Ocrafolk Festival Announces Lineup

Jenny Scarborough
Ocrafolk Festival Announces Lineup

Folk music will be gone from the 2013 Ocrafolk Festival performances.

After over a decade of showcasing local and regional bands rooted in tradition and bluegrass, the Ocrafolk Festival committee has decided to shake things up. A radical slate of new performers will headline the free, family friendly festival, held over the first weekend of June.

"There is not nearly enough dancing at the festival," said founder and organizer Gary Mitchell. "We value all the visitors who attend each year, but it is time to get up out of your lawn chairs and shake that ass."

Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band will kick off the music on Friday night. Ocracoke Island DJ Gabriel Navarro will follow, and keep it pumping until early morning at the Community Center.

Saturday's slate features a number of up and coming bands. Selection committee member Robert Raborn, founder of WOVV 90.1 FM, said he is particularly excited about the FoxxBoxx, an all girl electronica group that sings entirely in Danish. Mensa 9, from Faison, NC, "brings terrific nuance to the dub-step genre and makes me want to devour some pickles," said Raborn. He also thinks that Shake the Baby, a hard-driving rock band from Bertie County, which features three one-armed drummers, will have the crowd up and moving.

Organizers aren't certain Ocrafolk Festival crowds are ready for hip-hop, so they're testing the waters with $nake Medallion. He will perform with all his heart, at the children's stage at Deepwater Theater, providing a beatbox backing while kids fish print T-shirts. Jubal Creech will accompany him.

Popular festival stalwart Jef the Mime is encouraged to attend, but will not be paid this year, said Tweedie. With the new direction the festival is taking, roving hula hoopers, fire eaters, belly dancers and a dominatrix have been hired.

The traditional pot luck dinner on Friday night is being replaced with a clothing optional moonlight swim at ramp 70. This accomplishes two goals, said Tweedie, who said this new aspect of the festival was inspired by his father-in-law, Philip Howard. Eliminating the potluck creates value for local restaurants, and partaking in a massive group skinny dip opens the mind and soul.

"There are so many legal and subconscious restrictions on public nudity," noted Tweedie, a former student of the liberal arts. "We want to remind everyone that Ocracoke is a place where you can be free to be. What's better than being at one with the ocean while in the company of dozens of strangers?"

Festival organizers have applied for and received the necessary permits for the group swim from the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, which waived their ordinary fees.

"It is only right to encourage locals and visitors to enjoy the beach however they deem fit," said NPS public information officer Cyndy Holda.

The Sunday morning gospel sing, which is one of the finest aspects of the festival, will continue as before.

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