Folk music fans gather once again
By BARBARA L. FREDRICKSEN
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 9, 2001
More than 50 of Florida's best folk musicians and thousands of Florida folk music lovers are expected to descend upon the Sertoma Youth Ranch near Dade City this weekend for the 12th annual Will McLean Music Festival.
The event started as a tribute to McLean, known as the "Black Hat Troubadour," who traveled the width and breadth of Florida teaching about "nature's bounty and man's propensity for destroying all that makes the state lovely and desirable," according to a news release from Mem Semmes and Margaret Longhill, who started the festival.
The event will have singers and musicians on four stages; a Circle of Song, where those who attend can hear talks, take instruction and get musical advice from the performers; workshops for budding musicians; contra dancing; campfire jams; handmade crafts for sale; and several booths selling festival food.
For kids 12 and younger, there are special programs both days. A Teen Tent opens at 1 p.m. Saturday.
"Much handshaking and hugging, yes, even kissing, go on, for Willfest brings together a host of friends who delight in seeing one another again," Ms. Semmes said. "We had about 2,500 come last year, and our advance ticket sales are going even better this year. We're looking forward to showcasing this Florida talent."
A highlight of the festival comes when the winners of the annual Will McLean Best New Florida Song Contest perform their compositions at noon Saturday. This year's winners are Robbin Bach of Jacksonville, first place for Ichetucknee Blues; Marie Nofsinger of Delray Beach, second place for Sweet Home Florida; and Lucinda Kidd Hackney of Naples, third place for Gator in the Slough.
For weekend campers, there's a potluck dinner at 6:30 p.m. today.
Those who attend should bring lawn chairs or picnic blanket, sunscreen and bug repellent.
If you go
WHAT: Will McLean Music Festival
WHERE: Sertoma Youth Ranch, 7 miles west of Dade City, a mile and a half east of Interstate 75, off County Road 41. Take exit 60.
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
TICKETS: Saturday is $12; Sunday is $10. Both days are $20. Campsites, $7 a day; $12 with electrical hookup.
© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111