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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment September 20, 2017

9/5/2017 11:57:00 AM
Sisters Folk Festival keeps an eye on smoke

Usually when people use the term "smoking" in connection with the Sisters Folk Festival, they're talking about a particularly hot flatpicker or a set from a lively band like this year's encore artist The East Pointers.

This year, with something like 500 square miles of Oregon on fire, the term has taken on the unpleasant connotations of poor air quality that threaten the character of the 21st annual event.

As of press time, festival board and staff were closely monitoring conditions and forecasts and making contingency plans, assuming that smoky conditions will continue to impact Sisters to varying degrees as the September 8-10 event approaches.

In a Facebook post and email to patrons, the Festival announced:

"Folk Festival board & staff, in close consultation with local, regional and state health, fire and weather officials, are continuing to monitor the air quality and especially the weather forecast for our area.

"We want to hold a Festival as much as you all want to attend. We have a contingency plan to move our outdoor/open air venues to indoor locations, but we hope we don't have to do that.

"We are watching a weather system that could improve air quality towards the weekend. We expect to have the best weather information by late Wednesday morning and will make a final decision mid-day Wednesday regarding any changes to the Festival.

"Right now we ask for your patience and understanding as we take the time to make the best decision possible for our artists, patrons, volunteers and community."

The Nugget will provide updates on the status of festival events and venues at and on The Nugget's Facebook page.

The festival has a diverse lineup of musical styles - ranging from the blues of Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton to the Western Swing of Hot Club of Cowtown; from the bluegrass-hip-hop mash-up of Gangstagrass to the Mexican-American infused music of L.A.'s Tremoloco. Island music from Hawaii and Cuba will fill the air, along with the music of some of North America's finest singer-songwriters, including Justin Townes Earle and Grammy-winner Sarah Jarosz (see related stories, pages 10 and 7).

The festival is sold out, but free performances will be hosted at Fir Street Park and a workshop venue at Sisters Coffee Co.

For more information on the Sisters Folk Festival and a complete lineup, visit

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