As I have done in the past I chose to be a volunteer for the 25th New Bedford Folk Festival. It was great because my college friend Paula and I signed up together. After our shifts we took in the sights, sounds, and food of New Bedford at its best in perfect weather.
I was so delighted with the orientation provided by Beatriz Oliveira and Shayla Manning. There I made new friends with other volunteers. I had a great time meeting some musicians, buying their CDs at the Zeiterion, and working as an Ambassador at the “Z” for my 4-hour shift.
Volunteerism is rewarding in that you are a face of kindness and welcome for New Bedford. My assistance required making sure those entering the doors to the concert had their wristbands. As a local music educator and musician, my observation was that the median age of folk festival attendees was my generation and older for the most part.
At one point after my shift Paula and I watched one of the concerts on Saturday afternoon and the house at the “Z” was packed. People came from all over to share in New Bedford’s rich folk heritage.
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I am proud to say that the Folk Festival was received with phenomenal enthusiasm and wonderful entertainment. If it is here to stay, I challenge the next generation to not only see what it is all about but to participate as volunteers.
Born in 1959, the folk era of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s is clearly what put a guitar in my hand by my preteen years to complement my piano lessons. I attended Tryworks which was the NB coffeehouse in 1976-77 with fellow high school seniors and witnessed the “late and greats” with Maggie Pierce of Fairhaven hosting. I remember singing for their open mic “We May Never Pass This Way Again” by Seals & Crofts.
My quest is to pass the torch to the next generation so long will live the New Bedford Folk Festival. Peace & Hope.
Rita T. Campoli is an educator and musician.
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