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Wasn't It a Mighty Storm!


I missed the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival this year for the first time in 9 years (for a family trip to Korea) – and from what they tell me, it sure was memorable! You can always depend on a downpour of biblical proportions (it’s a Falcon Ridge ritual) sometime over the weekend, but according to Anne Saunders, the festival organizer, this was the worst ever. Early Sunday afternoon, a thunderstorm they’d been tracking on radar seemed to have bypassed the festival, then suddenly it rotated, turned into a tornado, and slammed into the farm with 70 mph winds, 3 inches of rain in less than 30 minutes and golf ball size hail.

Several of the big tents collapsed (miraculously, no one was hurt), and they had to cancel the rest of the performances (including Eliza Gilkyson and Janis Ian). The WFUV booth managed to survive intact, thanks to the heroic efforts of Linda Duhaime and some volunteers. Claudia Marshall was in the backstage tent, as performers and stage crew struggled to keep it from blowing away, while the water level kept rising, with guitar cases and laptops at risk. In spite of the tumult, Claudia has good memories of the weekend:

This edition of FRFF will certainly be remembered most for the "Mighty Storm," but there was another 'force of nature' at work at Dodd's Farm - namely the vocal wallop of the Eddie from Ohio - particularly stirring during the Gospel Wake-up call.Another vocal powerhouse, Vance Gilbert,brought soul to the stage Sunday morning ... and back stage during the deluge: Vance burst into a hearty chorus of "Wade in the Water" at the height of the storm, leading an impromptu sing-a-long that certainly lightened our heavy hearts as a torrent filled the tent.

Hands down, though, Patty Larkin stole the show.By my lights, she is among the most inventive guitarists working in acoustic music today. Her humor from stage mixed with her powerful insights as a songwriter make her truly inimitable. wherever folk music is headed, I'm happy to have Patty leading the charge.

Here’s how some folks captured the chaos on video: