In a world of boy bands, teen pop stars, and manufactured rock groups, it's easy to see how mainstream music has become commercialized. Instead of the plaintive voice of Joan Baez calling for peace and equality, we have Britney Spears calling to "party, party!" If you've grown tired of the MTV scene, head out to the World Folk Festival this Saturday in Bryan Park to experience something completely different.\nBeginning at 3 p.m. and lasting until 8:15 p.m., you can see five diverse musical acts, including several renowned local musicians, for free. The Folk Festival, sponsored by Textillery Weavers, College Mall Barbers/ Roxy Entertainment, and radio station WFHB, will kick off this year's Bloomington Performing Arts Series. The Series events, organized to celebrate the arts and culture of Bloomington, will continue throughout the summer.\nJohn Cate will perform first, displaying his songwriting talents from 3 - 3:45 p.m. Born in Liverpool, England and raised in Boston, Cate is making his third trip through the Bloomington area this year. With his acoustic guitar, singer/songwriter Cate has gained fame for his music, which is now used in the television shows "Touched by an Angel," "The Young and the Restless" and "All My Children." The royalties from these shows enable Cate to do what he loves best -- travel around the country and play his music. He has already had one national album release, "Americana," and is working on a second to be released by September. \nPrepare to dance a jig, as the high-spirited Irish and Celtic group The Rashers take the stage at 4 p.m. Started locally four years ago, The Rashers began dabbling in folk and bluegrass music, but over time have added a Celtic element to their sound. Members Bernie Hannon, Bette Conway, Deb Shebish, Sarah and Bing Smedberg, and Dave Humphries promise a performance of traditional Irish dance tunes, some of which are several centuries old and originally played in Irish dance halls. The group uses authentic instruments in the Donagel style, such as the twin fiddle, the tin whistle, the bouzouki (a giant mandolin), a standard guitar, and the bodhran (Irish drums). \nBe ready for a local legend at 5 p.m., as Tom Roznowski and The Plain Gold Band show off their musical talents. You might know Roznowski, or at least his voice, from the "Hometown Radio Show" which is broadcast Saturday evenings on WFIU. In 1999, Roznowski released a collection of songs on Bell Buckle Records entitled "A Well Traveled Porch." Roznowski is ready to offer some of his new material, which is currently being recorded for his most recent album "Voice Beyond The Hill," during his highly anticipated performance this Saturday. \nNo stranger to the Bloomington area, Carrie Newcomer will break out her acoustic guitar and soulful vocals at 6 p.m. Hailed by many music critics and described by the Washington Post as "...blessed with a rich alto reminiscent of Mary Chapin Carpenters," Newcomer is one performer you won't want to miss. With six albums under her belt, Newcomer has built an outstanding reputation for herself as a musician. Nationally acclaimed writer Barbara Kingsolver has taken notice of her unique talent, and writes in the liner notes of Newcomers latest album, "The Age of Possibility", "These songs are fresh in every way, but they're still and all my friend Carrie: wise, lyrical, invincible, vulnerable, lovely."\nLast but certainly not least, the electric Alma Azul concludes the concert with a performance beginning at 7:15 p.m. Alma Azul has appeared at many different local venues over the past year and added their flavorful "Con e Sol" to the "Live from Bloomington 2001" CD. With their exciting blend of Latin Rock and Salsa music, Alma Azul should go over well with fans of all ages.\nWith the great diversity of musical groups and intimate atmosphere, the World Folk Festival can expose you to talented artists who have a great love for making music. In the words of Carrie Newcomer -- "There is an underground of incredible musicians who comprise a coalition of scrappy individuals who aren't looking for 15 minutes of fame, but rather to come to your town, shake your hand, and hopefully leave you stories, songs and an honest human connection."\nWorld Folk Festival Schedule\n3 - 3:45 p.m.\nJohn Cate Singer/Songwriter \n4 - 4:45 p.m.\nThe Rashers High Spirited Irish and Celtic \n5 - 5:45 p.m. \nTom Roznowski & The Plain Gold Band Americana \n6 - 7 p.m. \nCarrie Newcomer Contemporary Folk \n7:15 - 8:15 p.m. \nAlma Azul Latin Rock & Salsa \nFood and beverages will be available for purchase during the festival. In case of inclement weather, call the weather hotline at (812) 349-3754 for up-to-date information.
Get stories like this in your inboxSubscribe