The Philadelphia Folk Festival has one common huge presence during 48 consecutive years, and this weekend will be no different when the 49th edition take places at Old Poole Farm in Schenksville, Pennsylvania.
We are speaking of the one and only Gene Shay – “The Dean of American Folk DJ’s” as called by the Philadelphia Daily News and “The Godfather of Philadelphia Folk Music” dubbed by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Gene has been a fixture on the Philadelphia music scene for over 45 years and he is now heard weekly on WXPN and he is also on Sirius XM The Village Folk Alley. During his career Gene has been heard on WHAT-FM, WDAS FM, WMMR, WIOQ and WHYY- FM.
He is a co-founder of the Philadelphia Folk Festival and its emcee since his inception. This coming weekend will be this years’ 49th edition and Gene Shay will once again introduce the main stage evening concerts.
No stranger to audience and performers alike Gene was the first to bring Bob Dylan to Philadelphia in 1963 for his debut concert. His early interviews with Joni Mitchell, John Denver, Tom Waits, Phil Oches, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and Judy Collins are almost legendary – in fact some of those recorded interviews have been bootlegged.
Gene has been recognized many times during his illustrious career and include the lifetime achievement award from the Delaware Valley Music Poll in 1994, Induction into Temple University’s Radio, TV & Theatre Hall of Fame, and most recently a Lifetime Achievement Award was presented by the National Folk Alliance.
Gene has served as a Charter Board Member of the North American Folk Alliance, served on the Board of Sing Out Magazine (the national folk music quarterly founded by Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger in the 1940’s, and he is a voting member on the Board of Governors of NARAS in Philadelphia.
Gene Shay is indeed a fixture on the Folk Music scene and his jokes have also taken on legendary stature during his time as MC for the Philadelphia Folk Festival and many other concerts and festivals in the tri-state area. We leave you now with one of the many jokes made famous by Gene Shay.
What do you call it, when you throw an explosive device onto a French man’s kitchen floor ???
Yuk yuk yuk!
Note: Some of the great artists scheduled to perform at this years Philadelphia Folk Festival include: Richard Thompson, Jeff Tweedy, Taj Mahal, Chris Smither, Susan Werner, and Cadillac Sky. We hope to see you there ! – Written By: Bob Rose
-Gene Shay Pictured Below -Pic Courtesy of Gene’s Facebook page