Photos from the Philadelphia Folk Festival: The 60th anniversary event is a success

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A community comes to life after two years of virtual-only events.

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Three generations of Berkheimers and Sciarras set up camp Thursday at Old Pool Farm and prepared to cook dinner. By late afternoon, the 80-acre showground in Upper Salford Township was quickly filling with thousands of people eager to attend the 60th anniversary edition at the Philadelphia Folk Festival.

Members of the Berkheimer and Sciarra families have been coming to the festival since 1975. Originally from Ridley, Delaware County, they have traveled for years from Colorado, California, Canada and Virginia to attend with their local relatives.


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The festival has taken over the Montgomery County farm just outside of town since 1962, earning it a place as one of the oldest outdoor music festivals.

Members of the Berkheimer and Sciarra families have been coming to the festival since 1975
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Some of the performers have also crossed generations.

Singer-songwriter Tom Rush, who played on Saturday afternoon, is one of the musicians known for reviving folk music in the 1960s. Now 81, he is still gaining new fans , who discovered it on FM radio and listened to it on vinyl records released in mono and stereo versions.

A group called Trousdale, meanwhile, said their followers often discover them on Spotify. The Los Angeles-based trio of women in their twenties, who met while students at the University of Southern California’s School of Music, had members of the public sing along as they They were performing Friday afternoon, making their first appearance at the Philly Folk Fest.

Georgia Greene of Trousdale, left, and Lauren Jones perform their tight harmonies on the camp stage at the Philadelphia Folk Festival Friday afternoon
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While young music enthusiasts were well represented, a significant number of audience members turned grayer. Over the years, the festival’s crowds dwindled from its heyday in the late 1960s until the early 1990s, when it would have attracted more than 12,000 attendees for each of the four days.

But many still come, for the chance to mix music and camaraderie, and form lasting memories.

The Lee Boys perform to enthusiastic audiences Saturday afternoon at the Philadelphia Folk Festival.  The group plays
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The event features more than song, with string orchestras, acrobatic performances, food vendors and a craft bazaar. It sparked romance and creativity – sometimes both at the same time.

Singer Shannon Lambert-Ryan remembers meeting Fionán de Barra at the Folk Festival in 2006. He asked her to go for a walk and suggested she record an album in his Dublin studio. Two years later, that’s exactly what she did when she recorded “Across the Pond.” That same year, the duo teamed up with percussionist Cheryl Prashker to found the Celtic roots band RUNA, and the following year they were married. Last weekend, the couple arrived to perform at the festival with their 4-year-old. His grandmother watched over him during performances.

RUNA band co-founders Fionán de Barra, left, and Shannon Lambert-Ryan perform at the Philadelphia Folk Festival Saturday afternoon on the Lobby Stage
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After two years of virtual-only, the 2022 festival was an opportunity to mark the passing of festival co-founder Gene Shay, who passed away in April 2020.

A Philadelphia folk icon, Shay’s influence extended to FM rock radio, and local DJs Ed Sciaky and David Dye both cited him as a major influence on their careers.

A bobblehead Gene Shay sits on a table in the Ryder Blocks tent
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Current festival organizers realize that their main challenge in the future will be to engage younger generations and achieve financial stability. The success of this year’s event is a step in that direction.

Scroll down for more photos from 2022 Philadelphia Folk Festival.

Maggie Kinchebe and her daughter Ruby dance to the songs of Irish band Screaming Orphans outside the Camp Stage on Thursday night
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Kayla Ruth and Jasper Huff sing with the band Talisk during their Friday afternoon performance
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Kevin Duffy of Levittown and Florida shields the 90+ degree sun from the rays as he listens to Trousdale Friday afternoon at Camp Stage
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Lashon Halley and Dustbowl Revival perform on the Martin Stage at the Philadelphia Folk Festival Friday night
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Festival revelers cheer on Scottish folk band Talisk during their Friday afternoon performance on the Martin Stage
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Andrea Nardello sings Lean on Me with other artists to close her performance on the lobby stage Friday night at the Philadelphia Folk Festival.  Nardello was described as a cross between Janis Ian and Janis Joplin and was named by NPR as
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Jessie Mae, center, and Mike Panamarenko dance to music by Talisk
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Brian Byrd plays pedal steel guitar during a Saturday afternoon Lee Boys concert on the Martin Stage
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Drummer Joan Diver of the Irish band Screaming Orphans plays during a Thursday night for festival campers on the camp stage.  The Screaming Orphans are four sisters raised in Bundoran in County Donegal, Ireland, who formed their band as teenagers.
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Gabriel Cole-Brant sets up umbrellas before the public performance of The Little Circus and Give & Take Jugglers
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Trapeze artist Cassiopeia Haberle performs with the Little Circus at Dulcimer Grove on Saturday afternoon
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A giant Smiling Banjo puppet greets the public for the open concert on the Martin Stage on Saturday afternoon.
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Tom Rush performs on the Martin Stage Saturday afternoon at the Philadelphia Folk Festival
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The Polish American String Band performs on the Martin Stage at the Philadelphia Folk Festival Friday afternoon
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