Alternative roots-music acts from across the nation to perform at Bates College festival

Clem Snide

Clem Snide.

Musicians from Texas, New York and southern New England will bring fresh perspectives on traditional sounds to campus for the second annual WRBC Roots Music Festival from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 17, at the Florence Keigwin Amphitheater, adjacent to the Olin Arts Center, Russell Street (rain site: Gray Athletic Building).

Sponsored by Bates’ student-run commnunity radio station, WRBC, the concert is open to the public at no charge.

Featured acts run the gamut from the acoustic folk-blues of Frank Morey to the psychedelic alt-country of Varnaline frontman Anders Parker. “This year we tried to grow the festival by bringing in more regional and national acts,” says Michael Dixon, WRBC’s director of blues and roots music and a producer of the festival.

“This year’s lineup is intended to appeal to a wide variety of tastes, especially those comfortable with an alternative take on the roots scene,” Dixon says. “All of our acts incorporate a strong element of rock into their music, yet retain a connection to country, folk or blues.”

In order of scheduled (and approximate) starting times, the performers are:

  • Barn Burning, from Providence, R.I., playing country with grunge overtones (noon);
  • Natalie Flanagan, a critically acclaimed Boston singer-songwriter whose minimalist style draws comparisons with Lou Reed (12:55 p.m.);
  • Frank Morey, also from Boston, an acoustic folk-blues singer considered the logical heir to such Greenwich Village artists as Dave Van Ronk and the early Dylan (1:55 p.m.);
  • Anders Parker, leader of New York’s Varnaline, whose music one critic described as equal parts “alt-country, post-modern psychedelia and shot-in-the-heart classic folk” (2:50 p.m.);
  • Little Grizzly, a Texas band that calls its style “loud American folk” (3:55 p.m.);
  • and Clem Snide, an artsy, acoustic countryish band from New York (5 p.m.).

People attending the festival are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets. Alcoholic beverages, pets and sound recording equipment are prohibited, as is on-site parking.

WRBC broadcasts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 91.5 FM and may be streamed from the website. Its programming covers the musical map, including metal and loud rock, punk and ska, rap and hip-hop, techno and electronica, garage and psychedelic, jazz and funk, soul and R&B, rock and pop, world and ethnic musics — and, of course, American blues, folk and country.

View Comments