Thoughts on The Oak Grove Folk Music Festival

This small outdoor festival began 27 years ago by Robin and Linda Williams in Verona, VA in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. It is held the first weekend of August, this year August 5-7. It was about a four hour trip from our home and about 20 minutes from Harrisonburg where my sister and her family have been living the past three years. We've come up for visits so it felt like familiar territory. I was thrilled to get the invitaion to play - to share the stage with Robin and Linda Williams and Their Fine Group, James Keelaghan, and No Strings Attached. I was asked to do a workshop on Saturday morning, as well as three concerts, two on Saturday and one on Sunday. I wasn't sure what the expectations were for the workshop but ended up talking about my songwriting muses and singing example songs. The most eventful of the concerts was on Saturday night when it began to rain early in my set. One of the hosts came up behind me with a large umbrella and so I proceeded for several songs and then it was decided that everyone would regroup to a covered pavillion a short distance away. So regroup we did. I was horrified to find myself in front of the crowd with no amplification. I wanted to vaporize on the spot. But all turned out well and even wonderful as I tossed out my set list and started to remember songs that everyone could sing along with ending up with "Down to the River to Pray." The audience did indeed join in happily and harmonioulsy. So it ended up on a real sweet note as we were all together sheltered from the rain and making music together. On Sunday I did a gospel set and as Marielle and Christiana and two of my nieces, Bethany and Dawn were there we were able to get rehearsed and they sang with me closing the set. It was a wonderful time. I loved hearing James Keelaghan's rich voice and his wonderful songs. No Strings Attached were highly entertaining and are wonderfully accomplished musicians. And of course, the blend, sound, and humor of Robin and Linda Williams and Their Fine Group was a delight to my ears. Thanks to Mel Lee, host of "Song Bag" at WEMC, Harrisonburg VA for playing my CDs and sugesting me as a performer and to Oakley Pearson for the actual invite. I now have some pictures in the photo session of this festival. And, there are more if you go to their website. I have it a link for it under links to others. Thanks to Roz Collins, one of the organizers for taking the pictures and making them available.

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