The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library announced the schedule for the 25th anniversary celebration of its Southern Folklife Collection (SFC) this week. Events will take place across the campus and at the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro from August 21-23 to commemorate one of the nation’s foremost archives of Southern vernacular music, art and culture.
The festival will include musical performances, lectures and readings, and will provide an in-depth look at the collections and work of the SFC, a world-class research archive dedicated to collecting, preserving and promoting Southern music, art and culture. The festivities will culminate with a headline concert by Tift Merritt and Merle Haggard on Aug. 23.
“The festival is a unique opportunity for learning and experiencing the finest in American roots music,” said Steve Weiss, curator of the SFC. “In its 25 years, the SFC has been a source of inspiration to musicians, directors, writers and authors. The archives have provided source materials to musicians Dom Flemons and the Carolina Chocolate Drops, producer Martin Scorsese, who used SFC footage in a documentary, and many others.”
Festivities will begin Aug. 21, when the Friends of the Library hosts an all-star benefit concert and dinner in the Wilson Special Collections Library from 5:30 to 11 p.m. Tift Merritt (UNC ’00) will perform following a Sophisticated Southern Supper Menu created by James Beard Award-winning chefs Ben and Karen Barker, Ashley Christensen, Andrea Reusing and Bill Smith. Top of the Hill Distillery will provide its signature cocktails. Tickets are $250 per person.
A retrospective exhibit will open on Aug. 21 in the Wilson Library’s Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room. It will highlight the history, collections, and work of the Southern Folklife Collection. Rare and unique artifacts, photography, posters, multimedia and ephemera from the collection will be on view. The exhibit runs through January 15, 2015.
The Aug. 22 schedule includes a New Orleans Brass Band Symposium and Rebirth Brass Band and Dumpstaphunk, followed by Big Star’s #1 Record and Third/Sister Lovers. Matt Sakakeeny, Assistant Professor of Music at Tulane University and author of Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans, will participate in a 6 p.m. discussion with members of the Rebirth Brass Band at Wilson Library. A Rebirth Second Line Parade to Memorial Hall will start at 7:30 p.m. from Wilson Library. Memorial Hall hosts an 8 p.m. concert by the Rebirth Brass Band and Dumpstaphunk. Another concert featuring Big Star’s #1 Record and Third/Sister Lovers with special guests commences at Cat’s Cradle at 9 p.m.
The festival ends on Aug. 23 with Merle Haggard and Tift Merritt closing the event.
The Southern Folklife Collection is an educational resource, an archive dedicated to collecting and preserving cultural heritage, and a focal point for the public appreciation of Southern art forms. Since its opening in 1989, the SFC has grown to contain over half a million items including sound recordings, moving images, photographs, manuscripts, books, song folios, serials, posters and ephemera. The Collection is especially rich in materials documenting old-time, country-western, bluegrass, blues, folk, gospel, rock, Cajun and zydeco music. The SFC holds numerous recordings on the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry, including Dolly Parton’s first recording “Puppy Love.”