Downtown Edinboro Art and Music Festival is on!
Continuing today through Sunday, the 'Boro is happily ushering in the summer festival season.
Every year on one weekend in May, raining or shining or whatever, summer drops in, and art and music -- rooted and rich and colorful and cool -- abound in nearby Edinboro.
And this weekend -- lucky us -- is that one.
Continuing today through Sunday, the Downtown Edinboro Art and Music Festival – deep-steeped and well-simmered in the fine, long-storied lines of Appalachian music and folk traditions – is happily ushering in the summer festival season in and around our getting-greener region.
It's the kind of festival where everything – tons of live music, tons of arts, a wide variety of open workshops, and a whole lot more – is happening all over the place, all the time, making for happenings galore within the happening at-large. In short, it's a good kind of gathering indeed.
This year's events kicked off with the traditional opening jam by organizers/hosts/pickers Fred Parker and Friends, and following headliner performance by longtime area jam mainstays Donna the Buffalo on Thursday night at Culbertson Hills. It continued warming up on Friday with sets by Tiger Maple String Band and Jakob's Ferry Stragglers.
And, from there, like always, it just sorta hasn't stopped. The lush and beautiful Goodell Gardens is the main center of the rest of the weekend's activities, but there's also plenty of good Saturday-night tunes happening at other venues including Sunset Grill, the Empty Keg, the Hotel Bar and Crossroads Dinor.
Today's and Sunday's musical lineup features performances by a slew of returning local and regional favorite acts including Eric Brewer & Friends, Blue Sky Mission Club, Mo' Mojo, Born Old, Rachel Eddy, Jeb & Tara, Claire Stuczynski, Bootleggers' Bible Club, Ron Yarosz and the Vehicle, and Company Townes, just to name a handful.
There are dozens of other bands and performers, and, in keeping with the festival's title, there's art all over the place too.
On top of that, there are tons of worthwhile workshops on topics ranging from beginners' drumming, mandolin- and fiddle-playing to family yoga, Tai Chi, mask-making, caricature-drawing, and gardening (just to name a handful).
And, like always, it's all free.
Now in its 12th year, "the original intent of the whole festival was to create something free and open to the whole population – whoever that might be. Everyone is welcome," longtime music organizer Fred Parker said in a quick talk a couple of festivals back.
"We're giving something to the community that people desperately need in their lives – music, and art. [Both are] such critical things we need to have in our lives," he said. "The whole thing's just about having a good time, and generating a feeling of community. That can enrich our town, our society ... I dunno, maybe even our world."
It's all close by, and genuinely family-friendly, too, so, if other plans for your weekend aren't already pre-set in motion, there's really no reason not to go check it out.
For the full lineup, directions to performance/workshop/exhibit venues and other locales in and about town, and plenty of other details about this year's festival, visit edinboroartandmusic.com.
Ryan Smith can be contacted at rSmith@ErieReader.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @RyanSmithPlens.