The official festivities start today, May 3rd (Seeger’s actual birthday) and stretch through May 5th, though other tribute concerts and events will take place throughout the month and the rest of the summer. Over 35 events will be held in the United States, while additional events will take place in cities like Rome, Edinburgh and Darmstadt, Germany.
A complete itinerary is available on the Spirit of Seeger website. Most of the shows will feature local musicians performing Seeger’s music and celebrating his legacy: There will be a special birthday barn dance at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, an open mic event at Busboys and Poets Takoma in Washington, D.C. and various sing-alongs throughout the country. Folk musician John McCutcheon will also honor Seeger this weekend at shows in Ann Arbor, Michigan (May 3rd), Kent, Ohio (May 4th) and Duluth, Georgia (May 5th).
Later this summer, Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival, the festival Seeger co-founded with his wife, Toshi, will also commemorate Seeger’s centennial, as well as the 50th anniversary of his sloop Clearwater, the boat that came to symbolize his environmental activism. The event will take place in Croton-On-Hudson, New York June 15th through 16th and feature performances from Mavis Staples, the Lone Bellow, Ani DiFranco and more.
Along with the various Spirit of Seeger centennial celebrations, Smithsonian Folkways released a new six-CD box set today that features 20 previously unreleased Seeger recordings plus a 200-page book. The collection boasts a mix of live recordings, collaborations and rarities, as well as Seeger’s most famous standards and originals like “Turn Turn Turn,” “We Shall Overcome,” “Barbara Allen” and “Kumbaya.”