Bonnaroo isnt the only noteworthy outdoor music festival within a stones throw of Nashville: theres also the Americana Folk Festival, back from hiatus this year. At Dicksons comparatively serene Montgomery Bell State Park, its all but guaranteed you wont have to put up with gridlocked gate trafficor nudityto enjoy the full AFF experience. Peruse this years lineup and youll quickly notice that folk and Americana are defined rather broadly; the AFFs website acknowledges as much. But thats not a bad thing. AFFs 30-plus acts include a sizable number of singer-songwriters and a few less bands, many (but not all) acoustic-leaning and based in Nashville. The mix combines thoroughly folk groups like Contrarian Ensemble and The Kindling Stone, the fervent Southern rockacoustic, mind youof Blue Mother Tupelo and Casey Driessen, and Alison Browns startling instrumental innovations. Paul Burch, Eric Wilson, Jennifer Nicely, David Dewese and Megan McCormick are just a few of the high-quality singer-songwriters on the bill, along with refined pop purveyors like Jars of Clay, The Silver Seas and The Old Ceremony. Everything at AFF unfolds at a relaxed pace. Acts arent rushed on and off the premises, and stage setups arent overly complex. Theres plenty to take inincluding visual art, outdoorsy activities and a special organic Yazoo brewbut it never gets overwhelming.
Sat., Nov. 1, 10 a.m., 2008