Music lives on: Tucson Folk Festival goes live on 2 stages, virtual on one | Caliente

After a year of mapping out all the what ifs and then whats, organizers for this weekend’s 36th annual Tucson Folk Festival took a step back in time.

The festival on Saturday, April 10, and Sunday, April 11, will feature nearly half of the artists who were supposed to perform at the 35th annual event last April. That festival with a pared down lineup was moved to the virtual stage in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which at the time was in its infancy.

Festival President Matt Rolland, of the popular Tucson bluegrass band Run Boy Run and the new duo Riso with his wife and bandmate Rebekah Rolland, said the festival reached out to all 130 artists on the 2020 lineup and around 75 of them agreed to do this year’s event.

“They are coming from all over. We actually did have some performers who wanted to come in from out of state,” said Rolland, adding that artists are coming from the Phoenix area, New Mexico, Washington State, California and several other states to participate on three festival stages.

“I love an opportunity to perform and they have been few and far between for the last year,” said headliner Laurie Lewis, who will perform with Nina Gerber on Saturday, April 10. “I was totally on board and Nina was, too.”

This year’s event will include live in-person performances at the MSA Annex at the Mercado San Agustin and a drive-in stage at Park Place mall. Reservations are required for the MSA shows, which will have limited reserved seats, but all are welcome to the drive-in shows. Admission is free.

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