Folk Music in a Digital Age: The Importance of Face-to-Face Community Values in Filk Music

“At its best, the filk room is a special locus in space and time, created for and by the community, and is a safe, encouraging place for individual and group play, support and, most of all, co-creation and collaboration. At its core is a heightened group experience, created by active participation and immersive intensity with the goal of giving all participants a feeling of creative satisfaction and belonging…

In the filk room, and in other folk performance forms, co-created group experience arises from the manipulation and eradication of the performer/audience boundary.”

Long-time filker, professor, and ethnomusicologist, Sally Childs-Helton, recently published an excellent article about the nature of filk performance, with an examination of the differences between Millennials and older generations in fandom and what the future of filk might look like because of this.  I highly recommend checking it out if you’re interested in The State of Filk or fandom history in general.

If you download the article from this link, it gives the author some digital brownie points, so definitely do that if you can!

And if you don’t have the time or inclination to read academic articles on fandom (why not???  I guess some people are like that), I’ll leave you with a quote from the end of the article, from an interview with someone who had worked as a professional folk musician for years but was attending her first filk session, because I think it’s inspiring:

“You’re sitting around, swapping songs, and everyone gets a chance to play. I’ve
been going to folk music conventions for years, but you people are actually doing folk music.”

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