Folk Music in Boston MA

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

If you’re looking for the best folk music in Boston MA, then you’ve come to the right place. Check out our calendar of events to find the perfect show for you.

The history of folk music in Boston

Folk music has been an integral part of the Boston music scene since the 1950s. The city has produced some of the most influential and iconic folk musicians of all time, including Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell.

Boston’s folk music scene reached its peak in the 1960s with the rise of the `60s folk revival. This was a nationwide movement that sought to revive interest in traditional folk music and to create new, modern interpretations of those songs. Boston became a hotbed for this activity, with many famous folk clubs and venues popping up around the city. Some of the most well-known include Club 47 (now Passim) and The Saturday Night Club (now Atwood’s Tavern).

Folk music in Boston continued to be popular in the 1970s and 1980s, with both traditional and contemporary artists finding success. In more recent years, the city has seen a resurgence in interest in folk music, with new clubs and festivals popping up throughout the area. Boston is now home to a vibrant and thriving folk music community that is keeping this important musical tradition alive.

The different folk music scenes in Boston

Folk music has been a part of the fabric of Boston since the city’s inception. From the sea shanties of the early sailors to the Irish ballads of the immigrants who came to work in the mills and factories, folk music has always been a way for people to tell their stories and connect with their heritage.

Today, there are several different folk music scenes in Boston, each with its own flavor and style. The traditional Celtic music scene is alive and well in places like The Druid pub in Cambridge, while newer Americana and roots music can be heard at clubs like Atwood’s Tavern in East Boston.

If you’re looking to experience some of the best folk music that Boston has to offer, check out one of these venues:

The Druid: This pub has been a fixture in the Cambridge folk scene for decades, and it’s the perfect place to catch a traditional Celtic band or singer-songwriter.

Atwood’s Tavern: This club is known for its Americana and roots music, and it’s a great place to see up-and-coming artists.

The Red House: This Somerville venue is home to both traditional and contemporary folk music, making it a great place to experience a wide range of sounds.

The different folk music venues in Boston

Boston is home to a vibrant folk music scene, with many different venues offering live music every night of the week. Here are just a few of the places you can go to enjoy some of the best folk music in the city.

The Red Room at Cafe 939 is one of the most popular folk music venues in Boston. The intimate setting and excellent sound system create a perfect environment for enjoying live music. The cafe regularly features local and national touring acts, making it a great place to catch up-and-coming talent.

The Lizard Lounge is another excellent choice for folk music in Boston. This club has been hosting live music since 1988, and it has become one of the most respected Folk rooms in the country. The Lizard Lounge features both local and touring acts, and you can often find some of the best up-and-coming talent here.

Club Passim is one of the oldest continuously operating Folk clubs in the country. This venerable institution has been fostering the growth of Folk music in Boston for over 50 years, and it remains an important part of the city’s musical culture. Club Passim features both local and touring acts, making it a great place to catch live music any night of the week.

The different folk music festivals in Boston

Boston is home to a vibrant music scene, with a wide range of genres represented. One particularly active area is folk music, with several festivals held throughout the year.

The first major festival is the Boston Folk Festival, held in early September. This event showcases local and national talent, with a focus on acoustic and traditional music. Attendees can enjoy performances on multiple stages, participate in workshops, and purchase CDs and other merchandise from vendors.

Another popular festival is Passim’s Iguana Music Festival, held in late October. This event features a mix of local and touring acts, with a diverse range of styles represented. In addition to live music, the festival offers dance workshops, kids’ activities, and food from local vendors.

For those interested in bluegrass music, the MassJAM Bluegrass Festival is held each summer in western Massachusetts. The festival features three days of live music, camping, and jamming sessions. In addition to bluegrass bands, there are also performers of old-time music, Celtic music, and more.

The different folk music radio stations in Boston

Boston folk music radio can be traced back to the late 1950s, when WMFO, then a free-form jazz and folk station, first hit the airwaves. Over the next few decades, a number of other stations would come and go, but in the early ‘90s, two stations emerged that would have a lasting impact on the genre: WUMB and WERS.

WUMB (91.9 FM) is a non-commercial radio station licensed to the University of Massachusetts at Boston. It is one of the few remaining independent public radio stations in the country not affiliated with any larger network. WUMB went on the air in May of 1989 and quickly established itself as one of the preeminent voices in folk music radio. The station boasts an impressive lineup of locally produced shows, ranging from traditional and contemporary folk to bluegrass and Americana. They also feature a wide variety of musical styles from around the world.

WERS (88.9 FM) is another non-commercial station, this time licensed to Emerson College in Boston. WERS went on the air in 1947 as a classical music station but eventually shifted its focus to include other genres like jazz, blues, rock, and yes, folk music. In recent years, they have become one of the most popular destinations for fans of acoustic music in Boston. WERS’ programming includes a mix of live performances and studio recordings from both local and national artists.

These are just two of the many great radio stations that can be found in Boston MA area that offer Folk Music

The different folk music clubs in Boston

Boston is home to a vibrant folk music scene, with a number of clubs and venues that host regular events. Here are some of the most popular places to enjoy folk music in Boston:

The Burren: This club is located in Somerville and hosts regular Celtic and Old-Time music nights. It’s a great place to enjoy some live music and dance the night away.

Club Passim: This well-known club is located in Harvard Square and has been hosting folk shows for over 50 years. It’s a great place to see both up-and-coming and established folk acts.

Lizard Lounge: This club is located in Cambridge and hosts regular folk, bluegrass, and Americana nights. It’s the perfect place to enjoy some live music in a relaxed setting.

The Red House: This club is located in Roxbury and hosts regular events featuring local and touring folk acts. It’s a great place to catch some live music and support the local scene.

The different folk music societies in Boston

The folk music scene in Boston is vibrant and alive, with various folk music societies and organizations hosting events and concerts throughout the year. Below is a list of some of the most active and well-known folk music societies in Boston:

The Folklore Society of Greater Boston was founded in 1961 and is one of the oldest and most well-respected folk music organizations in the country. The FSGB hosts a weekly radio show on WGBH, as well as concerts and events throughout the year.

The Cambridge Folk Festival is one of the largest and most well-known folk festivals in North America. The festival takes place every summer in Cambridge, MA, and features a wide variety of folk musicians from all over the world.

The Passim Center for Folk Music is a non-profit music venue located in Harvard Square that hosts nightly concerts, workshops, and educational programs. Passim is also home to the renowned Club Passim coffeehouse, which has been a staple of the Boston folk scene for over 50 years.

The New England Folk Festival is an annual Folk festival that takes place on the campus of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA. The NEFFA features four days of music, dancing, workshops, food, and more.

The different folk music teachers in Boston

Folk music in Boston, MA has a long and varied history. The different teachers of folk music in Boston have brought their own unique styles to the city, and have helped to create a vibrant and diverse musical landscape. Below are just a few of the many different folk music teachers in Boston:

Dylan Foley is a fiddle player and singer from County Cork, Ireland. He has been teaching Irish music in Boston for over 20 years.

Elena Biss Graphics is a Russian-born singer and songwriter who specializes in Russian and Eastern European folk music. She has been teaching folk music in Boston for over 10 years.

Allan Block is a folk musician and historian who has been teaching folk music in Boston for over 30 years. He is the author of several books on the subject, including “The Folk Music Revival in Boston: 1955-1965” and “Folk Music in America: A History.”

Eva Cassidy is a singer and songwriter who specializes in American folk music. She has been teaching folk music in Boston for over 15 years.

The different folk music students in Boston

It’s safe to say that the students who come to the Boston Conservatory at Berklee to study folk music come from all over—and they bring with them a wide variety of musical styles and traditions.

Folk music is often passed down through generations within a family or community, and as a result, each region has its own unique take on the genre. That’s why folk music can sound so different from one place to the next. When you hear someone playing folk music from the Appalachian Mountains, it will have a different sound than someone playing Irish jigs and reels.

The Boston Conservatory at Berklee is home to students from all over the world who study folk music. Some come from families with long musical traditions, while others are self-taught musicians who have developed their own distinctive style. No matter where they’re from or what type of folk music they play, our students are united by their passion for this rich and diverse genre.

The different folk music recordings made in Boston

The different folk music recordings made in Boston reflect the city’s long history of cultural diversity. While some songs can be traced back to the early days of the city’s founding, others are more recent creations that reflect the city’s changing demographics.

One of the earliest folk music recordings from Boston is “The Massachusetts Song,” which was written by John Eliot in 1670. The song celebrates the original 13 colonies that formed the United States, and it quickly became popular among Patriots during the American Revolution.

Another early folk song from Boston is “Yankee Doodle,” which was written during the Revolutionary War. The song started out as a British military marching tune, but American soldiers adapted it and turned it into a patriotic anthem. “Yankee Doodle” is still sung today, and it remains one of the most popular folk songs from Boston.

As Boston’s population began to change in the 19th century, so did its folk music. New immigrants from Ireland and Italy brought their own traditional songs with them to the city, and many of these songs were eventually adopted by other residents. “Danny Boy” and “Come Back to Sorrento” are two popular examples of Irish-American folk songs from Boston.

In the 20th century, folk music in Boston continued to evolve as new cultures arrived in the city. Puerto Rican immigrants brought salsa and other Latin rhythms to Boston in the 1950s and 1960s, while African-American residents introduced gospel and blues styles. Today, there are folk musicians from all over the world living in Boston, and they continue to add new sounds and styles to the city’s musical traditions.

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