Folks wonder about Sunday’s re-branded music fest

This Sunday thousands of people will flock to Dorchester for the Dot Day festivities, but the UMass Boston-based radio station WUMB is hoping that same day additional thousands will be thronging the university’s harbor campus to patronize its annual concert day, despite changes that have some fans concerned.

Formerly held in the fall and called the “Boston Folk Festival,” the event is now variously referred to on the station’s website as “WUMB Music Fest 2010” and the “13th Annual WUMB Music Festival.”

  The station has been slow in responding to media inquiries, but late Monday WUMB General Manager Pat Monteith issued a brief statement noting that “The name of the Festival was changed to make it more of an ‘inclusive’ event -- rather than ‘exclusive.’ There were many people who thought they had to like ‘folk music’ in order to attend.”

Responding to a puzzled fan, she advised, “We encourage you to check out… the Festival’s line-up, to determine for yourself if the event is consistent with the talent we have brought in during past Folk Festivals.”

One blogger familiar with the festival and folk music scene estimates that 80-90% of the scheduled performers are of the classic “singer-songwriter variety,” but other bloggers worry that the name tweak may portend future format changes.

Some have speculated that WUMB change dthe time of year when it ran its fund- and awareness-raiser because the former September slot was often plagued by bad weather and subsequent financial losses. What’s definite is that  the switch allows the station to piggyback on  UMass commencement  arrangements.

Monteith confirmed, “The Festival was changed from September to take advantage of the tent and stage set-up for Commencement activities. It will save us several thousand dollars .”
One of the better known among the nearly two dozen artists appearing will be David Bromberg, who was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Traditional Folk Album category for his 2007 release “Try Me One More Time.” Another big draw is John Sebastian, a co-founder of The Lovin’ Spoonful, who had his biggest hit with the theme song to the “Welcome Back, Kotter” TV series.

The WUMB website notes that its Field Stage has been moved to a different location than in previous years, and for the first time, will be completely covered by a tent. This stage will be held in the center of the Athletic Field Track in behind the Campus Center and Science Buildings. Performing outside on the Field Stage: Amy Speace, Cliff Eberhardt, Winterbloom, John Sebastian, The Angel Band, David Bromberg Band.

Indoors in the Science Center the Lipke Stage line-up goes: Danielle Miraglia, Guggenheim Grotto, Dala, The Kennedys, Gandalf Murphy & the Slambovian Circus of Dreams.

 The Coffeehouse Stage (Ryan Lounge, third floor of McCormack Building) features Chris O’Brien, Anais Mitchell, Les Sampou with Taylor Armerding, Michael Troy, Songwriters In the Round with Scott Ainslie, Brendan Hogan, Danielle Miraglia.

Food vendors and a children’s music-related craft area will again be found behind the outdoor stage. The annual Songwriting Contest, however, has been put off until next year.
Best of all, the Dot Discount still applies! Monteith clarifies, “Gail Hobin is offering discounts for Dorchester residents as she has done in the past. Contact: Mona at 617-287-5300 or Mona.Connolly-Casper@umb.edu for details.”

Ticket prices range from $15 to $30. FAQ at wumbmusicfest.org clears up some other questions surrounding this re-branded event.