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!