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Working Waterfront Festival

New Bedford, MA

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Working Waterfront Festival, New Bedford, MA, US
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508-933-8894

Bio: FESTIVAL OVERVIEW More than simply a celebration, the Working Waterfront Festival is a unique opportunity for the public to get a firsthand look at the culture of fishing and for the commercial fishing community to tell its own story. The event presents all that goes into bringing seafood from the ocean to the table in a way that is hands-on, educational and fun. We encourage you to listen and watch, but also to taste, touch and converse. 2011 THEME The 2011 Festival theme Then & Now: Tradition and Innovation in New England’s Working Ports will explore cultural traditions in commercial fishing communities, pay tribute to industry innovators and consider how the industry has changed over time with the shift from sail to diesel, wood to steel and the advent of such technologies as hydraulics, refrigeration, trucking, email and G.P.S. Performers of sea chanteys, ballads and recitations will share the stage with fishermen who pen original songs and poetry about their work. Music reflecting the ethnic diversity of the working port will include purveyors of both traditional and contemporary forms. Occupational Demonstrations including boat building, trap making, net mending, rigging, knot tying and other aspects of gear work will show that while materials may have changed, many traditional skills are still in use. The Festival’s Narrative Stage will feature panel discussions on topics such as: Honoring the Innovators; Traditions at Sea and On Shore; and Changes in Technology. A number of vessels will provide dockside tours including of state of the art commercial fishing vessels and older vessels such as a wooden side trawler, a 19th century Grand Banks fishing schooner, and a replica of an 18th century pinky schooner. Foodways demonstrations will feature traditional ethnic recipes and age old seafood preservation techniques such as salting, pickling and drying. Films will provide visitors with an opportunity to view historical and contemporary footage taken at sea and on shore. PERFORMERS The Festival brings together a unique array of music and poetry. Performances include traditional sea chanteys, music reflecting the industry’s ethnic diversity and poetry and music about commercial fishing and the sea often performed by musicians who work in the industry. In keeping with this year’s theme, many of the 2011 acts pay tribute to past and present traditions of regional fisheries. The Northern Neck Chantey Singers keep alive a unique tradition of African American work songs from Virginia’s menhaden fishery. Calico Jack, the dynamic folk duo of Janie Meneely and Paul DiBlasi, celebrates the people, places and history of the Chesapeake Bay and the oyster industry. Castlebay which features Julia Lane and Fred Gosbee, weaves together Maine's ageless nautical and British Isles legacies transporting their audience through time and across the Atlantic. Maine-based folksinger Dave Rowe is known as much for his hairy-chested, fiddle-driven maritime and Celtic classics and rollicking Appalachian songs as he is for his captivating originals and his Downeast, common-sense wit. He’ll be joined by bassist/vocalist Kevin O’Reilly and fiddler/vocalist Zach Ovington. Crabgrass features Daisy Nell, native of Essex, MA, mainstay of the shipbuilding industry for over 300 years, who brings to life New England’s maritime history through traditional songs of the sea. She is joined by Stan Collinson, Pat Conlon and Jack Schwartz. With a nod to the Norwegian scallop industry, NØÍR is a European roots music band which fuses the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle (Hardingfele) and the Northumbrian smallpipes from England. Local legend Ana Vinagre performs Portuguese fado, a tradition which grew up in the port city of Lisbon and speaks to the Portuguese involvement in commercial fishing in the old country and the new world. Several performers who write from personal experience working in the industry are also on tap for the weekend including festival regular Jon Campbell who leads Something Fishy, a song/poetry swap of material created and performed by fishermen. Also included in this group are several fisherpoets. Geno Leech began writing poetry while drag fishing on the COLUMBIAN STAR off the Oregon/Washington coast. Today, Geno works aboard a hopper dredge in the Gulf of Mexico. Colin Williams and Charlotte Enoksen will also present original poetry about the industry. Festival favorites, Souls of the Sea, a Gloucester-based folk-rock trio performs on Saturday. The New Bedford Harbor Sea Chantey Chorus closes out the day on Sunday. In addition to performances of music, the Festival features: children’s activities, cooking demonstrations, vessel and harbor tours, fisherman’s contests, author readings, film screenings, local seafood, festival bookstore, maritime artisans marketplace & more.

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