Roots music is always found at the crossroads of music and culture - at the melting pots. The crossroads of Scots-Irish Appalachian settlers (fiddles and guitars) and African Americans (the African-native banjo) resulted oldtime music, with one of its many branches being bluegrass. The crossroads of bluegrass, ragtime, blues, and many other southern and western folk genres, led to country music. It's inherent in its very name: roots music - music that germinated and led to a new sound.
You could certainly make the case that "roots" is more of an adjective than a genre, but colloquially, "roots" music in today's American musical landscape more generally refers to music of a bygone era. It's a bit of an umbrella term referring to music that is ingrained with the style and instruments of an earlier, perhaps simpler time. It's a catchall that might refer to bands playing folk, Americana, honky-tonk - the list goes on. You might see more mandolins than electric guitars, and probably a few more banjos than drum sets. But, we're not here to define what roots music is or what roots music is not - just to give a bit of an "on average" stage setting.
Why the NorFOLK Festival?
Why not, say, Norfolk Roots Festival? Folk means people. Every aspect of this festival is for the people. We can attest firsthand to the amazing musicians in Tidewater and throughout Virginia, and to the high quality friendships and fellowship that come from knowing them . We aim to further bring the community together around this music so people will make memories, forge friendships, and hopefully discover new passions in bands they otherwise wouldn't have heard of, or an instrument they otherwise wouldn't have been motivated to learn ( we'd also be lying if we didn't mention that the wonderful pun of "NorFOLK" didn't play a role in the naming...). Also, because this festival is for the people, admission will be completely free.
Hampton Roads isn't a big contender for many nationally touring roots music acts. The major corridors don't go through the area, and acts don't always make the trip all the way to our coastal corner. There are certainly some very talented national roots music acts coming to Hampton Roads, but not with the same frequency as to Richmond, Raleigh, or D.C. We'd like to create another reason to bring national talent to the area, and hopefully increase demand in and overall awareness of Hampton Roads as a tour stop for future acts.
The mission of Norfolk Folk Festival is threefold:
- Help foster and facilitate the community of roots music and its fans within Hampton Roads
- Recognize and celebrate local and regional roots music performers
- Bring national roots music talent to the area
The festival, held July 2, 2016, is presented by Brackish Water Jamboree and hosted on the grounds of O'Connor Brewing. Stay tuned for the lineup. It's being finalized and should be announced within the coming weeks. We're all very excited. Thank you for reading and we hope to see you out there.
- Paul Bidanset, Founder