Manchester Riverfolk Festival
Let's start with the more. How about nearly a dozen hours of music as varied and high quality as you'll find anywhere? The performers range from Celtic to Cajun, from songwriters to string bands, from the internationally renowned to local heroes.
Then there is the Festival Art Show, more than twenty artists displaying creations from pottery, painting, and photography to clothing, jewelry, and stained glass. There are workshops teaching songwriting, fiddling, Cajun clogging, contradancing, and more. Plus there are activities for kids, from the familiar stringing beaded necklaces and face painting to the less common sand-castle art, water maze, and making Mardi Gras masks - which come in handy for the festival's traditional kids' parade. And there's a concert with Billy Jonas, who plays "industrial re-percussion" instruments made from found objects. For the young at heart, there is a tent set aside especially for seniors to enjoy Riverfolk in comfort.
Now to the less-is-more part. Riverfolk is only a one-day festival, so on what's left of the weekend we can either cram more things into our already too busy lives, or simply savor on Sunday what we saw on Saturday. The festival's Carr Park setting is large enough to comfortably contain all the festivities, but not so huge that you need hiking boots to get from one end to the other. Riverfolk attracts about 3,000 people every year, including hundreds of kids under ten who get in free - not exactly a cozy family reunion, but not huge enough to bother an agoraphobe.