Sunday, June 19, 2011

Billy Bragg at the Clearwater Festival: June 18, 2011

Music on Sunday @ The Reaction

By Richard K. Barry

I traveled to near New York City for the Clearwater Folk Festival this weekend. I was born and raised a few miles away from the festival site but moved away years ago. I still try to get down for this annual event whenever I can.

If you don't know, this festival has been the brainchild of music and political organizing legend Pete Seeger so, as you might imagine, the weekend has significant elements of political activism associated with it - lots of tables for all sorts of progressive causes in addition to all the great music.

It's a terrific place to pick up clever bumper stickers. For example, my favorite of the weekend was "My Comedy Channel? Fox News. My News Source? Comedy Central." Yeah, that's about right. I picked up a few of those.

Besides 90 plus year old Pete and Arlo Guthrie and so many others, Billy Bragg was there to do a crisp one hour set. If you are at all worried that progressives in America lack the passion to take the fight to the crazies on the right, the audience response to Bragg's message might put your mind at ease. It was quite moving really.

Bragg is a fine musician, but a great speaker and political voice as well. One of the key messages of his stage patter was that we should try to understand the fears of those who have, perhaps only temporarily, aligned themselves with the right-wing. We should continue to respect the source of many of their anxieties as we make our case that their interests are not served by aligning with the likes of Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann. Good message.

Here's a clip of Bragg doing There is Power in a Union, in this case at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival in England in 2010. He did the same number this past weekend at Clearwater and it was powerful. Excellent stuff.

(Cross-posted to Lippmann's Ghost.)

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  • "My Comedy Channel? Fox News. My News Source? Comedy Central."

    LOL. That pretty much explains why the left wing views are not embraced by most adults.

    As long as we are going to talk "bumper sticker political philosophy" how about we bring back variations of the oldies but goodies like....Obama lied and libyans died. Or No wars for political gain. Or one of my personal favorites...1-20-13.

    By Anonymous manapp99, at 2:36 PM  

  • I take it Fox News is your "news" source? Figures.

    By Blogger Richard K. Barry, at 3:47 PM  

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