Economics Silences Harleysville’s Philadelphia Folk Festival, First Time Since 1962 Debut

2022 Philadelphia folk festival performer
Image via the Philadelphia Folk Festival at YouTube.
Banjo performer from the 2022 edition of the Philadelphia Folk Festival.

Sharp declines in its finances has caused the 2023 Philadelphia Folk Festival (PFF) to fall flat for the first time in its 60-year run. Maggie Mancini reported its unfortunate cancellation for PhillyVoice.

Philadelphia Folksong Society (PFS) plans were already being attuned for the Aug. 17–20, 2023, concert at Old Pool Farm in Harleysville.

But as folk festival organizers peered deeper into the expenses and considered its current debt, the call was made to defer a year.

It’s the first time the popular event has been cancelled, having survived COVID-19 (via livestream), economic downturns, and sour weather.

“Given our current situation, the [PFS] has two options: We could declare bankruptcy and close. Or we could take a year to thoughtfully reimagine what PFS and PFF could be … while we raise the funds to make that happen,” explained board president Miles Thompson.

The 2022 edition cost an estimated $1.2 million. Although much of that debt has been repaid, the outlays have made 2023’s concert unsustainable. Estimates put its forecast price tag higher than usual, owing to increased charges for equipment, infrastructure, talent, and insurance against “air-borne diseases.”

More on this story — including how Philadelphia Folk Festival fans can support the PFS directly — is at PhillyVoice.


Highlights from the 2022 Philadelphia Folk Festival in Harleysville.

Stay Connected, Stay Informed

Subscribe for great stories in your community!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.