The Florida Folk Festival: future perfect.

May 22, 2014 § 9 Comments

Turned out, four times was the charm.

Craig and I (Hot Tamale) finally made it into the Florida Folk Festival. Through three years of rejection we imagined what it would be like–imagined and hankered.

Tomorrow it will become real. But until we roll into Stephen Foster State Park, our guitars in the back, the Florida Folk Festival will be…


three hazy humid days of old guys in plaid shirts picking with calloused fingers.

Young up-and-comers playing impossibly hot licks.

Banjos ringing, dulcimers thrumming.

The clack of spoons and bones.

Voices will breathe life into songs that traveled in steerage across the Atlantic, or wandered south from Appalachia along unpaved roads, and songs that were born in slave cabins accompanied on a washboard that still served its original purpose.

For sure someone will play Freight Train, and everyone will fall in, easy, remembering it as one of the first songs they played sometime back in high school.

Florida’s praises will be sung. All hail her citrus, her sunshine her springs and her oystermen.

Some will sing folk tomorrow’s songs–Craig and I will shoot for that and hope.


Craig Reeder and his GibsonBob Dylan will be there, Leadbelly, Pete Seeger,

Although they will wear different names.

We’ll recognize them only as we look back at the Flip camera footage and say we knew who they were.

We knew.

In the jam tent Craig will trade licks and I’ll harmonize with songs I know in my bones and songs I’ve never heard.

There will be dancing, swaying, toe tapping, finger popping and a great big heartbeat that can only come from a lot of folks making music together.

And the number of guitar cases gathered in one place will exceed the legal limit.


Although we expect to see family and friends when we play, as a kickoff act all three days Craig and I will sing our hearts out to mostly empty chairs.

And not care much at all because this year we’ll be there.

Four times is the charm.

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§ 9 Responses to The Florida Folk Festival: future perfect.

  • KM Huber says:

    My heart is with Hot Tamale on all three days and am anxious to hear the tales. Think I have somewhat of an idea of what this means for you and Craig. In spirit, I’ll be hanging with y’all. That’s me in that front seat, humming along/mouthing the words to a Hot Tamale tune. Have a great time!


  • craig reeder says:

    boy am i excited. hope we don’t blow it!!


  • Sheila Merlau says:

    Thinking and hoping and dreaming and praying for you and yours that the weekend will be more than you ever imagined.


  • I’m with K.M. Huber & everyone else here. P & I & Anna are in those seemingly “empty” chairs.
    It is so huge that Hot Tamale will be on the same stages graced by so many legends of folk music.
    Everything is taped, is my understanding, so it will live on in posterity.
    Brava! Hot lava!
    Your audience of one in the way back is as important as your audience of rolls filled to SRO.
    This is a lovely, historic post!


  • Mary says:

    We do hope you had a great time at the Florida Folk Festival 🎶Mary and Craig


  • carolyn says:

    How did it go at the folk festival??


  • For all of you left wondering, we had a grand time. No plaid shirts–Ray says that must be a northern thing. Being first up there were lots of empty chairs as predicted, but those who were there were appreciative and friendly–we are already hoping for next year and, who knows, we could get lucky and be bumped from ten to ten-thirty!


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