STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
IF YOU GO: From Aug. 15-17, the 53rd annual Philadelphia Folk Festival will feature dozens of performers on seven stages.
Or think of it as a concert gathering among friends in a 40-acre living room, which is actually a working farm in bucolic Upper Salford.
Since the lineup was first announced by the Philadelphia Folksong Society, Jason Isbell of Drive-By Truckers was added to the Sunday evening roster, and rising bluegrass/country singer Sturgill Simpson was added to the Thursday night campers-only/“World Cafe” recording session concert.
Your headliners include Janis Ian, Loudon Wainwright III, Old Crow Medicine Show, Tommy Emmanuel, Natalie MacMaster, Shemekia Copeland, The Lone Bellow and Sarah Jarosz. Each day there are also workshops and showcase concerts; family entertainment in the shady area between the Crafts Stage and the Camp Stage, including puppeteers, jugglers, storytellers, crafts and interactive music suitable for children 12 and under; an open-air juried craft gallery with clothing, jewelry, pottery, glass, toys, instruments and more; a 3,500-square-foot dance tent by the main entrance; and other activities to enjoy. Some regional acts include: A Fistful of Sugar ….
How much are tickets this year?
Friday-only tickets are $58 and are $29 for youths 12-17. Saturday-only tickets are $75, $37.50 for youths 12-17. Sunday-only tickets are $68, $34 for youths 12-17.
All-festival adult tickets are $156, $206 if you’re camping (add $40 if you’re “heavy camping” with a vehicle). All-festival youth tickets are $78, $103 if camping.
Children 5-11 get free admission, but it’s $10 if they’re camping.
Check www.folkfest.org or call (800) 556-FOLK.
What if I’d rather stay at a hotel instead?
You can try, but if the lodging page on www.folkfest.org is accurate, about every hotel within 14 miles of the festival grounds is already booked for the weekend.
How do I get there?
The Old Pool Farm is at Salford Station and Clemmers Mill roads, and is accessible from the turnpike, and Routes 29, 63 and 73. If you’re using a GPS or Google, use the address 1323 Salford Station Road, Schwenksville. If you’re directed to park in the Wolford Road satellite lot, a school bus shuttle will take you to and from the festival grounds.
What’s the food situation?
The food court at the top of the hill includes: Sara Festivals (falafel, Greek salad, gyros and other Mediterranean foods), Cape May Smokehouse (pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwiches, veggie burgers, smoked corn, mac and cheese, etc.), Nyota’s Ting (vegan dishes from around the world, specializing in Caribbean and soul food), Asian Grille (specialties include chicken teriyaki on a stick, pad Thai, fried rice, egg rolls and lo mein), Little Baby’s (ice cream and non-dairy frozen desserts), Nadar’s Bistro & Grill (Mexican food including beef and chicken fajitas, taco salads, quesadillas, salad bowls, etc.), Ruby’s Smoothie & Fruit Cup, Nyota’s Kettle Corn (festival finger foods), and last but not least, the Upper Salford Fire Company (stromboli, pizza, novelty ice cream, fruit, popcorn, meatball sandwiches, corn, chili, hot dogs, burgers, and French fries sold at the French fry truck).
Campers have the perk of additional food vendors in the campground.
What’s with those seats that are fenced in, down close to the front of the main stage?
Those are for reserved seating ticket holders, who paid a little bit more ($10 per day, $25 for all three days). Otherwise, it’s a good idea for you to bring a blanket, tarp or short leg/low back chair for seating.
What are some other must-haves for festers?
Sturdy-but-comfortable footwear for the uneven terrain; sunscreen or a hat; something to carry your stuff in, such as a backpack; flashlight (lighting is minimal in the evening); insect repellent; spending money; a jacket or sweatshirt, for if it gets cool at night; your phone, in case you get separated from your companions.
What if it rains?
Seasoned festers will tell you to always be prepared for a thunderstorm. Ponchos are a smart choice. The show must go on, rain or shine.
What’s with the people in the golf carts?
If they’re not Folk Fest volunteers, those are probably the people that paid an extra $20 for the all-festival PFF Shuttle option.
Any rules I should be aware of?
Click on the “While You’re Here” tab at www.folkfest.org for policies on camping, smoking, public safety rules, lost and found, and more.
What if I want to share my pictures on social media, or see if there are any photos of me at the festival on social media?
On Twitter, it’s @PhillyFolkFest, and note the Facebook url, www.facebook.com/PFSOfficialPage. Also, follow tickettoentertainment.com for live coverage. On Twitter: @TicketEnt. On Facebook: Ticket2Entertainment
Follow Brian Bingaman on Twitter @brianbingaman.