Sam Abbott speaks at 9th Takoma Park Folk Festival in 1986
Sam and Ruth Abbott hosted the founding meeting of the Festival in their living room in Takoma Park. Here he speaks at the 9th TPFF, held in 1986.
A lifelong advocate for peace, economic and social justice, and the environment, Sam (1908-1990) was a music-over and artist who ran for office in his 70s after leading a successful battle in the D.C. metropolitan area to stop the North Central Freeway from destroying thousands of homes and devastating entire neighborhoods. As Mayor of Takoma Park from 1980 to 1985, his tenure was characterized by an activated citizenry who successfully instituted numerous local reforms linked to a global vision that proved to be very much ahead of its times.
The Takoma Park Folk Festival was conceived to be a seamless loop between artists and community. Over the decades since its inception in 1977, thousands of musicians, dancers, actors, workshop leaders, visual artists, craftspeople, foodies, stage managers, interpreters, photographers, video crews, and committee members have volunteered their time and effort to make the original vision a continuing reality. In 2012, the Festival celebrated its 35th year with a tribute to Woody Guthrie, who Sam invited to sing to striking steel workers in upstate New York during the Great Depression.