The Harmony of folks

Festival features locals and nationally known musicians

Festival features locals and nationally known musicians

July 18, 2002

Maureen Harrigan describes the Country Roads Folk Festival as sort of a large family reunion.

"I feel like I know them all," she says of the musicians who perform and the people who come to listen.

The third annual festival - music and workshops, food, fun and folk fellowship, will take place this weekend at Almost Heaven Farm just off W.Va. 9 at Opequon Lane between Martinsburg and Charles Town, W.Va.

Harrigan and her husband Steve Workings will welcome local performers along with nationally known folk-music names - Tom Paxton, Bryan Bowers, Bill Danoff, Robin and Linda Williams - to their 10-and-a-half-acre haven on the Opequon Creek.


"There's something about this place that's very special," Harrigan says.

Music on two stages will begin at noon Saturday, July 20. There's an arts and crafts tent, a "fun field" where kids can pick up a game of soccer, croquet or horseshoes, get their faces painted or get cooled off by the water mister.

Performers will conduct workshops even beginners can enjoy, including sessions on songwriting, hammer dulcimer, guitar, autoharp and "hambone" - body-slapping hand percussion, Harrigan says.

She calls the event a musician's festival as much as an audience festival.

"It's something good that's happening here," agrees Becky Lidgerding of Shepherdstown, W.Va. Lidgerding, who plays flute, pennywhistle and piccolo, is a member of O'Hurley's General Store String Band, a quintet that plays Thursday nights at the Shepherdstown general store of the same name.

The band will play Saturday, sans its dulcimer-playing leader Jay O'Hurley. Sam Rizetta, a maker of dulcimers, will join the group.

Folk icon Tom Paxton is scheduled to play in the Sunday, 6 p.m. slot. "I always love to come to West Virginia," he says. The weekend will be his third visit to the festival.

Paxton recently performed with Judy Collins in New York and New Jersey, and says he tours little as possible. "I just take a beating on the road." But the Alexandria, Va., resident doesn't consider the trip to West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle traveling.

"He could just show up and play his set and leave," Harrigan says of the singer/songswriter who wrote classics that include "Last Thing on My Mind." He comes and listens to other performers and sits on the back porch and talks to people, she says.

Country Roads is one way for Harrigan to "give back." She believes it's important to preserve and pass on the music of America. The festival is cross-generational, she says. "You just don't want the music to die," she says.

Harrigan has been involved with the Washington, D.C.-based World Folk Music Association for years. "I think so much can happen through music," she says.

Music and community will happen at Country Roads.

"I want people here to have a special memory," she says. "It's just a harmony of folks."

Saturday, July 20

Field Stage

Noon - Todd Coyle Trio

12:45 p.m. - Women in Folk: Annie Wenz, Terri Allard, Stephanie Corby, Rachel Bissex

1:45 p.m. - O'Hurleys General Store String Band w/ Sam Rizzetta

2:30 p.m. - Sam Rizzetta

2:45 p.m. - Good Deale Bluegrass Band

3:30 p.m. - Brooks Williams

4:15 p.m. - Hot Soup!

5 p.m. - Bryan Bowers

6 p.m. - The Kennedys

7 p.m. - Tom Prasada-Rao, accompanied by Amilia Spicer

8 p.m. - Robin & Linda Williams

Barn Stage

1 p.m. - Hot Soup! for Kids

2 p.m. - Annie Wenz

2:30 p.m. - Terri Allard

3p.m. - Stephanie Corby

3:30 p.m. - Rachel Bissex

4:30 p.m. - The Happy Homesteaders

6 p.m. - Barn Dance - family friendly - with Padovan, Hickman, Devine & Two Spears of Wild Asparagus

Sunday, July 21

Field Stage

Noon - Side by Side

12:45 p.m. - Mack Bailey

2:15 p.m. - Ed & Eldred

3 p.m. - Bill Danoff

4 p.m. - Linda Lou's Lucky 4 Band

5 p.m. - John Denver Tribute

6 p.m. - Tom Paxton

Barn Stage

Noon - Folk Gospel

2 p.m. - Larkfire

3 p.m. - Annie Wenz

4 p.m. - Morning Star Consort

Third Annual Country Roads Folk Festival

Almost Heaven Farm

Off W.Va. 9 and Opequon Lane, between Martinsburg and Charles Town, W.Va.

Tickets cost $18 per day or $30 per weekend for adults (those older than 12); $9 per day or $15 per weekend for ages 5-12; $50 per day or $80 per weekend for family (two adults and up to three kids).

Inquire about rates for groups of 25 or more.

Primitive campsites available Saturday and Sunday cost $15 per site per night. Includes Sunday pancake breakfast.

Directions from Hagerstown:

Take Interstate 81 south to Martinsburg, Exit 12, (Winchester Avenue)

Go left off exit. Travel 3.5 miles on W.Va. 9 east.

Turn right on Opequon Lane.

Go 0.8 mile to Grant Acres Estate, and turn right.

There will be hay-wagon shuttles to the festival from parking area. There also will be handicap accessible parking closer to the site.

For information, call 1-304-267-7963 or go to on the Web.

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