59th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival August 13-16, 2020



Christine Lavin is a singer/songwriter/guitarist/recording artist/author/videographer based in New York City. Her latest solo album, her 25th, ON MY WAY TO HOOTERVILLE, includes 10 new songs and one re-worked song, “Ramblin’ Waltz,” a re-telling of her time in 1975 when she was an entourage driver for the first week of Bob Dylan’s iconic “Rolling Thunder Revue” tour.

In May 2021 Christine received an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from her alma mater, the State University of New York at Brockport. In an odd twist, she has a younger brother also named Chris (born on Columbus Day) who also in May 2021 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from his alma mater, Hobart/William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY.

What are the odds there would be two Chris Lavins from the same family to both be awarded honorary doctorates one week apart?

During much of the pandemic, Christine made ends meet by performing online concerts, writing and recording songs, creating videos for other artists, and selling her books and CDs from her website (she is the president, secretary, messenger, and complaint department of her record company, while becoming friends with all the window clerks at her Lower East Side post office). For most of her online concerts she asked for requests, and many of her fans asked for songs she hadn’t performed in years. Much to their delight, she went about re-learning many of them. Her show at the Birdland Theater will be a combination of her most requested songs, but with a surprising modern twist. And because her passion over the years has always been promoting the work of other songwriters, she will have one of them do a cameo performance as part of her concert on Sunday September 26th at the Birdland Theater in NYC.

Singer and children’s music instructor Molly Hebert-Wilson has degrees in Irish studies and Musical Theater from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. An actress, musician, and vocalist, Molly’s vocal styles range from classical to powerhouse belting. Molly imbues Irish, French and English language songs with character and meaning. As PFS’ Education and Membership Manager, Molly runs the Philadelphia Folk School and teaches the Early Childhood Music Education courses. She is the Director of the Great Groove Band, teaching and preparing children for performance at Philly Folk and other festivals. Molly also performs in the Philadelphia band, Rare Spirits.

Dave Ernst has been a fixture in the Kentucky music scene his entire life. No stranger to the local and regional music scene as a singer/songwriter and guitarist, Dave in the 90’s, drove the local music scene performing in notable Louisville bands such as Big Wheel & Starbilly alongside national touring and recording artist, Peter Searcy.

Over the last few years, Dave has pursued his lifelong dream of writing and recording a batch of Americana/Folk songs. His debut album, Hickory Switch, was released on March 1, 2019 on Eastwood Records. His songs have a sound that is deeply rooted in Kentucky but are definitely an amalgamation of Tom Petty, Jason Isbell & Chris Stapleton with a bit of mountain bluegrass thrown in.

Recently, Dave Ernst & The Early Favorites had the honor of playing the Masters Musicians Festival and shared the stage with the legendary John Prine, Amanda Shires, JD McPherson as well as many others. Dave also was featured at the WFPK Waterfront Wednesday concert series in July of 2019.

Jonathan Byrd and The Pickup Cowboy are musical gunslingers, vaudevillian hucksters, and old-fashioned tent revivalists. And earlier this year, they were part of the Merlefest on the Road tour. Between heartbreaking ballads and high-energy sing-alongs, the Cowboys entertain and get audiences involved in the show. Byrd is a seventh generation North Carolinian, a preacher’s son, a Gulf War veteran, and an award-winning songwriter known for literary, outsider songs that have become campfire favorites. The Chicago Tribune called Byrd “one of the top 50 songwriters of the past 50 years.” Multi-instrumentalist Johnny Waken cut his teeth on electric guitar in Pittsburgh with rock legend Norm Nardini, opening for The Blues Brothers Band on their Red, Hot & Blue tour in 1992. On stage and after hours, he jammed with members of Bon Jovi and the legendary Steve Cropper. At the age of 24, Waken left music to pursue primitive skills and through-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2000 with an eleven-pound pack. Returning to music years later, Waken joined theatre troupe Paperhand Puppet Intervention, contributing to scores for nine shows and winning four Indy Awards for best original music.


Created in a world first collaboration between founding partners Sounds Australia, Showcase Scotland Expo, and East Coast Music Association (ECMA), along with export organizations and showcase events from around the world, Global Music Match is a returning initiative created to continue raising the profile of local artists in international music markets within the challenging parameters of the COVID 19 pandemic.

The program is a unique response to the limitations imposed on the music industry, that makes use of the only available platform – social media and peer-to-peer collaboration – to increase networks and exposure for export-ready artists internationally.

Global Music Match artists are joining the Philadelphia Folk Festival from FOURTEEN countries and include:

‘Ndiaz (Brittany)

Andrea Kirwin (Australia)

Andrew Waite (Canada)

Blue Rose Code (Scotland)

Clare Sands (Ireland)

Eliza Marshall (England)

Émilie Landry (Canada)

Eve Goodman (Wales)

Findlay Napier (Scotland)

Francesca de Valence (Australia)

Gnoss (Scotland)

Golosa La Orquestra (Chile)

Gretta Ziller (Australia)

HuDost (USA)

Jessica Pearson and the East Wind (Canada)

Joel Havea (Australia)

La Riippa Group (Finland)

Lilli Lewis (USA)

Lucy Farrell (England)

Lynne Hanson (Canada)

Max ZT (USA)

Megan O’Neill (Ireland)

Melanie Horsnell (Australia)

Mombao (Italy)

Monique Clare (Australia)

Musketeer (Australia)

N’Famady Kouyate (Wales)

Northern Resonance (Sweden)

Ösp Eldjárn (Iceland)

Paz Court (Chile)

Pretty Archie (Canada)

Quote the Raven (Canada)

Rich Davies & The Low Road (Australia)

Ruth Hazleton (Australia)

Sonia Aimy (Canada)

Stampestuen (Norway)

Terra Spencer (Canada)

The Jellyman’s Daughter (Scotland)

Thea Hopkins (USA)

Tom West (Australia)

Tori Sparks (Catalonia)

Windborne (USA)

Nardello’s fans describe her as relatable, passionate, soulful, and unapologetically real. A modern torch bearer for the powerful, independent female folk singer. Janis Ian meets Janice Joplin! Nardello’s refined accessibility draws from folk, rock & pop. She can tug at your heartstrings with her softer tunes and get you dancing on your feet with her upbeat songs and powerful voice.

Nardello recently won a contest and had the opportunity to sing with Brandi Carlile at Carlile’s all women’s festival in Mexico and was then named a top “Emerging Artist To Know” by NPR. Nardello has made a nice name for herself in the Tri-State area winning the prestigious Philadelphia Songwriter’s Project Contest and the Tri-State Indie’s “Acoustic Artist Of The Year.” Her songs, “Leave The Light On” and “Home To Me” each won WSTW’s Award for Folk Song Of The Year. Nardello has toured extensively opening for well known artists Colbie Caillat, Brandi Carlile, Gabe Dixon, Emerson Hart of Tonic Fame, Tim Reynolds of The Dave Matthews Band and Ron Pope.

For her latest release, Nardello teamed up with long time friend and collaborator, Matt Duke, to produce her new EP, Human. “For me, “Human” is a collection of songs that explores vulnerable topics. Loving someone when they are broken. Striving to challenge yourself when you are stuck. The final stages of life and all that is unknown. It is truly a soundtrack of my life and the people in it. I always get nervous before releasing new music and my only hope is that anyone who listens can connect to these songs in some special way.”

If there is one musician who embodies the dynamism and vitality of the current English folk revival, it’s Eliza Carthy. Beloved of staunch traditionalists and iconoclasts alike, Eliza’s music effortlessly crosses boundaries of genre and style. Whether performing a centuries-old ballad or a self-written song, her powerful, nuanced voice, fiercely beautiful fiddle playing and mesmerizing live performances have influenced a whole generation of young musicians.

Describing herself simply as a “modern English musician”, Eliza Carthy is one of the most recognisable faces in British folk. Born into a formidable musical dynasty, her mother Norma was one of The Watersons (whose tight harmony arrangements of traditional songs became one of the defining sounds of the 1960s folk revival) and her father Martin Carthy is a hugely influential singer and guitarist. Making music with her family has been a constant throughout her life, beginning when she joined The Waterdaughters at the age of 13 and continuing to this day. In recent years, she has released the award-winning album The Moral of the Elephant (2014) with her father, as well as Gift (2010) and Anchor (2018) with The Gift Band, a loose collective featuring many members of her extended family. She has also curated NormaFest, an annual celebration of her mother’s continuing contribution to the folk tradition.

Steeped in the folk traditions of England from an early age, the incredible range of traditional and contemporary musicians who were part of the extended Waterson/Carthy world helped her develop her own unique approach to this music.

Van Walker is a Tasmanian native who’s prolific songwriting productivity has seen him become a ‘cult figure locally’ in his adopted Melbourne, having written over 500 songs across many genres, releasing 6 full length albums between 2008 & 2010, a selection of which the Fuse Music Group realised in 2012 on the Underneath the Radar compilation, which met with national critical acclaim, prompting Beat Magazine to quip: “If Bob Dylan was born 20 years later and grew up fraternising in Collingwood bars, he would sound like this,” and Mess & Noise to state, “Literary vigour and scathing social commentary, if there is any justice in this world, Underneath the Radar will provoke a radical awareness & appreciation of Van Walker’s songwriting talents.”

Since then Van has been busy touring nationally and internationally, writing and releasing two albums with the powerpop outfit The Livingstone Daisies (2013, PBS Album of the Year) (2014 4.5 Stars AGE EG) with Liz Stringer, his brother Callan, and Michael Barclay (Paul Kelly/Mick Thomas), recording and touring Heartbrokers with Jeff Lang, Ash Davies and Ezra Lee; forming the three piece blues boogie outfit Goatpiss Gasoline; while also writing and performing as a member of the critically acclaimed Vandemonian Lags stage production.

Sal Kimber is steeped in talent, personality, and connection. Sal’s authentic and warm stage presence, storytelling and antipodean vocals, along with the captivating musicianship of her close-knit band ‘The Rollin’ Wheel has seen the five piece win over loyal audiences all over Australia. Born and bred in the mountain valleys of Victoria, Kimber’s songwriting is stitched with tales of rivers, wild horses, flood, fire and the strength and vulnerability of the human spirit. Sal’s third album “Southern Light”, released in early 2016, featuring the talented Rollin’ Wheel and captured by award winning producer Shane O’Mara, is an expansive, soulful route through country, folk, rock and pop. Picking up accolades, rave reviews, feature album slots across the country
and high-rotation on ABC and Community radio, “Southern Light” #1 on the AMRAP Regional Airit Charts for two consecutive weeks.

Fenn Wilson ‘s stunning vocals and mesmerizing stage presence shows a depth of talent which belies his young age and prompted both Queenscliff Music Festival and Port Fairy Festival to announce him as their emerging artist of the year in 2018/17. Think George Ezra with Nick Cave’s early songbook. With a baritone that is resonant and expressive well beyond his years. Fenn’s songwriting forms a snapshot of his recent past; brushes with heartache, depression, world-weariness and uncertainty, and often
lightened with compassionate observation, love and redemption Fenn unleashed his debut album, “Ghost Heroin” onto the world in October 2019 and the Jury is in with AIR making it their feature album of the week and critics reaching for superlatives.