Two previous People’s Choice winners are returning. They are lap-slide guitarist Harry Manx and singer/songwriter Cheryl Wheeler.
“We are really excited, too, because Tony Furtado is coming back,” festival assistant director Lisa Carter said. “He was one of our first performers in 2003.”
New this year is a beer garden at the Moab Ball Park. It will be open Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 3-4, from noon until about 4:30 p.m.
“The beer garden timing is wonderful,” said Melissa Schmaedick, festival executive director and producer. “Our 10th year is a big milestone and we’ll be able to celebrate it with a ‘cheers.’ Especially for those coming from out of town – Arizona and Colorado – it’s been a longstanding desire to include a beer garden.”
Arts and crafts and food vendors also will have booths at the ball park.
Schmaedick said she is excited about the lineup of performers, particularly Manx and Furtado.
“Harry Manx stands out as being unique in his style,” she said. “He blends a West Indian influence, the raga style, which is almost meditative music, with the Delta blues. His label is ‘East meets West.’”
Schmaedick added that Furtado is known for his slide guitar and banjo playing. “It’s very high energy and upbeat,” she said.
Sunday will be the highest energy day, Schmaedick predicted, noting that the music will be particularly danceable with performances by Eilen Jewel and Suzy Bogguss.
The more traditional folk performers who tell musical stories while playing guitar also carve a personal niche by making their music about contemporary issues, Schmaedick said.
Organizers anticipate 1,000 to 1,200 people will attend. Some will buy single-day tickets while others will purchase passes for the entire festival.
Even after listening to a full day and evening of music, there’s likely to be additional jam sessions each night at Eddie McStiff’s after the formal performances are over.
“The jam sessions have been fairly well attended by our musicians,” Carter said.
Those who want a head start may attend a free concert Thursday, Nov. 1, at Star Hall beginning at 7:30 p.m. This year’s performers are from the Four Corners region.
Free workshops are open to the public Saturday and Sunday mornings at Star Hall and the Moab Arts and Recreation Center.
The festival will showcase 12 different performances. Since its debut, the event has embraced a mix of music ranging from bluegrass, indie folk-rock, folk-fringe punk, Celtic-folk and modern acoustic.
“The festival is large enough to attract internationally and nationally recognized artists, but small enough to allow audiences to feel an intimacy and engagement with the performers not often found at larger venues,” according to a news release. “The Moab Folk Festival has had a community spirit and strong community support from the beginning and many of the artists become a part of the Moab community for the weekend.”
Those taking the stage for indoor, evening performances include Manx, Wheeler, Willy Porter, Cosy Sheridan, Ellis, and Phoebe Hunt. Outdoor, daytime performers are Bogguss, Sara Hickman, Furtado, Jewel, The Doug Wyntch Band, and Shel.
Information about tickets, performance schedules and other topics is available at www.moabfolkfestival.com.