Category Archives: News

Folk City 1935-65 Exhibition

If you’re in New York in the next few months, be sure to go to the Museum of the City of New York for the Folk City 1935-65 exhibit. Curated by Dr Stephen Petrus, it tells the fascinating and moving story of how rural music found its greatest champions amid the brash modernity of Manhattan, a paradox explored in the exhibition and its accompanying book.  Allow plenty of time: in addition to memorabilia and historic artefacts, including the handwritten lyrics to four of Bob Dylan’s most celebrated songs, there are numerous film clips over which to linger, including a documentary on the battle for Washington Square Park in 1961 and newsreels from the civil rights movement, for which folk music provided the soundtrack.

Bob Porco and Betsy Siggins
Bob Porco and Betsy Siggins

Among the many guests on opening night were Bob Porco, grandson of Mike Porco, founder of Gerde’s Folk City, where Bob Dylan’s career was launched, and Betsy Siggins, who presided over the legendary Club 47 in Boston.

Here’s what the New York Times had to say.
And Britain’s fRoots.

A gallery of photos from the opening celebrations follows…

Folk City opens at the Museum of the City of New York

This multi-media exhibition, Folk City: New York and the Folk Music Revival, features original instruments, handwritten lyrics, and video and film footage, traces the roots of the revival, its growth in New York, its major players, and its impact on American politics and culture during the tumultuous 1960s.

Folk City: New York and the Folk Music Revival runs until November 29 at the Museum of the City of New York, Manhattan. Find out more about the exhibition on the MCNY website.

Spring 2015

‘Winter time in New York town, the wind blowin’ snow around.’

So wrote Bob Dylan in ‘Talkin’ New York’, one of his earliest songs, written about his arrival in New York in January 1961. It was pretty damn cold in January 2015 – and that arrival too marked a turning point.

New partners

As a result of a further fact-finding, meet-and-greet mission to New York, Bringing It All Back Home to Washington Square now has a team, including a blue-chip artistic director, and a legion of supporters across New York, including musicians in Greenwich Village who remember being at the Gaslight when Dylan would drop by to try out a new song, and in City Hall. As well as a global media partner, it now has additional partners and sponsors, including the world’s largest music publisher and a hotel whose unique history is inseparable from both the music and that of the Village itself.

Events in New York

Plans are taking shape apace. There will be two high-profile fund-raising concerts taking place in the summer and autumn of this year, as well as a fundraising dinner. An advisory board is being assembled. These will lay the foundations for next year’s music festival, when – over a long spring weekend – we will be bringing it all back home to the Washington Square Park area with concerts, masterclasses, workshops, exhibitions and talks in venues around the Village and in the Square itself. In addition to scheduled events, local cafes and bars – some of which of course date back to the 1960s ­– will be encouraged to organise their own events, just as they did in the 1960s, when Dylan first blew in to town. Thus will the spirit of the sixties be rekindled, half a century on.

Bringing It All Back Home to the UK

Just as the New York events aim to raise funds that will help, in various ways, to preserve and archive the era’s unique but often uncatalogued history, so parallel events in London and in other cities in the UK with strong links to the music will begin to host events under the Bringing It All Back Home banner.

Bringing It All Back Home will, we hope, form part of a unique international charity the aim of which is to promote British and American folk music heritage. In celebrating the past, it will create a legacy for the future while engaging with the vibrant folk community of the present.

Liz Thomson