Written By Lisa Breslin

Approximately 4,000 people visited the Carroll County Farm Museum July 9 and 10 to immerse themselves in music, crafts, dance, and traditions from all over the globe. They heard Scottish ballads, songs from Iceland, the sarcastic, soulful sound of the Blues, and drum beats that called in dancers from Africa.

Visitors also shopped for pottery, jewelry, cuisine, clothing, and crafts from around the world. The festivities were all part of the annual Common Ground on the Hill Music & Arts Festival.

“The best way to describe an event like this is to say, ÔJust listen,’” said Christina Collins-Smith, the festival’s coordinating director. “Music pours in from all directions from all over. And we have vendors with the finest arts and crafts. The festival is a positive experience in an unbelievably beautiful environment. It’s an honor to pull it all together.” Highlights of the event included a 7 p.m. Saturday performance by Hot Tuna (Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, and Barry Mitterhoff ), and a community dance at the Carroll County Ag Center Saturday evening. On Sunday Tom Chapin performed “Songs of Family.”

Joe Hickerson, a folklorist and former archivist for the Library of Congress, received the 2005 Common Ground award for excellence in the traditional arts. Hickerson was given a Native American cedar flute carved by Robin Tillery of Georgia.

Funding for the Common Ground on the Hill is provided by the Maryland State Arts Council; Carroll County Arts Council; individual, corporate, and foundation sponsors, and workshop, concert ticket and art sales. For information about Common Ground events throughout the year: www.commongroundonthehill.com.