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Westerleigh Folk Festival at Immanuel Union Church 11.19.23

After being rained out twice this year, the Westerleigh Folk Festival persevered and kept their 16th annual streak of being a space that fosters appreciation for art and music.

Community Arts Comission wrote on their Instagram, "It has been a rollercoaster planning this event three times, but nonetheless, Sunday was a blast!" The gym at Immanuel Union Church on Jewett Ave boasted people off ages, from kids to older individuals. It's nice to see art bridge the gap between generations.

Brooke Riso - Website

Naturally performing in classic folk-rock style, Riso enamored the audience with her cute hat and guitar. She has a Taylor Swift star-like quality to her, but she feels more grounded in her rock roots.

Our Own Yokos - Linkt.ree

Their instrumentals were clean and really picked up the energy. They played a bunch of original songs inclusing their single Sir Chunk which starts out pretty funky and then transitions into a more of classic rock feel. It's cool how you can see their different influences in their music. You can even see it in the name of their band.

In an interview on WSIA, CSI's radio station, they described how they got their name. Shawn Gold, their lead singer said, "Yoko Ono brought out such visceral and emotional feelings out of John and we sort of hope that we can do something similar for people who listen to our music. Everybody should have their own Yoko. Why can't we be yours?"

Monika Nova - Instagram

For the second year in a row, Monika graced the West Fest stage with her sweet and soulful voice. They're a very talented songwriter and poet. It was a treasure getting to listen to her sing live. She has a single on Spotify called Alone and you may have also recently seen her featured on Sir Clifton's new album in the song It's Cool.

Tropical Gozadera - Spotify

Tropical Gozadera headlined the with their fun Latin beats that make you feel like getting up and dancing. Gozadera in Spanish means party and they finished out the fest with such positive vibes that it made the chilly day feel like summer again. It's always exciting to see a band that features a keyboard in their live performances. It just adds another element to that music that you don't often see in other shows on the island.

Craft Vendors and artist feature Dan Rimada!

There were so many vendors selling a myriad of different handmade goods. There were knitted hats, jewelry, art & photography prints, and more.

Dan Rimada, who owns Bodega Cats of New York, was selling cat prints! He created this Staten Island Ferry Claws print specially for the event.

Bodega Cats of New York not only spreads the love of cats by posting cute pics and selling beautiful prints, they also advocate for animal based non-profit organizations. You can learn more about it on their blog. If you would like to buy a some art, they have an Etsy shop featuring prints and a new release of a ton of official merch!

Unfortunately I missed Joan Caddell & the Midnight Choir and Rock-A-Silly Band, but definitely check out their links!

Check out the organizers as well!

Photos taken and articles written by Emily Casey


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