Festival Fever: Albany Word Fest

Albany Word Fest
Albany Word Fest

Photographs by Dan Wilcox and Carolee Sherwood

April is National Poetry Month, and Albany Poets is in the midst of celebrating the 11th annual Albany Word Fest this week at various locations all around Albany.

“This is by far the biggest Word Fest to date with eight events over seven days at six different venues in the heart of Albany,” says Thom Francis, president of Albany Poets. “Almost 12 years ago a bunch of poets gathered at Thatcher Park for a day of poetry and art. Now we are holding our 11th Word Fest spanning an entire week. The dream of creating a true, community-focused literary festival, representing the diverse and talented poets of upstate New York has come true.”

“This year’s Word Fest is what we have been working towards for years,” adds Albany Poets vice president Mary Panza. “There is something for everybody – from haiku to slam to straight-up open mics to karaoke to featured performers. There are many ways to express yourself.”

The fest kicked off on Sunday evening (April 15) with the Albany Word Fest kick-off party and the Albany Poets Founders Reading at McGeary’s Pub in Albany.

As one of the featured poets, Mojavi declared, “We are building a movement. We are taking poetry out of the halls of academia and bringing it into the streets. We are making poetry a viable alternative to cable TV.”

Here’s the line-up for the official Albany Word Fest events throughout the rest of the week:

The Nitty Gritty Slam
Valentine’s Music Hall, Albany
Albany’s poetry slam continues with hosts Mojavi and Slam Master Dain Brammage.

Yes! Word Fest Communal Reading Experiment
Albany Social Justice Center, Albany
A special, experimental, Word Fest edition of Yes, Reading!

Third Thursday Poetry Night
Albany Social Justice Center, Albany
Dan Wilcox hosts this open mic for poetry and spoken word with featured reader Christopher the Poet.

Urban Guerilla Theatre
The Linda, Albany
Albany Poets is very proud to team with UGT for the very special April / Poetry Month / Word Fest edition of Urban Guerilla Theatre, featuring poetry, music, spoken word, comedy and fashion.

SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 10:30am
2012 Word Fest Open Mic
Albany Public Library Main Branch, Albany
The annual Word Fest Open Mic will take place from 10:30am-5pm featuring Metroland’s Best Poets of 2012, the finals of the Haiku Battle, special open mic sessions for children, high school students and adults. The open mic is open to all poets and spoken word artists with no style or content restrictions.

Karaoke + Poetry = Fun
Valentine’s Music Hall, Albany
We head home to close out the 2012 Word Fest with featured poets from the Nitty Gritty Slam, music from some of the finest local talent, the return of Daniel Nester’s Karaoke + Poetry = Fun, and much more. Admission for this event is $10.


MOVE Music Festival @ various locations, Albany, 4/21/12
ParkFest @ UAlbany’s Collins Circle, Albany, 4/21/12
Albany Tulip Festival @ Washington Park, Albany, 5/12-13/12, FREE
Mountain Jam @ Hunter Mountain, Hunter, 5/31-6/1/12
The Old Songs Festival @ Altamont Fairgrounds, Altamont, 6/22-24/12
Friehofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, 6/30-7/1/12
CountryFest @ the Times Union Center, Albany, 7/7/12
Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, 7/31/12
FreshGrass Bluegrass Festival @ MASS MoCA, North Adams, 9/21-23/12

A.C. "Breaking My Art" Everson
A.C. "Breaking My Art" Everson (photo by Dan Wilcox)
Mojavi (photo by Dan Wilcox)
R.M. Engelhardt, Dan Wilcox, Mojavi, Thom Francis, Mary Panza, Don Levy, A.C. Everson, Marcus Anderson (front)  (Photo by Carolee Sherwood)
R.M. Engelhardt, Dan Wilcox, Mojavi, Thom Francis, Mary Panza, Don Levy, A.C. Everson, Marcus Anderson (front) (photo by Carolee Sherwood)

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