3rd Annual Harry Smith Festival in Millheim

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Kai Schafft, founder of the Harry Smith Festival, and Kevin Moist, Harry Smith scholar, discuss the Anthology of American Folk Music that Smith created, and they illustrate their points with excerpts from recordings as well as a live studio performance by the band Chicken Tractor. Schafft also describes the lineup of artists scheduled to perform at the festival, held at the Elk Creek Cafe and Aleworks in Millheim on Nov. 14.


Paul Rutter
State College
Nov 16, 2010

The music was terrific. I was only there from 2 to 5 on Sunday and only half of the ten performers had been on stage. The sound was fine if the band was loud otherwise there was an awful lot of talking in the back that was about the same volume as some of the more quiet groups performing. The event was $20, a price that is okay. I stood up for three hours while watching many seats at tables go unfilled.

I was told there was a “community seating” (my words) type thing with people coming and going, but when I would ask different tables if I could join them I was always told no, yet no one would be sitting there for an entire act or more. Since I was standing the entire time, I was not drinking beer or eating a meal-not good for the venue.

The good thing though, the music for the most part was outstanding. I heard the Carter Family’s Single Girl; performed with a clarinet by Doug McMinn playing with Hannah Bingman quietly on guitar. Curtis Eller, with a “plugged in” yet wireless banjo was an awesome performer as was the entire group he was with. I would go to hear his group again.

I think the Elk Creek can make some simple changes to get the festival right for everyone. The secret I guess if you go to Elk Creek for next year’s Harry Smith Festival is go early to get a table near the front-just remember to share if you have an empty place. The music is definitely worth the hassle.

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