At what's become an annual jam session, volunteers and organizers let loose at the Folk Fest afterparty in the hotel where artists stay. There, they're witness to some unique, late-night collaborations among artists. And that's not to mention the traditional late-night hotel hallway bowling tournament. Folk Fest programming chairman Jim Wark, a former Style publisher, shares some of the highlights.
2005: In the festival's inaugural year, this afterparty jam didn't happen at the hotel. Members of Frank London's Klezmer Brass All-Stars headed over to Buz and Ned's Real Barbecue after their set for chow, and brought their instruments. Word spread and quite a few volunteers and audience members followed, where the musicians pounded pulled pork and blasted out klezmer, polka and oom-pah music long into the night.
2009: Piedmont blues legend Phil Wiggins led a boisterous Chicago blues workout with backing from Clinton Fearon's reggae band and members of go-go giants Trouble Funk.
2010: A gyrating Saeid Shanbehzadeh of Iran and his pink, fuzzy bagpipelike instrument led a sweaty, one-chord funk jam worthy of Sly and the Family Stone. The band included members of La Excelencia (salsa), Boukman Eksperyans (Haitian mizik rasin), festival manager Stephen Lecky and me.
2011: Members of funk masters Original P took the stage as a unit and delivered a mind-roasting set of electric fusion jazz, reminiscent of 1970s-era music of Chick Correa and Stanley Clarke. The blistering set kicked off the afterparty jam, setting the bar high for those who followed.
2013: Cajun masters Jesse Jesse Lége and Joel Savoy teamed up with Newfoundland band the Dardanelles to trade songs from their respective homelands. They were camped out in front of the hotel elevators — the first sounds that hotel guests heard when they left the lift.