On Saturday, March 6th the national folk music community will celebrate the life of legendary DJ, Gene Shay. Following a broadcasting career that discovered dozens of Folk, Blues and Americana stars, Gene was one of the founders of the oldest continuous folk festival in the country (The Philadelphia Folk Festival). Fifteen plus Facebook Live sites will host the WXPN Welcome event including organizer, Jefferson Berry & the UAC.
“When I saw Gene’s Birthday come up on the calendar, I thought we should do something. For all the people we’ve lost during the pandemic, none of us have gotten any closure,” show producer Jefferson Berry said. “But thinking about Gene’s passing, one can be sad for just so long. So many good times. So many good stories.”
Hosted by Ian Zolitor (Shay’s successor on WXPN’s 88.5 FM’s Folk Show on Sundays from 8-10 PM EST), the online event will feature stories and performances from folks who knew Gene well: Tom Rush, Susan Werner, Ben Arnold, Kim and Reggie Harris, Michael Braunfeld, John Francis O’Mara, Kicking Down Doors, LisaBeth Weber, and Jefferson Berry & the UAC. Jayne Toohey has compiled a photographic memorial to Gene.
Grants will be given in Gene Shay’s name and redistributed to Folk artists in need via Greg Seltzer, the founder and curator of Philly Music Fest whose micro grant program has put significant money into the pockets of those performers and venue workers who were impacted the most intensely by Covid-19. Grants will be given in Gene Shay’s name and redistributed to Folk artists in need via PMF. Gene's family felt that this would be an appropriate way to pay tribute to him.
Donations can be made here in Gene Shay's name.