In The Press!

Philadelphia Folk Festival’s Devoted Community of Music Lovers Revived Event Celebrating Its 61st Year Returning August 16th-18th 2024 At Old Pool Farm Upper Salford Township, PA

Philadelphia, PA — After a brief pause in 2023, the Philadelphia Folk Festival will make its triumphant return to Old Pool Farm on August 16th-18th thanks to the unwavering support of its devoted community of music lovers, local businesses, community sponsors, and lifelong festival attendees. Through a collective effort, dedication to the music celebrated at the farm each summer, the festival successfully raised the necessary funds to ensure its revival this August. With a lineup that pays homage to the festival’s rich heritage while embracing new and diverse talent, attendees can expect a weekend filled with stellar performances and cherished memories. This year’s performers include GangstagrassJohn OatesTony Trischka’s EarlJam – A Tribute to Earl ScruggsThe Secret Sisters and Adam Ezra Group amongst others.
Both the Philadelphia Folk Festival and presenter Philadelphia Folksong Society underwent strategic restructuring during their 2023 hiatus. Thanks to the unwavering support of the volunteer board of directors, festival volunteers, partners, donors, and PFS members, the festival now stands on solid financial ground, poised to deliver an unforgettable experience in its 61st year.
“In early 2023, the board of PFS made the very difficult decision to cancel the Philadelphia Folk Festival for that year,” says PFS board president, Miles Thompson. “PFS was deeply in debt from the previous festival and the general operations of the organization. This was the first time since 1962 that the Philadelphia Folk Festival would not happen. We discussed declaring bankruptcy. We discussed discontinuing entirely. But in the end, we decided that the magical experience that is the Philadelphia Folk Festival must survive.”
“We had no money, but we had PFS members, volunteers, and music lovers who form an amazing, supportive community, who love the experience and tradition of the festival, and who made it clear that they would do whatever they could to help bring the festival back,” he continues. “The board of PFS enacted a policy of having all regular meetings open to the public and being very transparent about our financial struggles and attempts to ‘right the ship.’ The board agreed to become a ‘working board’ taking on administrative duties and fundraising responsibilities that would otherwise be handled by paid staff.”
“Our members responded with an outpouring of support: people renewed their memberships before they were due; many members renewed memberships with extra money donated; Others donated to PFS or arranged for their employers to contribute what would have gone to personal retirement account. One person donated $25,000 from their family-trust. Many people rejoined PFS after taking some time away, a sign of trust in the new board and our collective vision to bring back the festival in 2024.”
“The Philly Folk Festival is a place where time and age stand still,” says 2024 performer and lifelong attendee,” Shannon Lambert-Ryan of the band RUNA. “Where friends become family. Where the magic of music and love is shared between generations, and where the memories of those who have gone before continue to dance with us.”
“Our family has been there from the very beginning when my grandfather and my four-year-old mom went to the very first Philadelphia Folk Fest at Wilson Farm in 1962! They started an annual summer celebration for our family that has continued and they will both be at fest this year. Our ‘union-made’ family spent our days on the hill singing labor songs with Pete Seeger and listening to the beautiful flute music of Bill Miller.  We spent our afternoons playing under the shade of Dulcimer Grove with the Give and Take Jugglers, and our evenings dancing with De Dannan, Wolfstone, and BeauSoleil. We were lulled on Sunday evening by the magic of Michael Cooney and our own, Gene Shay, singing ‘Shine on Harvest Moon,’ sending us on our way to dream of next year’s magic yet to come. Somewhere along the way, I found life come full circle as I celebrated my 25th birthday performing up on the Main Stage with the Guy Mendilow Band.”
“I met my husband, Fionán de Barra, at the Saturday night Performer’s Party and we now have a six-year-old son, Liam,” she continues. “We have performed at Fest several times with our own Celtic Roots band, RUNA! The joy of looking out from the stage and watching fest families, volunteers, campers and first timers singing and dancing with us makes my nostalgic fest heart burst.”

This press release was sent out on July 15, 2024 by Maggie Poulos about our historic comeback this year. It is a great story!