Columbus Folk Music Society


Note: IRS publication 526 allows you to deduct your membership fees.

About Us

Columbus Folk Music Society

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


Our Mission

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.

Diversity Statement

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 card made through The Columbus Foundation website 

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. 


CFMS Today

Many new talents have been discovered through open stages and agent contacts. We have expanded our involvement in regional venues, outreach by our members, and by offering 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, partnering with the Metro Parks to provide an outdoor location at Highbanks Metro Park, which harmonizes nature and music, is open to the community and provides a venue for learning.

Membership Has Its Privileges

Membership in the Columbus Folk Music Society ensures you're in the loop with CFMS happenings, local folk activities, special events, and fundraising efforts. You'll receive the monthly CFMS newsletter, "A Different Strummer," to keep you informed. Local and regional folk activities are listed at the CFMS web site 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.

Our Activities

CFMS’ Americana/Folk 

Concert Series 

Monthly Americana/Folk Concert Series (Sept - April, excluding Dec)

Customarily last Saturday of the month: held at  Columbus Mennonite Church, 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.

Summer Picnics

Multiple Open Jam Opportunities  (see Google calendar under Events tab)

Annual Central Ohio Folk Festival

Held the 1st full weekend in May at Highbanks Metro Park. Open to the public, it features a multitude of activities for all ages – 3 performing stages; 30+ music workshops over the weekend with something for everyone; Sat evening Headliner concert featuring national touring artist. Beginning in 2022, there will be no fixed fees. Attendees’ generous support will help make all of this possible. There is no longer a separate ticketed fee for workshops or the Sat. evening headliner concert. 

Daytime concerts feature regional & local favorites as well as new artists. A scheduled jam groups tent showcases local groups representing a range of styles and genres (open to all). Community Sing opportunities; drum circles both Sat and Sun; Metro Park nature displays; and for the kids – an ‘Instrument Petting Zoo’ and other hands-on activities and sing-a-longs. Food service & Festival Store.

Annual Fundraising Events

Summer yard sale, 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 our Contact Us Page. 

Visit CFMS Board Members for leaders listing.