Community. It is the community of the Philadelphia Folksong Society and Philadelphia Folk Festival that have propelled us to becoming not only the oldest, continuously run outdoor music festival in North America, but also one of the premiere presenters, preservers, and educators of the artform. The safety and well-being of our community has been at the forefront of the Society’s planning processes for decades and with the current global health crisis surrounding COVID-19, right now is no exception. Whatever your current fears or feelings are surrounding COVID-19, please know that they are valid: this is a serious matter that has claimed lives around the world. We know there are a lot of fears & conflicting information that are being presented to you from the media. We recommend that our community follows information from the CDC and the WHO. Educate yourself and make the best decisions for you and your loved ones.
Please know that I have personally met with a doctor specializing in infectious disease from Temple University Hospital, consulted with our cleaning company that has been with the PFS venue and Philadelphia Folk School since its opening, and even sat in on a webinar from the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections to ensure that the organization has all the up-to-date information to ensure our community’s safety.
Here’s what we would love our community to know about the precautions the Society is taking:
Philadelphia Folksong Society Venue
The Philadelphia Folksong Society WILL NOT be cancelling any of its currently scheduled concerts unless it is the wish of the act performing to cancel or new guidelines are presented by the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control, and/or City of Philadelphia that warrant cancellation. When you purchase a ticket to see a concert in the Philadelphia Folksong Society, you are supporting touring and/or local musicians who depend on ticket income for their livelihood – in fact 75% (or more!) of your ticket price goes DIRECTLY to the performing artist. With concerts being canceled for touring musicians left and right, the Society will continue to support our musicians while taking additional precautions for our community:
- Working with a professional cleaning service, PFS has identified all of the high-touch areas of the venue and are having them thoroughly cleaned before and after each concert to ensure safety.
- PFS has increased professional cleanings to ensure that the venue is sanitized prior to your arrival for any concert.
- Barring inclement weather, PFS will be keeping the front door open until showtime and post-concert to limit your interaction with high-touch handles.
- Hand sanitizer will be available for use at the check-in desk.
- Additional soap and toilet paper are stocked in all bathrooms to ensure they are always available to guests.
- Any artist that is not feeling 100% has been advised to notify the Society with as much warning as possible so that their concert may be rescheduled.
- Any attendee that is not feeling 100% OR is wishing to be cautious about their health and well-being will be given a voucher to see any concert of their choosing at PFS with no expiration date. Your safety and peace of mind come first and foremost to us.
Philadelphia Folk School
The Philadelphia Folksong Society WILL NOT be cancelling any of its currently scheduled music education courses for Spring 2020 unless it is the wish of the teaching artist to cancel or new guidelines are presented by the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control, and/or City of Philadelphia that warrant cancellation. The Philadelphia Folk School’s courses satisfy the Society’s mission to secure the future of Folk music and we will continue to support our teaching artists while taking additional precautions for our community:
- Working with a professional cleaning service, PFS has identified all of the high-touch areas of the Philadelphia Folk School and are having them thoroughly cleaned before and after each concert to ensure safety.
- PFS has increased professional cleanings to ensure that the classrooms are sanitized prior to your arrival for any class.
- For our Wee Folk & PB & Jammers Parents: While the virus is currently not affecting youth, all instruments and props are continuing to be sanitized before and after each class for your child’s use.
- Hand sanitizer will be available for use at the check-in desk and has been installed on the wall outside the PFS classrooms since its opening for student and parent use.
- Additional soap and toilet paper are stocked in all bathrooms to ensure they are always available to students.
- Any teaching artist that is not feeling 100% has been advised to notify the Society with as much warning as possible so that their class may be rescheduled.
- Any student that is not feeling 100% OR is wishing to be cautious about their health and well-being will be given a voucher to participate in any course/class of their choosing at PFS with no expiration date. Your safety and peace of mind come first and foremost to us.
Odyssey of American Music Education Program
The Odyssey of American Music education program has been going into Philadelphia area schools since 1974 providing music lessons, instrument lessons, and in-class concerts to the youth who need it the most. As long as in-person classes are scheduled to take place at an Odyssey school and the school and teaching artists wish to continue with the program, the Society will provide the Odyssey program. All schools or artists wishing to reschedule their program may do so.
Philadelphia Music Co-op
The Philadelphia Folksong Society is committed to presenting Philadelphia Music Co-op artists in the venue, as described above, but in addition, will continue its professional development series with workshops on Taxes and Getting Your Music on the Folk charts in March and April.
Philadelphia Folk Festival
The Philadelphia Folk Festival HAS NO CURRENT PLANS to cancel its 59th Annual event this August 13-16, 2020. The Festival Director has been in close contact with Upper Salford Township and they are monitoring any and all developments as they occur. The Society is committed to working with the Montgomery County Board of Health to insure the safety of its attendees at the Festival, as it did with Bird Flu in 2006, Swine Flu in 2009, and ZIKA in 2016. The Festival IS a mass gathering of 5,000 or more people and would not be taking place if it were scheduled for today, but the event is five months in the future. Five months ago, COVID-19 was not even in our vocabulary and we cannot guess where we will be five months from now. Medical professionals have advised our organization and our colleagues at other large outdoor events such as Coachella that late Summer and early Fall are advisable times for events to be rescheduled… luckily Fest is already in that time frame! The Festival will follow any new guidelines as they are presented by the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control, and/or Upper Salford Township to ensure the safety of our attendees, volunteers, and performers. We encourage our community to look forward to a gorgeous Festival on the farm.
Here’s what we would love our community to know about the precautions that YOU should be taking:
- If you are sick, stay at home. Don’t come to the Philadelphia Folksong Society or Philadelphia Folk School with a cough or a fever. For your safety and that of others: please don’t come. If you have a compromised immune system, please follow your best discretion. We will work to schedule additional concerts with all of our March and April performers in late 2020 so that you don’t miss a thing.
- If you have recently traveled, internationally, to a region which is under travel restrictions, please do not attending the Society or School for a period of 5 days after you return. We don’t want to limit your fun, but we don’t want to unnecessarily spread a virus.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds at a time EVERY TIME. We recommend a chorus and verse of “This Land is Your Land” as your barometer. Hand Sanitizer is great, but don’t discount good ‘ol soap and water.
- And the HARDEST RECOMMENDATION OF ALL: Avoid excessive handshakes, hugs, and physical body contact while at PFS no matter HOW MUCH you love your fellow folkie.
From everyone that I have spoken with regarding the virus, please know that the numbers are most likely going to get worse before they get better. As such, the Philadelphia Folksong Society and Philadelphia Folk Festival will continue to monitor the latest news and recommendations to ensure your safety while supporting our musicians, teaching artists, and you: our community.
Can’t wait to see you soon, but until then, am sending out a digital hug,