Happy 100th birthday, Woody Guthrie!
The famed folk bard would have turned 100 years old on Saturday (today), and in his hometown of Okemah, the free Woody Guthrie Folk Festival will include many events the Dust Bowl balladeer likely would have appreciated: poetry readings, children’s activities, a pancake breakfast hosted by his younger sister Mary Jo Guthrie Edgmon and, naturally, lots of live music.
This year, the 15th Annual WoodyFest is part of a worldwide centennial commemoration dubbed “Woody at 100,” a series of all-star concerts, album releases and tributes of all kinds.
Although he is best known for penning the anthem “This Land Is Your Land,” between his birth on July 14, 1912, and his death of Huntington’s disease on Oct. 3, 1967, at the age of 55, Guthrie wrote about 3,000 songs as well as essays, newspaper columns and novels.
At WoodyFest, musicians, fans and relatives of the Oklahoma icon reflected on Guthrie’s lasting legacy as a political rabble-rouser, an insatiable rambler and a complex, colorful character.
Intrepid NewsOK photographer/videographer Garett Fisbeck spent the day and night Thursday at WoodyFest, recording the performances, festivities and crowds.For this video, he also spoke with WoodyFest super-fan Gerry Mochan, who hails from Glasgow, Scotland, now lives in Northern Ireland and has practically become part of the festival, which is attending for his 12th time.
To read my feature on Woody’s legacy at 100, click here.
15th Annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival
When: Through Sunday.
Where: Various venues in Okemah
What: Musical performances, children’s activities, open mike, poetry readings, guitar workshop, fundraisers for the state chapter of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America and more.
Parking: Free for daytime events; $15 per car evenings at the Pastures of Plenty Stage. Cost includes a festival program.