There was this one gig that Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger attended in Seattle in the early 1940s at which there was song swapping, beer drinking, and political discussion. Mainly, it was a gathering of common folks to make music together, in contrast with more hoity-toity events where a clear distinction is made between the hot shot on stage and the audience. The hosts of these shindigs called them "hootenannies."
Well, Woody and Pete musta had a grand ol' time because they brought the idea of it back to Greenwich Village with them, where eventually they themselves were hosting their own hootenannies full of beatniks and folksters eager to express themselves through the common language of folk music. Pete called it "a healthy mixture of the old and the new." And, ya know, this folk revival eventually gave root to a whole cultural movement.
Some of our favorite gigs have been this sort. Backyard BBQ's, neighborhood block parties, boat-dock bashes - the kind that don't usually get advertised. At such, the stage is nowhere and everywhere, and anybody can join in with a guitar or ukulele, and anything can happen. The food is always abundant. And the drink is always flowing.
Unfortunately (and fortunately), we don't have much photographic documentation of these private shindigs. But here are some such hootenannies we've done through the years:
Junius Heights Block Party, Dallas, 2014 (Photo cred: Patti Richardson)
Catamaran Party, Lake Lewisville, 2014
Greene's Backyard Bash, Princeton, 2014
The Seed Project's Gala in the Garden, Lucas, 2018
The Dallas Yacht Club, Lake Lewisville, 2013
Hootenanny is Americana without borders.
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