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Folk Festival Brings Free Music to Staten Island

By Nicholas Rizzi | September 17, 2013 7:57am
 The 6th annual free Westerleigh Folk Festival will take place on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013. The festival will feature 19 musicians, activites for children and handmade goods for sale.
Westerleigh Folk Festival
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WESTERLEIGH — A free music festival will let Staten Islanders get their folk on in Westerleigh Park this weekend.

The sixth-annual Westerleigh Folk Festival on Saturday will feature 19 mostly local musicians playing Americana, folk, country, blues and R&B on three stages in the park.

"Where else can you see really talented young people on Staten Island create their own stuff and it actually doesn't cost you a dime?" said festival organizer Jim Indelicato, 61.

This year's line-up includes singer Leila Hegazy, R&B group the Cat Cosmai band, Julia & Kacey, Queen Tipsy and a stage dedicated to children's performers.

As well as music, the festival will have local artists displaying and selling their work and activities for children, including origami and free pony rides.

Indelicato, a musician himself, said he started the event six years ago to help showcase local talent and make it easier for groups to find a gig.

"If I went out there and I try to find a place to play it would be really difficult, so I got to together with a couple of like-minded people and put this together," he said.

"There's a very nice creative community on Staten Island and we just wanted to make a festival where that kind of thing could be celebrated and supported."

Indelicato said the idea has caught on.

The festival started with just one stage, but eventually added a second and will add a third this year. More and more people have started to come, and Indelicato said the past few years they've had more than 1,000 people at the festival.

"I always believed it would get this big," he said. "If we just kept at it and got it out to people, the message would catch on."

The free Westerleigh Folk Festival, hosted by Friends of Westerleigh Park, will be on Saturday, Sept. 21, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., with a rain date set for Sunday. For more information and a full list of scheduled musicians, visit their website.