Stephen and the Talk Talk Band 2008 Philadelphia Folk Festival journal and photos

Stephen and the Talk Talk Band, consisting of myself on voice and guitar, with Kate Davis sitting in on vocals (she did the lead vocal on Living with the Animals each set, a new song that fits her well, as well as back up vocals on several other songs), and some East Coast members of my Talk Talk Band: bassist Ritt Henn who lives in New York City and Bill Chamberlain on mandolin who lives in upper New York State, had a wonderful time at the 2008 Philadelphia Folk Festival. We played an hour set each day, once on a stage called the tent stage, and twice on the Dulcimer Grove Stage, which is a nice little stage in a shaded, wooded area.

We had a little adventure starting out. Just before Kate and I got on the airplane in Portland to go to Philadelphia, I was informed that my baggage was being held because two of my homemade instruments made with wood and nails were considered a security risk. During our layover in Denver I found out that they were sending my baggage on after removing the offending instruments, but that my bag wouldn't arrive until the next day. On top of that, the plane ended up being almost two hours late because of thunder storms and we didn't arrive at the Philadelphia airport at midnight. But what can you do? We didn't let it bother us. The nice thing is that it all had a very happy ending.

Two volunteers from the festival picked me and Kate up that night and brought us to the hotel, a volunteer brought me back to the airport the next day to get my baggage, and the festival provided transportation back to the airport after the festival, as well as a performer shuttle back and forth from the hotel to the festival grounds. The festival has about 2,000 volunteers. The performers are provided with hospitality areas with free meals and snacks both at the hotel and the festival grounds (a farm outside of Philadelphia). The volunteers all have stories about how long they have volunteered at the festival twenty, thirty years or even forty years, and about how they always set aside time every year to be at the festival and renew friendships there. The woman in the photograph behind Kate drinking coffee at the hotel shuttle area, has volunteered at the festival for 47 years, as long as it has existed.

The whole weekend Kate and I couldn't help but be moved about how so many people so enjoyed being part of the festival, and about how nice and helpful everyone was. Whenever we thanked a volunteer, they just turned it around, and said "Thank you for coming!".
A week after the festival, Kate and I each felt that part of us was still at the festival, walking down the hill at the festival grounds.

Link to Philadelphia Folk Festival Website

Bill smiling with mandolin.

The instrument confiscated by TSA.
drawing by Christopher Shotola-Hardt

Folk Festival friend.

Kate at the Festival.

Kate with veteran volunteer.

Ritt onstage pointing tape position markers placed on his bass by someone who borrowed the bass.

Stephen on the airplane going to the Festival.

Another picture of the offending instrument.

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