New Festival Shines Light on Undervalued Greenwich Village Music History
This weekend (Sept. 27-30) in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, a new festival entitled The Village Trip will shine a light on a neighborhood whose artistic and historical riches are as curious and circuitous as its winding, brick-laden streets. And while a number of boutique festivals have popped up in New York City over the last few years, this one comes from an unlikely source – a British journalist living a full ocean away.
Liz Thomson, a London-based journalist, has nurtured a lifelong interest in Greenwich Village. “Baez was my gateway drug,” says the Village Trip co-founder/executive producer of her interest in the ’60s New York folk revival, a fertile scene of music and protest that involved a post-blacklist Pete Seeger, a pre-fame Bob Dylan and a lot of acoustic guitars. Falling for Joan Baez, Vol. 2 and learning guitar as a kid, Thomson’s passion for music continued throughout college (she earned a music degree) and into her journalism career (one of her first gigs was interviewing Leonard Cohen in the ’80s prior to his comeback).
Fast-forward to 1995. Thomson is a working reporter and she gets an offer from U.K. publication Mojo to visit the neighborhood that captured her imagination as a teen. The reason, coincidentally, is Joan Baez, then in the midst of recording an album in the storied (but now-shuttered) Greenwich venue The Bottom Line. Mojo wanted her to cover the Rings Them Bells sessions, and she only too happily agreed.