Sometimes 15 minutes isn’t nearly enough. (Other times it’s nearly too much, but that’s another story.)
The 15-minute set structure of the Alaska Folk Festival concerts at Centennial Hall is a great way to offer listeners access to as many musicians as possible, but for watching your favorite players really let loose (in more ways than one), its hard to beat the local bars. Random street corners, living rooms and Juneau Arts & Culture Center dances are also good bets.
Over the next four nights there’s going to be enough live music downtown to satiate the most dedicated music lover. So abundant are the opportunities, in fact, you’ll likely be forced to make some tough choices.
Friday night at 10:30 p.m., for example, you could listen to the Hillbilly Honeys on the mainstage at Centennial Hall, kick up your heels with the Caleb Klauder Country Band with Jesse Lége and Joel Savoy at the JACC, catch Honky Tonk Habit at the Rendezvous, hear the Great Alaska Bluegrass Band at the Red Dog, listen to Tim Easton at the Alaskan or rock out to Mammoth Bone at the Bergman Hotel bar.
Easing the decision-making process somewhat is the fact that most folk fest musicians play more than once — pretty much constantly, it seems — in a ever-changing array of configurations.
If you want to see the Caleb Klauder Country Band perform with Cajun musicians Jesse Lege and Joel Savoy, for instance, but can’t make the Friday night dance at the JACC, you can also catch them playing the first set on the mainstage Friday night. That same group will also be cranking things up at the Rendezvous on Sunday.
Klauder and some members of the country band will also be playing as the Foghorn Stringband tonight at the Rendezvous, as part of the Old Time Throwdown. (This is all good news for music fans. Klauder and his band, whose recent release, “Western Country,” has been garnering high praise down south, is one act you do not want to miss.)
As folk fest veterans know, often the best bet for figuring out what’s going on is simply roaming around. Here are some basics to get you going.
At the bars
The Rendezvous has been stepping up their focus on live music over the past five years, and it shows. Every night this week the downtown bar has been offering live music, beginning with Matt Hopper’s shows on Monday and Tuesday and Procrastination Station on Wednesday and continuing on with a full lineup over the next four nights.
“This is the first time we’ve done it Monday through Sunday, and we’re really excited about it,” said co-owner Deb Barry, who runs the bar with Erik Emert.
Tonight Rendezvous will host the Old Time Throwdown with Stringband 213 (Danny C, Sergei Morosan, Erik Chadwell, Jack Fontanella, Nicole Lantz, John Hartle and guests) and Foghorn String Band (Klauder, Sammy Lind, Peter Leone, Patrick Lind and Nadine Landry).
Friday night they’ll host Honky Tonk Habit, with Maridon Boario, Lindy and Kris Jones, and Bob Banghart and on Saturday its Raisin’ Holy Hell, a band that’s been around for many years in shifting configurations. Saturday’s expected lineup includes Bob Bell, Eric Graves, Bob Banghart, John Hartle, Danny C. and many special guests.
Sunday, the Caleb Klauder Country Band (Sammy Lind, Paul Brainard, Nadine Landry, Ned Folkerth) with Jesse Lege and Joel Savoy, will be the featured act. Sunday night is technically a weeknight, so the bar will have to close at 1 a.m.
Just down the block, the Red Dog will also be hosting live music for the next three nights. If you missed Collette Costa’s Wednesday night performance, catch her at the Red Dog tonight with Haines band Pastor Lunchmeat and the Pimentos. The Great Alaska Bluegrass Band will be at the Red Dog Friday — crossing the street to play at the Alaskan the following night — and Saturday its the Anacortes Wash.-based Celtic group The Bards of KeyPoynt.
The Red Dog is also a designated jam spot for musicians, open from 11 a.m. every day through Sunday.
In years past, the Alaskan Hotel has been the hub of both late night and early morning (and late morning) action. But this year jamming will be limited to the bar; the hotel itself will be off limits, according to owner Betty Adams.
A few blocks uptown, musicians will find an open-all-night sign on the door at the Bergman Hotel, a spot that plans to indulge the sleep-avoidant for as long as they’re standing.
“If people are here, and want to play, we’ll be open,” said hotel manager Caroline Grant.
Grant said the bar itself will be closing at bar time (1 a.m. on Thursday and Sunday and 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday) but that the back room off the bar will be open after that point. (There will be no alcohol service in the back room after bar time.) The Bergman’s back room used to house the Grubstake restaurant, and is fairly large.
Grant said the this is the first year the back room has been open, in part because it was full of stuff that needed clearing out. A sound system and drum set have been set up for musicians to use.
“It’s a work in progress,” she said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Grant also said the hotel itself is “musician-friendly” all week long.
Here’s a (partial!) listing of scheduled happenings.
Pastor Lunchmeat and the Pimentos, featuring Olive Load (Colette Costa), 9 p.m. at the Red Dog
Open mic with Travis Croteau, 9 p.m. at the Alaskan
Oldtime Throwdown, with Stringband 213 and Foghorn at the Rendezvous, 9 p.m. at the Rendezvous
Mammoth Bone, 9 p.m. at the Bergman
Great Alaska Bluegrass Band, 10 p.m., at the Red Dog
Tim Easton, 10 p.m. at the Alaskan
Honky Tonk Habit, 10 p.m. at the Rendezvous
Open mic with Bob Cole, Saturday afternoon at the Alaskan.
The Bards of KeyPoynt. 8 p.m., at the Red Dog
Great Alaska Bluegrass Band, 10 p.m. at the Alaskan
Raisin’ Holy Hell, 10 p.m. at the Rendezvous
The Booby Traps, 10 p.m. Gold Town Nickelodeon. 21 and over.
Caleb Klauder Country Band with Jesse Lege and Joel Savoy, 8 p.m. at the Rendezvous
Matt Hopper 9 p.m. at the Alaskan