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Video: 15th Annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival continues in Okemah on the folk icon's 100th birthday

by Brandy McDonnell Published: July 14, 2012

Woody Guthrie Folk Festival Okemah, OK

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.

during the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Okemah, Okla., Thursday, July 12, 2012.  Photo by Garett Fisbeck, The Oklahoman
during the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Okemah, Okla., Thursday, July 12, 2012. Photo by Garett Fisbeck, The Oklahoman

Gerry Mochan

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.

Admission: Free.

Parking: Free for daytime events; $15 per car evenings at the Pastures of Plenty Stage. Cost includes a festival program.



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by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1...
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