Leeds Folk Festival
The Leeds Downtown Folk Festival and John Henry Celebration is an annual festival inaugurated in September 2008 by the Leeds Area Chamber of Commerce. The festival features artisans working in booths along Parkway Drive in downtown Leeds. It also features storytellers, traditional music, and a tribute to John Henry near the Leeds Railroad Depot. The organizers put on John Henry Days in 2007 and expanded it into the Folk Festival the following year.
The inaugural festival was held on September 20-21. Performers included Marc Seymour, Shelby Duke, Haley Powers, Fiddle and Flute, Mt Pisgah Pickers, Rick Long and Friends, Top Cats, Ray Newman, Bo Butler and the Nice Boys, Voices of Autumn, Plantation Heirs, Leeding Ladies, Ron Dometrovich, and Flying Jenny.
The 2009 festival was held on September 19-20 with storytellers, artisans, games, food vendors, a farmer's market, music, and performances of "Listen to That Cold Steel Ring", a play about John Henry written by Marie Cromer. Performers on the main stage included Mark Seymour, Shelby Duke, Flying Jenny, Dolores Hydock, Jameson Willis, After Class, Act of Congress, Rick Long & Ringing Strings Bow Psalteries, Sweet Fern, Ron Dometrovich, G2:20 Band, Leeding Ladies, Voices of Autumn and Bobby Horton. Heavy rains forced festival orgainzers to cancel the Saturday performance of the play about John Henry, but did not shut down the festival.
- Leeds Downtown Folk Festival website
- Hickerson, Patrick (April 23, 2008) "Leeds Folk Festival to replace Creek Bank Festival after 10 years, explores local connection to John Henry lore." Birmingham News
- Coman, Victoria L. (August 19, 2009) "Leeds, Alabama readies for folk fest, John Henry celebration." Birmingham News
- Williams, Roy L. (September 20, 2009) "Leeds, Alabama folk festival rolls on despite rain showers." Birmingham News