Scenes From The Prophet Bar's Second Annual Big Folkin' Festival.
In a nutshell, here's everything you need to know about the Prophet Bar's second annual Big Folkin' Festival, which took place across four stages within that Deep Ellum venue and out in its parking lot on Saturday evening: There was all of one — one! — national act featured on the eight-hour-long, almost 30-band-deep bill, and, still, seemingly almost in spite of this fact, close to 1,000 people made it out to the event.
(Oh, and that lone national act — William Beckett, formerly of indie pop outfit The Academy Is… — was quite possibly the smallest draw of the night, as fans seemed more keen on waiting by the nearby, second big room stage for local act Venetian Sailors' set than to watch Beckett noodle away on his guitar.)
So: Three cheers for supporting local music, right? Or maybe just three cheers for folk music. Or, shit, dare we apply the “golden age” term we've been so quick to slap onto the local hip-hop scene of late onto the folk scene as well?
That wouldn't be a completely baseless claim, as Saturday night more than capably proved thanks to stellar sets from a number of folk-influenced acts (an important distinction as, while can may readily throw the term “folk” around when discussing main stage openers Fox & The Bird, it makes less sense when applied to RTB2, who headlined the so-called Folkin' Stage) throughout the course of the affair.
Things truly crested some time around 9:30 p.m. or so; that's when the crowd was its largest and perhaps rightfully so, given the draws of the bands the followed from that point on.
Kirby Brown — still home from New York, somehow, on as extended a vacation as we've ever heard of — shined particularly bright during his 9:30 set, oozing confidence and charm as his thick Texas accent offered his '70s-indebted songs that endearing quality that's made him such a revered performer around these parts.
The O's, meanwhile, joked around as they're wont to do, and shined with their bare-bones indie folk arrangements, which on this night meant a healthy sampling of songs from their upcoming third effort, Thunderdog.
Goodnight Ned, on the other hand, surprised, with their baroque folk sounding rowdier than ever — a description that could similarly be applied to the cow-punk of J. Charles & The Trainrobbers, who followed Goodnight Ned on the Prophet Bar stage, although their own rowdy offering was duly anticipated.
And, from there on out, things mostly kept rocking: Fort Worth kings The Quaker City Night Hawks impressed, per usual, with their hard-driving, impeccably harmonized swamp stomp; RTB2 wowed with their on-stage warbling, if albeit before a criminally tiny crowd; the Roomsounds charmed with their classic rock-indebted songs that, every damn time, sound like something you've heard before, even if you haven't; and even the Cowtown cowpunks in Holy Moly were well-received, if somewhat curiously positioned in the final slot of the night.
In all, it was a long night filled with quality performer after quality performer, with nary a break in the action to be found, even if one were to seek such a moment out.
And, throughout the course of this nonstop auditory onslaught, the answer was found to the question most had about the event while heading into it.
Why weren't there more national acts booked to perform at this festival? Because, we can now state rather obviously, there was just no need.