $30 in advance at kansascityfolkfestival.org.
Concert previews by Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink