On 22nd April 2011, Hazel Dickens passed away. Hazel was one of the most important bluegrass singers of the last fifty years and the writer of very poignant songs drawn from her personal experience. Her ties to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the Festival family were long-standing and very close. Beginning in 1969, she appeared at the Festival fifteen times, and when Ralph Rinzler, the founding director of the Festival, would have office parties at his home, Hazel was usually invited. These were great evenings of sharing songs, and everything would always stop when it was Hazel’s turn to sing.
The Smithsonian Folkways website features a wonderful tribute to Hazel Dickens.