UPDATE AUGUST 10, 2021:
The Philadelphia Folksong Society announces with great sadness the cancellation of the IN-PERSON portion of the 59½ Pocket-Sized Philadelphia Folk Festival, and will present the Festival entirely online this Aug 21-22nd. PFS is going forward with the Online portion of the event to present extraordinary artists, both local and international, bringing them to you through our own online digital festival experience as we did in 2020. Later this week, PFS will be announcing more performers, such as Folk legend Peggy Seeger, who is now living back in the UK and will be performing with her son, Calum. In addition, you can look forward to incredible performances from local favorite Philadelphia artists, as well as international performers from Canada, England, Finland, Iberia, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, plus, PFF is thrilled to welcome our NEW international partners, the Canadian Folk Music Awards, as the event shifts entirely to their online platform, developed by Moxie Event Productions. We encourage everyone to purchase a digital ticket to the event HERE.
Thank you to all who have already purchased tickets to PFF 59½ and to the volunteers, we are grateful for your continued support! Digital ticket holders have already been enjoying access to the full digital festival experience since August 1st. Ticket holders to the in person event will be receiving emailed instructions about their tickets, access to the digital festival, and refunds.
Since March 2020, the Philadelphia Folksong Society has followed the science, consulting with local and national infectious disease experts to ensure the safety of our folk community in pursuit of their mission to preserve the past, promote the present, and secure the future of folk music and related forms of expression. With health guidelines changing daily and the rise in COVID infections to their highest in months, coupled with the fact that PFF is a family event and that children are not able to be vaccinated, we have made the decision to cancel the in-person portion of the Festival.
“The team at the Philadelphia Folksong Society is the best there is, and has proven consistently able to produce a robust and entertaining online event.” said Rob Bralow, President of the Board for the Philadelphia Folksong Society. “As a lifelong fest-goer, I know I share in the disappointment of many that we will not be together this year, but after reviewing the data and the science available, we believe this to be the best decision for the safety of our community and in line with our mission.”
The 59 1⁄2 Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival Pocket Sized Edition will allow for the same great features of the 2020 Global Digital Festival, from digital campfires and campsites, to crafts and festival merch all online! Additional acts and partners will be announced for the digital stages shortly, and digital tickets are available for purchase now. Digital ticket holders have access to all stages through August 31 plus access to the PFS archives for the entire month of August.
Watch the video statement from Board President, Rob Bralow, here: https://youtu.be/vGY9yu4xrF4
We are sure that you have all guessed that we will not be gathering together on the farm again this year, but PFS wanted to send you official notice of what WILL be happening. While everyone has personal opinions and very deep feelings about what we could or should or might do, here is the information about what the PFS Board of Directors has decided based on what we are permitted to do. Please know that great deliberation went into these decisions, especially given how quickly information has been changing. The Board focused on safety first and foremost, followed by fiscal responsibility and mission. Because we need both a Mass Gathering Permit from the Montgomery County Board of Health AND a Memorandum of Understanding from Upper Salford Township to be able to host any event, regardless of COVID, PFS consulted with both entities as well as infectious disease experts at Temple University Hospital, Episcopal Hospital, and Pfizer in making its decision.
The Legacy of The Philadelphia Folk Festival
The story of the Philadelphia Folk Festival starts with one of the most overused clichés in the world: ‘It was a cold and rainy night.’ You saw Pete Seeger’s breath before you heard his voice when he took the stage and the Philadelphia Folk Festival made its debut on an end-of-summer evening in 1962. Since that very first Festival, and every year since, we have delighted in presenting superstars and rising stars alike.
This year, we are thrilled to announce our partnership with Mountain View Staging to present the 59th Annual Festival as a fully digital interactive musical experience, complete with multiple streams of curated music, fully integrated chat features, campfire open mics, Zoom campsites, craft show, food and merchandise tents, and above all else: the invaluable sense of community and connectivity that comes from the shared experience of enjoying music together. This shift to a digital experience dashes geographical constraints and opens our doors in a new way, welcoming in our Global family.
Since that very first Festival, and every year since, we have delighted in presenting superstars and rising stars alike, inviting discovery and just sharing what we love by creating a safe space for our folk family to gather together. ‘Fest’ is a place where everyone is welcome and you will never meet a stranger. There is something so magical about what happens when a group of people come together with a unified spirit.
Founded in 1957 by a small group of folk artists and enthusiasts, the Philadelphia Folksong Society is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to to preserving the past, promoting the present, and securing the future of folk music and related forms of expression through education, presentation, and participation. The Society offers programs that present cultural history and provide enjoyment to tens thousands of people of all ages while preserving a vast variety of musical styles and historical perspectives. Its beloved landmark event the Philadelphia Folk Festival launched in 1962 and has gone on to become the oldest, continuously run outdoor music festival in all of North America. The Festival has earned a reputation for world-class programming, annually presenting both emerging artists and well-known talent that actively seeks to broaden public interaction with folk music that resides outside of typical perceptions of the genre. Now in its 59th year, the Festival responded to the global pandemic that devastated the music industry not by cancelling, but by pivoting the event to a fully interactive digital music experience that can by accessed by our core audience of four generations of festgoers in addition to music lovers around the world!