Reviews & Love

“The Woody Guthrie Folk Festival is a perfect tribute to the spirit of Woody Guthrie and his beloved hometown of Okemah, and an important cultural event for all of America, setting an example of how to do things right, and celebrate the arts in a joyous way where the community and the artists all join hands to give our young people standards of excellence to aspire to for whatever they do in life.” (David Amram)

“This is just a special festival. Woody Guthrie is the heart of the whole folk music thing and folk music has taken on a new role.” (Joel Rafael)

When invited back for the 2nd annual festival, Ellis Paul accepted the invitation agreeing to perform at the 1999 festival “and every one until the end of time.” (Ellis Paul)

“…it is not unusual to see impromptu bands form for jams…and we the audience get to see collaborations that we could only normally dream about.” (Jela Webb)

“…there’s definitely something special going on in that scene. It’s almost an American music festival secret. It’s like beyond description….like, something is happening there that’s literally changing the universe….it’s rearranging the molecules of the planet…such really soulful musicians.” (Jimmy LaFave)

“I think the spirit of Woody Guthrie is really alive at that festival, just because I think everybody comes there with a passion for songs and storytelling.” (Samantha Crain)

“I have personally seen the impact Woody Guthrie’s style and words of song has made on each and every artist who has appeared through their own expressions of song as they perform during the festival.” (Luna Burnett, Mayor of Okemah in 2001)

“Ever since that day we first met, I have always hoped that someday I would get the chance to go to Okemah, but with my crazy schedule I never had the opportunity to do so. When I was invited to the festival, I realized that I would be finally be able to see his hometown, and be able to meet his sister, her husband and his remaining old friends from long ago who were still living there. By doing that, and by playing music and spending time with people who were also natives of Okemah, I knew that I would be able to understand Woody and his work in a deeper way.” (David Amram, 2005)

“There is no other artist who has influenced the music world any more than Woody Guthrie. He certainly has my respect and admiration for his contributions. (Wanda Jackson, 2009)

“All I can say is, there was a LOT of love in this room on Wednesday night. The Woody Guthrie Folk Festival draws some of the most generous, lovelyest, singingest, kindest, wonderfulest people EVER. (i think that’s how Woody would have said it.” (Jonatha Brooke, 2009)

“It’s a real honor to be a part of this festival in honor of Woody Guthrie. Singer/songwriters often joke that they wouldn’t have a job if it hadn’t been for Bob Dylan. But Dylan wouldn’t have had a job if not for Woody. I can’t wait to pay my respects.” (Andrea Parodi, 2009)

“Like many others before me, having experienced it once, it took hold of my soul and I just want to keep returning year after year. There is a sense of spirituality that I cannot easily describe in words about WoodyFest, the people and the wonderful camaraderie created through the performances and shared devotion to Guthrie’s legacy.” (Jela Webb, 2009)

“Im making it a point. I need that WoodyFest kind of like the pumice to my soul, to scrub it clean, he said. “This music is my life, literally, and I love the mystery of it. I love how its happy and sad, and I love how it picks you up. And I love that I get to be a part of helping people be lifted. (Stoney LaRue, 2009)

I just love the whole festival so much. It’s four days of great music, great people, great fellowship, no sleep and an unforgettable time. (David Amram, 2011)

“Two years ago, I had the time off and I just went (to WoodyFest)….just went and watched and I was knocked out by the caliber of performers, the camaraderie between the musicians and the presenters.” (Ezra Idlet, 2013)