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fAll Song Festival - Save the date!


We are so pleased to announce the first fAll Song Festival, September 24-26 2021, with guest artists, workshops, song circles, and lots of opportunities to make music and listen to music. Lots of details to come. In the meantime, please save the date.


For more information, just click here.

New Local Lore – and Old Local Lores!
May-June issue is out, and prior issues are now EASY to find

The May-June edition of the PFS newsletter, Local Lore, is just out. Members, if you have opted for the paper version, you should have received yours within the last week. 


This issue focuses on Maritime Music - not just the familiar Sea Shanties, but also surprises, like the important role of women in maritime music. And, lots of other stuff, including a report on our first really big online event, Singtime 2021 (Spoiler alert: it was pretty great!), a description of the PFS Endowment Fund, and an article about how online events have helped keep people connected during the COVID pandemic. Thanks to all the contributors: Stan Davis, Kate Larsen, Brian Warner, Tom Lewis, Alison Lucas, Mike Matheson, Brian Vollar, Helen Gilbert, David Ingerson, Paul Rippey and Barry Gorden.


As always, thanks to the Local Lore team that skillfully and lovingly put it all together: Editor and Designer Kim McLaughlin, Proofreader Ruth Bolliger, and Logistician and Mail Wizard Jeanette Warner.

Wait, wait - there's more!

We love Local Lore and the sad fact is, it's been hard to find, squirreled away in a remote corner of this website. We have made it easier to tap into all that folk music goodness by creating a new Local Lore page. You can check it out now: It's the first item in the Resources Menu. You'll find the last two and a half years of issues there, all easily downloadable. Enjoy reading them - hours of pleasure and edification are waiting for you!

Local Lore is one of the benefits of PFS membership. Members can have a paper copy if they want, and if they don't need paper they can download it as a PDF from this site under the Resources Menu. You can also pick up a copy at most PFS events, even if you aren't a member. But we're not having any in-person events for a while, so if you would like a paper copy of Local Lore, just look up in the menu bar for Join PFS. In addition to Local Lore, you get reduced prices on events, access to members-only parts of the website, and the pleasure of supporting the music you love! Now is a great time to join - we even have a special rate for people who are stressed during the COVID times. Check it out, and thanks!

Celeste Rose

January 23, 1939--June 1, 2021

On Tuesday, June 1st, the world tragically lost a larger-than-life, rare treasure. Celeste Rose—Eugene playwright, songwriter, singer, storyteller, director, puppeteer, actor, and, perhaps most significantly, mentor to thousands--died while in hospice in Springfield, Oregon. Founder of Eugene’s Community Children’s Theatre and the Oregon Fantasy Puppet Theatre, Celeste often attended Singtime Frolics, from where people remember her for her joyful and often uproarious sense of humor and dulcet singing voice. She was 82.

A Celebration of Life ceremony will be held in Eugene at the end of July--date, time, and place to be announced.

Jon Dickman 

Bob Dylan turns 80

There are people who don't like Dylan's songs, or accuse him of incorrect attitudes, or say he can't sing... And anyone who has recorded 39 studio albums over half a century is bound to fail to please a lot of people along the way. As he said, "Half of the people can be part right all of the time". 

But - oh my - the best of Dylan is extraordinary! It's not just his song writing. His singing was amazing. Check out this recording of Dylan singing Black Jack Davey. Dylan didn't write this - it's a traditional song based on Child Ballad 200. But he made it his own in this gritty full-tilt performance.

If you came to the Virtual Song Circle on May 22, you heard a lot of Dylan covers, and - at least it seemed to this observer - that the mood changed from folks being kind of irritated with Dylan's mercurial personality and occasional questionable remarks, to one of respect for the beauty of his best songs. 

The Fast Lane to Musical Joy

When Old Mr. Covid came to town, people started getting together on line every Saturday night from across the US and around the world to share songs and enjoy each other's company at the PFS Virtual Song Circle. Now that most folks are vaccinated, we’re STILL getting together. It’s too good to stop.

Just listening is fine, and any kind of music is fine. It's a big tent, and you are welcome. Our next session, on Saturday June 26, will be the 68th (something like that) VSC. THANK YOU to all the singers and listeners who have visited our screens, homes and hearts.

The room opens at 6:00 PM, first song at 6:30. All times Pacific Coast US. 

Experienced Song Circlers just click here to join.

Newbies: If you want to know what you're getting into before you go there, you can read all about Virtual Song Circles on the Song Circle Page

Emergency Broadband Support Program

We know some of you have really suffered during the pandemic, and we also know that on-line connections with old and new friends can be a game changer, especially when people are isolated and feel isolated. And having a good broadband connection is wonderful - fast internet means you have clear images and sound when you Zoom or do other video connections, and in general makes the experience of being on line a lot less irritating. 

Did you know that there is a Federal program to help people who can't otherwise afford it get broadband? The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households, and also help you acquire a better computer if you need one. There are conditions, of course, but if you think you might qualify, here's the link:

Look what's possible with Zoom!
How about some English Country Dance?

PFS Member Rob Hoffman - a media artist, a singer and a dancer himself - shared a couple of videos he made, and we're delighted to share them with you.

They were recorded in September 2020 during the "Odd Sundays English Dance", with participants from all over the United States and several other countries. The videos illustrate how folks have adapted their passion for folk dance and music during the COVID pandemic. We also think they are a first class example of video craftspersonship: Watch either one, and you'll see how they start with the simplest steps, and just a couple of minutes later, the screen is alive with dancers. They are just really well filmed and superbly edited (and by the way, if you want to learn some folk dancing, they are a good place to start!)

Rob would be happy to hear from you: Write to Rob

He also invites you to share the links:

Key to the Cellar:
Fop's Fancy:

Racial Equity Statement from PFS

Portland FolkMusic Society celebrates all musical traditions whose foundations flow from communities and cultures of color.

We recognize that we are an overwhelmingly white organization. We hope to become a more inclusive and diverse organization by taking the following steps: 

  1. We ask that if any member or volunteer detects racism or biases in our structures, processes, publicity or activities, they will speak up and bring this to the attention of PFS. 
  2. We will include more artists of color in our performances. 
  3. We will reach out to our local communities of color for inclusion. 
  4. We will report annually to our membership how we are doing on these goals. 

We invite comments and engagement from PFS members. We look forward to the essential, ongoing work of listening, learning, and changing that is ahead of us.

The Virtues of Virtual

PFS Song Circles in the age of COVID

You must know by now that PFS is holding Saturday Evening Virtual Song Circles every Saturday Evening. We held the first - with little preparation - on March 14, when we were all waking up to the reality of COVID19, and we realized we couldn't responsibly go ahead and hold the scheduled in-person song circle. So, with 24 hours warning, we met on line. The technology was new to a lot of people, we didn't know much about how to host the event, and it was rough - but people had a good time, and someone asked, "Can we do this again next week?" We thought, "Why not?" And we haven't stopped. We had our 60th VSC on May 1, 2021, and they are still going strong. 

Please consider coming; you will be welcomed and feel welcome, no matter your skills or equipment or whatever. A few of the regular participants have good set-ups, with separate cameras and mics. Most use laptops. A few just come in by phone. It doesn't matter.

Check out highlights of a recent song circle here.

And there's so much more...

There is a LOT of other online folk music now, with opportunities to listen, take classes, and sing.

PFS volunteer Barry Gorden has been doing a super job posting the events he hears about, and if you have others, let him know at

Look at the Upcoming Events calendar to find out how you can stay connected, during these disconnected times!

Upcoming Events
Upcoming Events


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Since 1976, Portland FolkMusic Society has been active preserving, presenting and promoting folk music and arts in the greater Portland Oregon area. PFS sponsors song circles, concerts, workshops and retreats, and helps its members and the whole community pass the word around about folk music events, from old time ballads to sea shanties, from 60’s protest folk to contemporary singer-songwriters.

PFS is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. 

Portland Folkmusic Society
P.O. Box 1448
Portland, OR 97207-1448
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