"Shindig on the Green and Mountain Dance and Folk Festival Quotes"

"Those of us who attended the Mountain Dance and Music Festival held at McCormick Field last night were very much impressed with the charm, simplicity, and naturalness of the program.  We think that the Chamber of Commerce is to be congratulated upon the vision they had seven years ago before people in general recognized and understood the worth of the fine old traditional ballads and mountain music...As a nation, we are just old enough to recognize the beauty and worth of our pioneer ways...The spontaneous response of the audiences to the folk festival here this week indicates in the strongest terms that the people of Asheville and Western North Carolina are tremendously interested in the arts which are a genuine part of their heritage.  We should take pride in these folk arts and they should be developed and presented in public programs each year as something distinctive and unique, something that will doubtless serve to attract to the region thousands and thousands of people who are interested in this valuable heritage form our pioneer ancestors." 

from a 1934 radio address on Asheville station WWNC by Miss Sarah Gertrude Knott, director of the National Folk Festival, St. Louis Missouri.

"The Festival has provided a stage to honor our heritage through the older musicians and has provided a venue to the younger ones coming up.  It has given musicians like myself a place to find our voices." 

Laura Boosinger, 2002.  Has been attending and performing in the Festival since 1979.

 

Shindig on the Green just might be the most important season-long series in Western North Carolina with regards to delivering Appalachian styles to audiences that are both newcomers to and long-time supporters of these traditions.  WNCW listeners frequently call us to ask for details about the upcoming Shindigs and the artists that perform there.  Sure, there are plenty of folk concerts and festivals throughout the state; but perpetuating one that is both long-standing AND doesn’t require a charge to patrons (which no doubt reduces the chances of newcomers to discover these traditions) is crucial.  I see Shindig as also a great marketing boon for WNC, thanks to the numerous tourists who discover it while visiting Asheville.

The MDFF is a real jewel in the crown for all of North Carolina.  The NATION’s longest running folk festival?  That alone makes it worth supporting!

Martin Anderson, Music Director & Morning Host WNCW-FM Spindale, NC  
 

I remember the very first Shindig.  It used to face the courthouse with the big stone behind the band.  (The stone was really big then because I was only 10 or 11 years old.)  My father (Bob Lindsey) and Jerry Israel rushed about setting up the stage and hooking up extension cords. I remember looking up and seeing those in jail looking down at the festivities and thinking what a highlight it must have been for them.  Year after year it continued with regulars coming with their chairs and blankets.  My brothers and I sold cider and oatmeal cookies.  The show was great but the highlight was afterwards with the small groups gathering under every tree to pick.  You could hear the music wafting from far away.

Toone Lapham, Daughter of Bob Lindsey, Dancer, Cider and Cookie Seller, Asheville, NC 
 

      I can think of no better example of celebrating North Carolina’s Folklife than Shindig on the Green!  When I last lived in Asheville, Shindig was new and fun; a small little event that featured local talent.  When I returned to the area ten years ago, I was amazed at Shindig’s growth and the energy it generated in the region.  We have had the opportunity to take visitors from around the country and the world.  The reaction is always the same:  They feel as if they have learned and experienced the richness of the region’s culture.  To see children dancing, hear the stories that Glen Bannerman and the other emcees weave into their introductions, to watch cloggers, hear Bluegrass, folk, country music, blues—all in one evening is amazing.  The organizers bring an event to the people that crosses all demographic lines.  I hope the Association will recognize the invaluable contribution that Shindig on the Green brings to honoring North Carolina folklife.

Jeannie C. Douglas, Audience Member, Greeneville, TN 
 

As we were building our cabin up by Big Bald Mountain in Yancey County, our architect, Wayne Roberts, began introducing us to some of the culture aspects of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. As a native of Madison County and a pretty fair musician and storyteller himself, Wayne was always introducing us to a musician friend or suggesting that we go to this place or that to hear some "good" music. One of his recommendations was the annual three-day Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in Asheville, so some seven or eight years ago we took his advice and attended one of the performances.  Through the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival we have gained an understanding of and appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of these mountains we have come to love. The festival is very effective in promoting the music, dance, and storytelling traditions of mountain families. It is wonderful to watch the pure joy on the faces of performers while they're singing, playing or clogging with their children and grandchildren, or to hear that a ballad singer learned the song from a grandmother or great aunt. The festival has truly enriched our lives.

Jim & BA Shaver, Audience Members, Aiken, SC 
 

We've lived in WNC 12 years. We found The Shindig on the Green early on, and wouldn't miss it for anything. When we have out of state house guests, you can bet they'll be dancing as Glenn Bannerman calls the street dance. Most say it's the most authentic fun they've ever had on a vacation. We agree! 

Mike & Linda Kirchen, The Stringalong Band, Hendersonville, NC, 
 

We have attended the Mountain Dance and Music Festival for the past 4 years.  It is one of the highlights of our year.  We don't come down off the "high" for days after listening to the incredible array of talent, young and old, that we experience at that festival.  No where else have we seen the "old-time" music and dance preserved and carried on like we have in Asheville at that festival. 

Linda and Steve Banwarth, Audience Members, Aiken, SC

I began attending the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in the 1980's and it had a profound effect on me. It exposed me to the music of folks who lived in my western North Carolina community and motivated me to learn more about the culture here and my heritage. Shindig has also been a regular event for me over the years and has done much to bring the music of our area and beyond to the locals and to visitors from around the world, giving them the opportunity to experience live music and performances. Both are signature events for North Carolina.  

Tim Barnwell, photographer and author of three books on Appalachia

“The Face of Appalachia,”  “On Earth's Furrowed Brow,” “Hands in Harmony” Asheville, NC 
 

I love taking out of town guest to Shindig on the Green.  I have never experienced anything quite like it elsewhere.  Such a welcoming, inclusive atmosphere is creative.  And all that music makes you want to dance!  I have also told stories there and appreciate the continuing support of the traditional arts.

The Mountain Dance and Folk Festival deserves praise for its longevity.  I remember the excitement, especially in the early days, seeing what seemed like hundreds of people back stage, from young children to elders, all waiting for their chance to go on stage and shine.

Connie Regan-Blake, Professional storyteller

Founding member of the National Storytelling Organization, Asheville, NC 
 

Having recently moved back to WNC after living away for 45 years, I find the Shindig on the Green to be a treasure trove for reconnecting with musicians and dancers I previously knew and getting exposure to new talent.  I was a member of the Canton YMCA Clogging Square Dance Team for six years in the 1950s and danced at The Mountain Dance and Folk Festival every year and my dad and his band, Luke Smathers String Band, played at the Festival for many years.  Along about sundown on the first weekend in August has and always will be the time to enjoy the best music and dance in this region.    

Linda Smathers, Audience Member/Former Dancer, Asheville, NC 
 

The Shindig on the Green is one of the main reasons that traditional music is still a strong force in Western North Carolina. Shindig has provided a public meeting place for performing and jamming for decades. As a young musician in Asheville, I was able to meet and play with some of my musical heroes. And today, forty years later, young musicians can still find friendly jam sessions to hone their skills and even have a chance to perform on stage with musical veterans before an enthusiastic audience.  For me, Shindig on the Green remains one of the foundations of a strong mountain music tradition in Western North Carolina.  

David Holt, Asheville, NC 
 

Shindig on the Green and Mountain Dance and Folk Festival were always marked the end of summer for me.  It was a time for getting the whole family together so that we could share in the pleasure of clogging for an audience.  Ever since I was in grade school when Mom and Dad would say, we're going to the mountains to dance at the festival, my sisters and I would get so excited.  We got to see our grandparents, aunts and uncles, and most importantly our cousins who we loved to play with along the trees around Shindig on the Green and the Festival hall.  I remember we would practice the set an hour or so before we were to go on, and we found out who our partner would be.  Then we would go into the dressing rooms, the girls, moms, aunts, grandmother in the ladies. In the men's room all the boy cousins, dad, and the uncles changed.  Grandaddy was always already dressed in the pressed white polo with the Bannerman Family logo on it, and of course, the red suspenders which the rest of the men in the family wore grudgingly.  Then our time would come and on we went.  The open dark green stage at Shindig on the Green held us a few feet above the crowd which often was invited to dance alongside the stage with us after we "let the hammer down." We are so grateful to have a home in Asheville among the great heritage that lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  I'm lucky to have been raised in a family who passed on the heritage and to have lived in a community that fostered that kind of learning.

Tamara Gunn, dancer, L.A. Film School Grad, Los Angeles, CA 
 

I have always believed that Shindig on the Green and the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival are signature events for Asheville and Western North Carolina.  They are universally embraced as celebrations of the region’s rich artistic heritage, and every occasion brings to life musical traditions that have been handed down for generations. You will look a long time before you find an event that has a more devoted and far-flung following than these two joyous gatherings.  They represent the best that Asheville has to offer.

Donna Clark, Pack Square Conservancy, Asheville, NC

 

"My parents moved to the Asheville area about 5 years ago after they retired. One of their favorite things to do in the summer is spend the evening at Shindig. My Dad always raves about the latest singers and musicians that he has seen. Your events bring tons of enjoyment to the community. Keep up the good work!"

 

-Written letter from individual donor