The Words and Music Festival: WAMFest

The Words and Music Festival, or WAMFest, takes place annually at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey. David Daniel designed this Festival as a way to shine a light on the unique relationship between popular culture and scholarship. Past contributors include a diverse group of writers and musicians ranging from the brother-sister duo, the Fiery Furnaces, poet Paul Muldoon, and comedian Eugene Mirman to musicians Rosanne Cash and Alejandro Escovedo all the way to a dream pairing of two of Jersey’s finest artists, former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, and "The Boss," Bruce Springsteen. In addition to Daniel, we'll hear from Wesley Stace (aka John Wesley Harding), Josh Ritter, Robert Pinsky, and Bruce Springsteen.

wamfest102611.mp3

Audio Tabs

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Musician Bruce Springsteen laughs as he reacts to poet Robert Pinsky and author Wesley Stace on stage at the Words and Music Festival, 2010.  The backdrop is a WAMFEST poster with images of participating artists.

Musician Bruce Springsteen, poet Robert Pinsky, and writer Wesley Stace (aka John Wesley Harding). Photo by Dan Landau

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Headshot of Josh Ritter inlaid next to image of Ritter reading from his new novel, Bright's Passage, at the WAMFEST 2011.

Musician and writer Josh Ritter (left photo by Marcelo Biglia, right photo by Dan Landau) 

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Headshot of David Daniel set next to an image of David introducing the panel, Jersey Rain, at WAMFEST 2010.

Festival founder, David Daniel (left photo courtesy of Daniel, right photo by Bill Doran) 

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Vibrant poster featuring Josh Ritter smiling as he wails on a guitar next to Wesley Stace.

Poster featuring Josh Ritter and Wesley Stace. Designed by Robert Barker

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Wesley Stace, in a greenish leather jacket, stoically stares directly at the camera in this press photo.

Wesley Stace. Photo by Bill Wadman

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Colorful poster (with black background) displays events and names of the people taking part in the 2010 WAMFEST, May 3-6 2010. Examples include poets Paul Muldoon and Robert Pinsky, artist-in-residence Wesley Stace, and musicians Bruce Springsteen and Joh

Poster from WAMFEST 2010. Designed by Robert Barker

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Festival founder David Daniel gestures at the podiunm to a captive audience. He moderates a panel between Wesley Stace and Josh Ritter at the 2011 WAMFEST.

Wesley Stace, Josh Ritter, and David Daniel. Photo by Dan Landau

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A focused Josh Ritter reads from his new (and first) novel.

Musician and writer Josh Ritter reading from his new novel, Bright's Passage. Photo by Dan Landau

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Wesley Stace and Josh Ritter, guitars in hand, do an acoustic duet.

Wesley Stace and Josh Ritter perform. Photo by Dan Landau

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A WAMFEST audience looks on.

A rapt Word and Music Festival audience. Photo by Dan Landau

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Stace smiles widely as he performs.

Wesley Stace performs. Photo by Dan Landau

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Josh Ritter enjoys a reading by friend and writer, Wesley Stace.

Josh Ritter enjoys a front row seat as Wesley Stace reads. Photo by Dan Landau.

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An animated Wesley Stace reads from his latest book, Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer, at WAMFEST 2011.

Wesley Stace reads. Photo by Dan Landau

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David Daniel introduces the dream panel from 2010 between Bruce Springstreen and Robert Pinsky, moderated by Wesley Stace

David Daniel. Photo taken from video footage by Bill Doran

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A bright yellow poster highlights events from the 2011 WAMFEST, April 26-May7. Acts include the bands The Fiery Furnaces and Owen and a conversation / performance with Alejandro Escovedo, Tony Visconti and Dave Marsh.

Poster from WAMFEST 2011. Designed by Robert Barker

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Eleanor Friedberger, of The Fiery Furnaces, holds the mic and sings. She's wearing a short black leather jacket over a flower-print dress.

Eleanor Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces. Photo by Dan Landau

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Wesley Stace moderates a panel between The Fiery Furnaces, which is Eleanor Friedberger and her brother, Matthew Friedberger.

Wesley Stace and Eleanor Friedberger. Photo by Dan Landau

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Musicians John Doe, on guitar, and Exene Cervanka, on the mic, perform.

Musicians John Doe and Exene Cervanka. Photo by Dan Landau

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Comedian Eugene Mirman performs in front of a giant poster that boasts images of artists taking part in WAMFEST 2010.

Comedian Eugene Mirman performs. Photo taken from video footage by Bill Doran

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Musician Exene Cervanka, in bright red lipstick, enthusiatically belts out a number.

Musician Exene Cervanka performs. Photo by Dan Landau

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Wesley Stace in conversation with critics, Nancy Franklin, Alex Ross, and Ben Greenman of the New Yorker.

Wesley Stace with critics, Nancy Franklin, Alex Ross, and Ben Greenman of The New Yorker. Photo by Dan Landau

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Critic Alex Ross addresses the audience.

Critic Alex Ross on The New Yorker panel. Photo by Dan Landau

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David Daniel, wearing all black, plays emcee.

David Daniel. Photo by Scott Giglio

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Irish poet Paul Muldoon with his trademark wiry hair discusses his poetry.

Paul Muldoon. Photo by Dan Landau

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2010 WAMFEST poster featuring poet Paul Muldoon staring the viewer in the eye next to a faded image of Wesley Stace standing and performing.

Poster of poet Paul Muldoon and Wesley Stace. Designed by Robert Barker

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Producer Tony Visconti and musician Alejandro Escovedo

Producer Tony Visconti and musician Alejandro Escovedo. Photo by Dan Landau

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Poet Paul Muldoon in conversation with Wesley Stace as an audience looks on.

Paul Muldoon, Wesley Stace, and audience. Photo by Dan Landau

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Wesley Stace in conversation with critic Dave Marsh, producer Tony Visconti, and musician Alejandro Escovedo.

Wesley Stace chats with critic Dave Marsh, producer Tony Visconti, and musician Alejandro Escovedo. Photo by Dan Landau

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Vibrant 2009 poster featuring critic Dave Marsh, author of Born to Run, The Bruce Springsteen Story, Volume 1.

Poster featuring critic Dave Marsh from 2009. Designed by Robert Barker

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Comedian Michael Showalter raises one arm into the air as he performs with WAMFEST poster in background. We see images of Wesley Stace, Robert Pinsky, Paul Muldoon, John Doe and Exene Cervanka.

Comedian Michael Showalter performs. Photo taken from video footage by Bill Doran

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The Fiery Furnaces: Eleanor Friedberger and brother Matthew Friedberger with backdrop of WAMFEST poster.

The Fiery Furnaces. Eleanor Friedberger and brother Matthew Friedberger. Photo by Dan Landau

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Comedian Michael Showalter slouches against the podium, with one hand in his jeans pocket. In the background we see the signature WAMFEST poster.

Comedian Michael Showalter performs. Photo taken from video footage by Bill Doran

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Rosanne, legs crossed, wearing her father's trademark black, smiles as she reacts to a question.

Rosanne Cash in conversation. Photo by Scott Giglio

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Bruce Springsteen leans over his guitar as he plays an acoustic number.

Bruce Springsteen performs. Photo taken from video footage by Bill Doran

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Robert Pinsky, wearing a black T-shirt, thoughtfully lets the audience in on a secret.

Robert Pinsky. Photo taken from video footage by Bill Doran

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Bruce Springsteen, arms crossed over his guitar, talks with Robert Pinsky.

Bruce Springsteen in conversation. Photo taken from video footage by Bill Doran

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Robert Pinsky responds to the Boss, Bruce Springsteen.

Robert Pinsky responds. Photo taken from video footage by Bill Doran