See release online at


Contact: Ilene Marder,,  (845) 246-1122; (845) 399-9034
or Meira Blaustein, 845-679-4265

In Concert With …

Kicking Off The 9th Annual Woodstock Film Festival
Wednesday, October 1st – Sunday, October 5th

Fleck’s Musical Tour of Africa featured in new doc Throw Down Your Heart…

click on photos to enlarge and download  

Abigail Washburn and The Sparrow Quartet
featuring Bela Fleck with Casey Driessen and Ben Sollee

Bela Fleck Performs for a Village in Uganda
in "Thow Down Your Heart"

(Woodstock, NY) August 13, 2008:  Eight-time Grammy award winner Bela Fleck will open the 9TH Woodstock Film Festival, in concert with Abigail Washburn and The Sparrow Quartet featuring Bela Fleck with Casey Driessen and Ben Sollee, Wednesday, Oct. 1st, at 8pm at the Bearsville Theater. This very special concert kicks off the “fiercely independent,” five-day film extravaganza, which runs Wednesday October 1 through Sunday Oct. 5, at various locations in Woodstock, Rosendale and Rhinebeck, NY.

Bela Fleck re-joins the festival in two capacities this year, he is also the producer and star of the documentary Throw Down Your Heart, director Sascha Paladino’s full-length documentary chronicling Fleck’s recent trip through Africa to uncover the roots of the banjo.  The film follows the award-winning musician’s travels to Uganda, Tanzania, Gambia and Mali, where he meets and plays with indigenous musicians and discovers more than he bargained for.  Not only does he find many similarities between African melodies and American folk & bluegrass songs, he uses music to overcome cultural differences and touches on the human similarities hidden in the rhythms and the melodies of the cradle of civilization.

Fleck last appeared at the 2004 Woodstock Film Festival, performing with bassist Edgar Meyer, in conjunction with director/producer Sascha Paladino’s Obstinato: Making Music for Two, which went on to win the WFF Best Short Doc award.

“We are thrilled to welcome Bela back to Woodstock. The opening night concert provides a perfect kick-off to this year’s festival as it features a fascinating combination of musical styles and concepts by some of the most talented musicians on the planet, echoing our theme of cultural and artistic diversity,” says Woodstock Film Festival Executive Director, Meira Blaustein, adding, “Like many of our films, The Sparrow Quartet explores and crosses global boundaries to find the commonality we all share, and we are pleased to be able to offer this superb collaboration to the community.”

Just returned from China where they performed at the U.S. Embassy during the Beijing Olympics, The Sparrow Quartet features Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck with Casey Driessen and Ben Sollee, exploring the borderless sounds of two banjos, a fiddle and a cello. Washburn has been hailed by the Wall Street Journal as “a daring, definite talent, whose feel for the folk idiom results in moving material.  Soulful is the word”.   The LA Times described her music saying, “Abigail Washburn stomped and skipped through fiery Appalachian takes on the local songs of Sichuan… She nails the dips and peaks of pitch while leading her band in scorching variations on simple, repetitive traditional melodies”.

For tickets to the Oct. 1st Opening Night Concert at the Bearsville Theater, and general program information, visit The complete schedule of festival events will be available to the public on-line and at the Box Office in mid-September.


The 9th annual Woodstock Film Festival takes place October 1-5th, 2008. The “fiercely independent” festival in the colony of the arts will include more than 150 films, panels, concerts and special events featured at venues in Woodstock and the neighboring towns of Rhinebeck and Rosendale. Visit for ticket and more detailed program information.

During the past eight years, the Woodstock Film Festival has established itself as one of the foremost independent film events in the country by premiering exceptional films; hosting the most talented emerging and established professionals in the movie industry; presenting A-list concerts, parties and panels, and creating stimulating, innovative programming year-round.

The Woodstock Film Festival is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to present an annual program and year-round schedule of film, music, and art-related activities that promotes artists, culture, inspired learning, and diversity. WFF’s sister organization, The Hudson Valley Film Commission, promotes sustainable economic development by attracting and supporting film, video and media production throughout the region.


P.O Box 1406, Woodstock, NY 12498 - (845) 679-4265 -