Since the inception of the Moab Folk Festival, it has been a must-see for gay and lesbians in Utah. The festival is set in some of the most beautiful country in the state and as the weather is cooling off in November, the climate is just perfect for the annual lineup of terrific performers. This year features openly lesbian performers Ferron and Cheryl Wheeler. The festival, which started in 2003, is designed to create a sense of community and offer a venue where people can listen to new music by some of the best folk artists in the world, said Melissa Schmaedick, the festival founder and producer.
“I find a lot of solace and joy in music. I see it as a social and cultural meditation. The purpose of folk music is to really express what’s happening socially within a community,” Schmaedick said.
The festival attracts more than 1,500 people annually and is extremely open to all people, especially the LGBT community, she said. The festival is an intimate group where performers often mingle with the audience and everyone is welcome, she said.
“The festival is, in part, about creating an instant community with people from all walks of life,” Shmaedick said.
The fest kicks off on Nov. 4 and goes through Nov. 6. For more information and tickets, go to MoabFolkFestival.com.
Wheeler, an open lesbian, paints emotional portraits of people and interactions with the world have led her to have an illustrious career. While she is not a household name, many of her songs have been performed by Bette Midler and legendary country music stars Garth Brooks and Kenny Loggins.
Born Debby Foisy, this Canadian singer/songwriter and poet has been cited as an influence on the Indigo Girls, Ani DiFranco and Mary Gauthier. Rolling Stone magazine called her a “culture hero” and her 1984 album, Shadows on a Dime, “cowgirl meets Yeats…a thing of beauty.” She has released 14 studio albums and is frequently cited as one of Canada’s most influential folk artists.
Mulvey gained much of his musical influences and experiences as he toured Ireland and later returned to the U.S. and performed in the bars and pubs of Boston. Frequently seen performing in subway stations, he has developed a large following with his percussive style and dark lyrics.
The German-born singer moved to Delaware when she was 13 years old. She is a regular on the indie scene and has won several awards, including the top prize in the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Contest. She has released 5 albums of dark, beautiful and brooding music.
Backed by his band, The Salt Licks, McCitcheon’s vocals are raw and inspiring. This poet turned singer has a true Americana feel to his music and is sure to inspire thoughts of the landscapes of New Mexico, where he is based.