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Folklife Strums On



Many of Humboldt County's finest local musicians could be found at this year's Humboldt Folklife Festival. The week-long lineup of offerings by local musicians started with the new Folk School Day on Sunday in Blue Lake, with free classes on bluegrass guitar, banjo, mandolin, percussion, songwriting and singing.

 The traditional Songwriter Showcase on Tuesday featured local songwriters Matthew Wallace, Bruce Taylor, Zera Starchild and Claire Bent indoors at Dell'Arte. Patrick Cleary led an insightful Q&A with them after each played and sang their original music to get their backstory and how they go about writing their music, revealing glimpses of their personalities and methods.

 Wednesday evening's sold-out show outside at Dell'Arte moved from before sunset to literally "Under the Stars" with sets by Ponies of Harmony, Sequoia Rose and festival favorites Huckleberry Flint. Thursday night featured Bluegrass and Beyond with Rise & Bloom, Fickle Hill and Horse Mountain outdoors at Dell'Arte.

 Friday night attracted an all-ages crowd for a lively, sweaty indoor barn dance at the Arcata Veterans Hall with host band Cidermill and caller Lyndsey Battle.

Crowds of fans of local bands showed up in sunny Blue Lake on Saturday to catch 16 bands playing from mid-morning until sunset on two outdoor stages at Dell'Arte. The All Day Free Festival featured Eric Leong, Soul A Mente, Kray van Kirk, Sari Baker, Julio Perdido, Blueberry Hill Boogie Band, Vanishing Pints and the Beatles Sing Along on the Street Stage. The Amphitheater Stage included: Humboldt Taiko, The Oyster Baes, A Drop of the Pure, Grupo Mar Pacifico, Compost Mountain Boys, Canary and the Vamp, Country Pretenders, Oh Mercy and Cadillac Ranch.

 Full details about the Humboldt Folklife Society's Folklife Festival and coming events (including the Buddy Brown Blues Festival Aug. 19) are available at

Mark Larson (he/him) is a retired Cal Poly Humboldt journalism professor and active freelance photographer who likes to walk.

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