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May 14, 2020

Philadelphia Folk Festival moves to virtual venue for summer 2020 event

The 59th annual music festival will stream performances online

Concerts Philadelphia Folk Festival
Philadelphia Folkfest 2020 virtual Courtesy of/Philadelphia Folksong Society

The 2020 Philadelphia Folk Festival will become a virtual event this summer. Performances will be streamed virtually for the 59th installment of the folk music fest.

The Philadelphia Folk Festival announced Tuesday it will not take place as a live event this year. Instead, remote performances will be streamed online.

Event organizers from the Philadelphia Folksong Society say that festival performances will occur in a "digital concert venue" for the first time ever. The decades-long tradition is in its 59th installment. The annual event began in 1962.

From Aug. 13-16 this year, the event will take place across three virtual stages. The organization hopes to continue its streak as the longest-running outdoor music festival in the U.S by moving their festival to an online model.

"With COVID-19 threatening to derail a decades-long tradition, this folk community responded as it always has, with ingenuity, compassion, and the indomitable spirit of people-power," the festival wrote in a statement. 

The Philadelphia Folksong Society says that they will present a fully-digital interactive experience, with multiple stages of curated music, chat features, open mics, online campsites, a craft show, and food and merchandise.

The festival intends to also provide to attendees "the invaluable sense of community and connectivity that comes from the shared experience of enjoying music together."

Headliner John Prine and founder Gene Shay, both pillars of the world folk music community, were among the many who died this year from COVID-19. There will be tributes honoring both men at the virtual concert this year.

Tickets will be offered on a sliding scale this year, starting at $25 per daily ticket. More information on ticketing can be found on the Philadelphia Folk Festival website.

The four-day festival is run almost entirely by thousands of volunteers. It is typically held at Old Pool Farm in Upper Salford Township in Montgomery County, with crowds as big as 35,000.

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