The Caltech Folk Music Society

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The Caltech Folk Music Society is a student-run organization dedicated to promoting and enjoying traditional and contemporary folk music. We host regular events on campus, including concerts, workshops, and jam sessions. We also maintain a lending library of folk instruments.


The Caltech Folk Music Society is a student-run organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of traditional folk music. We host weekly open mics and monthly concerts, featuring both local and touring folk musicians. All are welcome to attend our events and join in the musical fun!

What is the Caltech Folk Music Society?

The Caltech Folk Music Society is a group of musicians who meet to play and sing folk music. We welcome musicians of all levels of experience, from beginners to experts. We also enjoy dancing, so we often have square dances or contra dances as well. Our meetings are open to the public, and we often have special events such as concerts or workshops.

The History of the Caltech Folk Music Society

The Caltech Folk Music Society was started in the early 1970s by two graduate students, Gordon Freeman and John Schlageter. Originally called the “Folk music at Caltech Committee”, the organization was created to bring the growing folk music scene on campus to a wider audience. The first event put on by the committee was a concert featuring the San Fernando Valley Folk Music Society.

In its early years, the Folk Music Society held concerts and jams in student residences and various campus locations. As interest in folk music grew, so did the size and scope of the organization. The Folk Music Society began booking nationally-known acts, holding concerts in [the Auditorium], and sponsoring an annual music festival

The Music of the Caltech Folk Music Society

Formed in the early 1960s, the Caltech Folk Music Society is a student-run organization that brings together people who enjoy playing and listening to folk music. We play a variety of music from the British Isles, North America, and elsewhere, including traditional songs, contemporary folk tunes, and singer-songwriter material. We also enjoy contra dancing (a form of American folk dancing) on occasion. New members are always welcome!

The Future of the Caltech Folk Music Society

The Caltech Folk Music Society has been a staple of the Caltech community for over 50 years. We are a student-run organization that hosts weekly folk music jams, open mics, and concerts. We also hold an annual folk music festival, the Pasadena Folk Festival, which is one of the largest student-run folk festivals in the country.

We are committed to promoting and preserving traditional and contemporary folk music, and to providing a supportive and welcoming community for folk musicians of all levels of experience. We believe that folk music is for everyone, and we strive to make our events accessible and inclusive for all.

In recent years, we have faced some challenges in maintainin our membership levels and attracting new members. We are aware that there is a perception that folk music is not relevant or popular among young people, and we are working to change that. We are looking to the future and working to ensure that the Caltech Folk Music Society remains an active and vibrant part of the campus community for many years to come.

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