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35 Years of Free Folk Festivals

The San Francisco Free Folk Festival, our unique San Francisco tradition, is celebrating its 35th birthday this year June 25th & 26th at the historic Presidio Middle School. It will showcase local talent and folk traditions from the heartland and from the hearts of diverse communities throughout the Bay Area. As always, it is 100% free.

Festival-goers will experience free live music and dance performances on three stages, choose from 86 hours of music and dance workshops led by performing arts experts, join in organized and impromptu jams throughout the festival, and rub shoulders with thousands of other folk music fans and their curious friends. There is also local food, raffles, crafts from local artisans, and more.

The San Francisco Free Folk Festival is a project of the San Francisco Folk Music Club. Since the first annual event in 1976, at the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, the Festival has been an interactive cornerstone celebration of folk music's rich history, and a treasured tradition for folk lovers from throughout the Bay Area.

This year, for the third time, the Festival will be held at the 1930s Spanish-Style Presidio Middle School, 450 30th Ave., between Geary and Clement. Park free on the street or for a small fee on-site; Muni line 38 Geary runs nearby). The Festival runs noon–10:00 p.m. each day.

As in past years, the 2011 festival will celebrate the shared experience of American populism, new and emerging talent intent on fostering meaning in music, and the global roots of cultural traditions that meet in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is sponsored by the San Francisco Folk Music Center, and enjoys support from KALW radio.

See our Facebook group.


Fold-in/Folk Sing June 19

The fold-in is at noon, Sunday, June 19, at the home of Abe & Joan Feinberg,

The more, the merrier. Help with the folknik, enjoy a meal afterwards, and make music. Bring a potluck dish and instruments. Share

July 4 Campout—Boulder Creek

The SFFMC campout will once again be in the redwoods at the Boulder Creek Scout Reservation —the same place as last year's July 4th and Labor Day campouts. It's about a mile from Boulder Creek, off Bear Creek Road. Go to July 4 & Labor Day camps for a map and written directions.


Jams and workshops: Informal daytime jams and around the campfires at night, two nights of open mics, and varied workshops. We're planning workshops on sea songs, two and three-chord songs and many more. Some suggestions: songs of the Carter family, Malvina Reynolds, Bill Staines, and instrument instruction.

Anyone can lead a workshop! If you'd like to lead one, or have suggestions for a topic, e-mail Phyllis at or sign up at camp at the workshop bulletin board near the registration table.

Open mics: Usually the 2nd and 3rd nights of camp, at the main, outdoor amphitheater. A sign-up list will be at the registration table.

Swimming: Bring your swimsuit! The July 4th weekend is usually great weather for swimming. We plan to have the required lifeguard and open the pool on the 2nd and 3rd days from noon to 4:00 pm.

Potluck: Community potluck Saturday night at the outside dining area near the kitchen. After dinner, an open mic in the amphitheater. We can use the camp's kitchen, with refrigerator and freezer, stove, oven and microwave to store and heat potluck food. Also available: plates, silverware, pans, and serving utensils. All dishes, pots and pans, etc. need to be washed afterwards. Label any leftovers you want saved.

Hiking: Several hiking trails begin at the camp: a self-guided historical trail about 3.5 miles long, and a nature trail about 2.5 miles long, among others.

SFFMC T-Shirts: will be for sale at the registration table at $15.00 each. New color—burgundy—plus blue or maroon, in various sizes.


The camp capacity is several hundred, so there is plenty of room. Many campsites have fire pits, and there is usually firewood available. Near the kitchen is an outdoor dining area and deck, picnic tables and umbrellas (and a machine with free ice). Also nearby are the pool, eight tent-cabins with cots, and a bathroom with showers. At the bottom of the hill by the parking lot is a large flat site for tents; bathrooms with flush toilets and running water are nearby. RVs are welcome; they park in the parking lot.

We cannot drive directly into campsites; we have to park vehicles in the parking lot or alongside the paved road and use carts provided by the camp to take our gear a short distance to the campsites.

The camp has neighbors directly across Bear Creek, so any music near the creek after 10:00 pm —the usual curfew for noise—needs to be quiet. If you plan to sing late, please locate your circle as far from Bear Creek as possible, also at a distance from the ranger's house.

Pitching In

Everyone over 12 years old (except day-use attendees) does an hour of camp duty: registration and parking, cleanup after the potluck, or camp cleanup on the last day. Please sign up at the registration table as soon as possible after arriving. And please show up for your chore. If you can't, leave a note at the registration table so we can cover the time.

If you arrive early (before 2:00 pm the first day), you can help post signs, register and direct parking.


NEW! NO ADVANCE REGISTRATION. Register at camp only. It's first-come, first-serve for campsites and tent cabins. There are about 17 tent cabins, which are always enough for those who want them.

Friday, July 1, 2:00 pm–Monday, July 4, 12 noon: three nights

Rates: Adults: $15/night per person, kids under 16: $7/night per person, up to two kids in a family. Additional kids in the same family: free. Day use: $7/person.


We want to publicize this campout widely to increase attendance so we can afford to keep coming to this location—one of our favorites. Spread the word to all your friends who are interested in folk music! It is not necessary to be a member to attend, although we encourage new members. Blanks are available at the registration table. Dues: $10/year.

We are sending publicity to music stores, several California folk clubs, and other organizations. If you have ideas about where to send flyers and post cards, or want a PDF of our black and white, 8.5 x 11 inch photo flyer to print and post, contact Phyllis Jardine at Share

Kilby Snow Anthology

Mike Mueller is pleased to announce The Kilby Snow Anthology Series, a six CD set of all known remaining Kilby Snow recorded songs and tunes. The Anthology is the culmination of Mike's ten-year study about Snow, a remarkable and gifted musician—the first grandmaster of the autoharp.

Putting the CDs together has taken Mike and Marc Blake two years and the CDs include close to 150 songs and tunes, many of them previously unreleased, including the only known recordings of Snow live in concert.

For more information about Kilby Snow and the project, including ordering information and many previously unreleased photographs, visit Share

California Coast Music Camp Celebrates 20 Years

This summer, California Coast Music Camp (CCMC) will be celebrating its 20th year of bringing quality acoustic music instruction to Northern California.

The very popular, two week-long camps will be held July 10–16 and July 17–23. The camp is located on a wooded ridge at 4,000 feet, overlooking a deep river canyon in the historic Sierra Nevada Gold Country in Placer County, northeast of Sacramento.

Which styles do you like: bluegrass, old timey, folk, blues, Celtic, Brazilian, jazz? Each week, CCMC offers over 30 classes in a wide range of styles at all skill levels. CCMC selects instructors who are both good musicians and good teachers. Many are internationally renowned.

About 25% of CCMC's classes are designed for beginners and another 40% for intermediate players and singers. There are repertoire and band lab classes and other fun classes for all campers. Whether you're a shy beginner or a seasoned professional, CCMC's classes and activities will challenge and inspire you. The supportive atmosphere will encourage you to stretch musically, regardless of your level or experience. Get detailed class descriptions and teacher bios for each week at

Besides classes, there are concerts, lots of jamming and performance opportunities, and workshops on diverse topics, musical and otherwise. Swimming and hiking are non-musical options at CCMC, and some campers bring bikes to explore old roads and mining towns in the area.

Camp fees are $800 for tent or RV camping, $925 for shared cabins. All meals, snacks, concerts, classes, workshops and other events are included. Scholarships are available. Get more info and register for camp at See pictures and get commentaries on camp on their Facebook page, Share