The Alaska Folk Festival board was expecting a massive crowd Thursday night for guest artist Nanci Griffith's first mainstage set at Centennial Hall, and that's exactly what it got.
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All 1,200 seats in Centennial Hall were spoken for by the time the Juneau Pride Chorus opened the evening at 7 p.m. Twenty minutes later, ushers had to block the doors of the main room, limiting access to those who had seats.
Emcee: Jane Roodenberg
7 p.m. Pat Henry, juneau.
7:15 Green Wood, Haines: Kris Jones, Lindy Dickson.
7:30 Well strung, Anchorage:Todd Grebe, Conor Mcmanamin, Dan
Booth, Angela Oudean, Gary Markley.
7:45 Burl Sheldon and the Burlettes, Haines.
8 Sarah C. Hanson, Fairbanks.
8:15 Alaska Fiddlers' Convention & Ron Klein Panoramic Photograph.
8:30 Kray Van Kirk, Juneau.
8:45 Western Hemlock Society, Petersburg: Justin Anderson, Carin Christensen, Nicole Clowery, Scott Hursey, Chris Marshall.
9 Sherri's Jubilee, Fairbanks: Carol Gales, Jim Dory, Phil Cassel, Joe Karson, Sherri Hadley.
9:15 Hunt/Bayer, Fairbanks: Charlie Hunt, Nancy Bayer.
9:30 Jeff Kanzler & the Growlers, Ester: Jeff Kanzler, Eric Graves, Danny Berberich, George Gianakoupolis, Kliff Hopsen.
9:45 Tetrafiddles, Fairbanks.
10 Calamity, Tacoma, Wash.:Kevin Cavanagh, Kim Barlow.
10:15 Joe Page, Anchorage:Joe Page, Greg Booth, Angela Oudean, Dan Booth, Connor Mcmanamin.
10:30 Simple Messengers, Whitehorse, Yukon: Pete Beattie, Mary Beattie, Marg Tatum.
10:45 Robin Hopper, Chugiak.
11 Kim Beggs, Whitehorse, Yukon.
"We knew it was going to be packed beyond belief," folk festival president Linda Frame said during the program. "As you can see, we don't have any place for people to stand any longer, and we have to be safe. Right now, we're at the place where if we filled up the aisles, it would be unsafe."
Griffith, dubbed "The Queen of Folkabilly" by Rolling Stone in 1988, has released 17 records in her 28-year recording career, and has earned five Grammy nominations and won one.
Those who hope to see her main-stage concert finale at 9 p.m. Sunday are advised to show up early. Griffith will also appear for a question-and-answer discussion from 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday in Sheffield Ballroom No. 1 at Centennial Hall.
"It's great to be here in Juneau for this wonderful festival," she said. "I'm so excited."
Griffith opened with one of her hits, "Love at the Five and Dime," and played an assortment of songs from throughout her career. She spoke about her travels with the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundations, and shared a song for her mother that she wrote with Grand Ole Opry performer Elizabeth Cook.
"I'm glad I got here early," said Shirley Coe, a Griffith fan camped out near the back of the hall.
"We have a guest artist that just had two shows (in Anchorage) where tickets went for $32 a piece," Frame said. "There's no charge here, because it's the folk festival and it's what we do."
Fairbanks performers Ann McBeth and Alex Clarke were due to perform directly before Griffith but were delayed in their arrival to Juneau. They ended up swapping with Frying Costa's Huber Dubers, led by Collette Costa.
"We did make it," McBeth said. "I wish I could blame it on the time change, or (Texas Rep.) Tom DeLay, or someone. But we screwed up."