Arlo Guthrie (Associated Press file photo)
From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Arlo Guthrie plans return to WoodyFest in July
Folk singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie will return to Oklahoma this summer to pay tribute to his father, music legend Woody Guthrie.
Arlo Guthrie will play at the 13th annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival July 14-18 in his father’s hometown of Okemah, event organizers announced this week.
The nonprofit Woody Guthrie Coalition organizes the event during the week of the elder Guthrie’s July 14 birthday. Woody Guthrie died in 1967 of Huntington’s disease.
Arlo Guthrie last played the event, also known as WoodyFest, on its 10th anniversary in 2007.
In a 2007 interview with The Oklahoman, he said he is thrilled with the growing festival and the other honors his father has received in his home state, including induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
“I think he’d get such a kick out of that, just knowing him. I think, you know, everybody finds it difficult to be a prophet in their own hometown, and he was no exception. However, I think enough time has passed so that he may not be seen as a prophet, but he definitely is seen as being profitable,” he said with a chuckle.
His father wrote hundreds of political anthems, children’s songs and ballads. His family has worked diligently to get Woody Guthrie’s work out into the public.
“I think my dad has had enough time go by so that people around the world can decide whether they think he’s any good or not, and I think the verdict is in. And I think that’s why it’s easier now to put together the festivals and honor the man the way the state has. I think it’s wonderful,” Arlo Guthrie said.
In the course of his four-decade career, the younger Guthrie also has become a folk icon. The celebrated songwriter of “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” “The Motorcycle Song” and “Coming into Los Angeles” played at Woodstock and has stayed active over the years. Just last year, he performed at the 50th anniversary of the Newport (R.I.) Folk Festival and at Pete Seeger’s star-studded 90th birthday bash.
Others scheduled to perform at WoodyFest 2010 are LaFave, Terri Hendrix, Ellis Paul, Stonehoney, Sam Baker, Antje Duvekot, Don Conoscenti, Audrey Auld, Ronny Elliott, John Fullbright, Joel Rafael, the Red Dirt Rangers and SONiA. Woody Guthrie’s youngest sister, Mary Jo Guthrie Edgmon, is the festival’s perennial guest of honor.
The free four-day festival will include indoor and outdoor concerts, panel discussions, children’s events, open mikes, poetry readings and more. The festival will conclude with the annual Hoot for Huntington’s, a free-form musical jam that raises money for the Oklahoma chapter of the Huntington’s Disease Society.
For information, go to www.woodyguthrie.com.