The Columbus Folk Music Society (CFMS) is a nonprofit society committed to promoting traditional and contemporary folk music, dance and storytelling. We are a membership organization that provides:
Venues for performers of all ages and experience;
Workshops and teaching opportunities;
Events and concerts for members and the public;
Connections to other folk and music sources;
Annual Kirby Scholarship award(s) for young
The Columbus Folk Music Society, Inc. is organized to operate exclusively as a not-for-profit corporation for educational, cultural and charitable purposes.
The society's goals include, but are not limited to, the following:
To promote the appreciation, understanding, private playing, public performance and enjoyment of folk music, song, dance, storytelling and other folk arts inclusive of all cultures;
To improve and expand folk art communications;
To support folk artists and other worthy cultural and charitable activities and organizations.
Who Are We?
Our members come from all walks of life – we are accountants, tradespeople, teachers, photographers, lawyers and members of all ages. We are folk musicians, singer/songwriters, dancers, storytellers, poets, historians, performers and listeners.
Our diversity is what makes our Society a strong, local touchstone. We welcome everyone with respect. In this way, we encourage the broadening of folk art knowledge, its performance, preservation and public awareness.
The Columbus Folk Music Society celebrates and values music and other folk arts presented by the people of our Central Ohio community. We are committed to promote an array of programs and opportunities that reflect and include the diverse and creative differences present in the Central Ohio area. In this regard, the CFMS is committed to continued improvement.
A 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3) Organization
Incorporated in the State of Ohio, the Columbus Folk Music Society, Inc. also has a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit status and is listed with the IRS for tax deductible charitable contributions.
We are also part of The Columbus Foundation's The Giving Store community program and are eligible for donations by credit cardmade through The Columbus Foundation website at: columbusfoundation.org/the-giving-store/nonprofit-directory-listing/ColumbusFolkMusicSocietyInc/6505
We also receive other foundation and local corporate support as well as work with various service groups in Central Ohio. This allows us to fulfill our mission of expanding awareness of and appreciation for the folk arts in Central Ohio.
How We Got Started
Formed in 1991 and dedicated to preserving and advancing the folk arts, the Columbus Folk Music Society started with a core group of folk lovers who wanted to share their love and knowledge of the folk arts.
In that same year, the new society took over booking and management of the monthly Other Side Coffeehouse at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, which provided a gathering place. The coffeehouse venue relocated to the Areopagitica Bookstore in 2006 and, in 2011, moved to the Columbus Mennonite Church space were it continues to thrive.
In 2018, the Society received financial support to expand its concert offerings under the title “CFMS’ Americana/Folk Concert Series,” which includes all the concerts at the FolkSide Coffeehouse.
Many new talents have been discovered through open mics and agent contacts. We have expanded involvement in regional venues, outreach by our members, and present ever growing new opportunities to hear local, regional, national, and international talent.
Central Ohio Folk Festival
The Central Ohio Folk Festival (COFF) was founded in 1997 by the CFMS to make folk arts accessible to a much larger public. The festival continues to grow, attracting approximately 11,000 participants over the two day event. We partner with the Metro Parks in order to provide an outdoor location –– ‘a harmony of nature and music’, which is open to the community.
Membership Has Its Privileges
Membership in the Columbus Folk Music Society ensures you're in the loop with all CFMS offerings, local folk activities, special and fundraising events . You'll receive the monthly CFMS newsletter,"A Different Strummer," to keep you informed. Local and regional folk activities are also listed on the CFMS website so you can plan your calendar accordingly. With your membership, you'll enjoy discounts at the monthly coffeehouse (concert series) and you'll be the first to know about concerts and other special events throughout the year.
Monthly Americana/Folk Concert Series (Sept - April, excluding Dec)
A 10 concert series, with majority of the concerts occurring the last Saturday of the month and held at the Columbus Mennonite Church space, 35 Oakland Park Avenue, Columbus, OH. Pre-performance jam session, open stage (pre sign-up recommended) followed by a featured performer. It also provides a social and creative setting for discussing folk history, stories, music, and the latest current events in the folk world. Snacks / beverages available. The other concerts occur in other parts of the city as noted on our Events page.
Multiple Open Jam Opportunities
See the Google calendar on the Events tab
Annual Central Ohio Folk Festival
Held the 1st full weekend in May at Highbanks Metro Park. It is open to the public and features a multitude of activities for all ages: 3 performing stages; 30+ music workshops (with something for everyone); Sat evening Headliner concert featuring international touring artist; kids music & crafts; youth activities and dedicated jam tents. There are no fixed fees for the festival – attendees’ generous support by free-will donations help make all of it possible.
Daytime concerts feature regional & local favorites as well as new artists. Community Sing opportunities; drum circles both Sat and Sun; and for the kids – an ‘Instrument Petting Zoo’ and other hands-on activities and sing-a-longs. Food service & Festival Store.
Annual Fundraising Events
Festival benefit concerts, community support events, and local fundraisers for community causes.
How To Contact Us
To contact CFMS, leave a voicemail message at 614-470-3963 or any CFMS board member can give you more information about CFMS and/or joining our society by emailing us. See ourContact Us Page.