Another year of that super fun southeast musical tradition known as Alaska Folk Fest is wrapping up, and it's time to review the ten basic Folk Fest archetypes to see which one you are:
1. The Busker: Your main priority is jamming out in the street or in a circle in Centennial Hall, and your style inspiration is Dave Grisman meets Papa Pilgrim. You might have a bumper sticker that says something about "pickin' and grinnin'" on your beater VW.
2. The Hyper Kid: You're a minor between the ages of 5 and 12 whose favorite thing about Folk Fest is running through that mud pit outside, begging your parents for candy from the vending machine, scaring them with your proximity to the parking lot, and pissing off all the hard-core Folk Festers (see # 5) with your disruptions. A variation on this is also the "Giggling Band of Tweens."
3. The Baby: You're a baby under one year. You're in knitted Xtra-Tuff booties with delicious giant thighs and are attached to your mom in an Ergo, nursing, or sitting on the floor, making every woman of reproductive age have an ovary twinge. (True story: Folk Fest is is how and why my daughter, Paige, was conceived).
4. The Virtuoso: After two or three earnest amateur acts, you unexpectedly come out of nowhere to set some stringed instrument on fire. You receive a standing ovation and impressed whispers of "where did that person even COME from?"
5. The Die-Hard 43 Year Veteran: You do not miss (nor have you ever missed) a minute of Folk Fest, and especially not the dances or the workshops. You may have been on the Board at some point. You own every piece of Folk Fest merch ever produced and by definition are at least 43 years old. You are generally not a big fan of #2, the Hyper Kid. We all deserve someone who looks at us the way a die-hard Folk Fester looks at a vintage mandolin.
6. The Bars-Only: Too cool for Centennial Hall, you only do Folk Fest at the bars.
7. The Alaskan-Only: Too cool for the bars, you only do Folk Fest at the Alaskan.
8. The Streamer: Too lazy and/or introverted for Centennial, the bars, or the Alaskan, you happily stream that shit on KTOO from the comfort of your own home.
9. The Proselytizer: Your main goal is to set up shop in one location, spread the word of God, and make mothers reach for their children's hands out of a vague sense of concern for their safety.
10. The "What's Folk Fest?": You are very confused about Folk Fest and never saw so many fiddles in one place in your life. You OD on bluegrass by the second day, do not get what all the fuss is about, and are vaguely amused by all the smiling and busking. You probably do not live in downtown Juneau.