Each night of the festival features a completely different showcase of comics, most of whom are making their first appearance in Asheville. “We keep a very wide revolving door with fresh talent coming in,” says executive producer Charlie Gerencer.
“The longevity of this festival comes from the wonderful ancestry that has evolved out of the mountains,” says Loretta Freeman. “You’ll have up to five generations in a family that are still playing music.”
Many of the festival’s participants come from places where the arts may be overshadowed by political controversy. This year’s lineup includes the Turkish multi-instrumentalist Omar Faruk Tekbilek and his son Murat Tekbilek, the Iranian percussionist Naghmeh Farahmand and the Lebanese drummer Yousif Sheronick with his wife, violist Kathryn Lockwood.
Drawing from the approach of classic hip-hop producers such as Pete Rock, Diamond D and Large Professor, Worsham’s beats resonated with Bristol’s attitude toward rapping.
The three “Legends of Africa” artists Mountain Xpress spoke with from this spring’s festival all drew on the participatory atmosphere during their weekend performances.
To celebrate the open mic and jam session’s third anniversary, organizer Jon Edwards is returning Musicians in the Round to its roots: Every Monday in May is devoted to songs written within 60 miles of Asheville.
The program that emerged from Pickering’s trip, LEAF International Rwanda, is now sending four of its performers to LEAF. The young Rwandans will join over 400 other artists at the festival’s 44th edition, which takes over Camp Rockmont from Thursday, May 11, to Sunday, May 14.
The showcase of local musicians and videographers returns to the Diana Wortham Theatre on Wednesday, April 19. The awards show has grown from its modest beginnings at the now-defunct Cinebarre movie house into a red-carpet extravaganza downtown — a course of success that mirrors the ever-increasing relevance of music videos themselves in the online age.