Updated Dec 5, 2023
Philadelphia Folk Song Society Fall Fling
Sep 27, 28, 29, 1996
by Ryan Thomson
The Folk Song Society is very active and has a large membership. They put on numerous events during the year but my favorite are the two music camps, one in the fall, and one in the spring. Last week I drove 8 hours south from New Hampshire to attend my second "Fall Fling," in Green Lane, Pennsylvania, a rural community north of Philadelphia. Camp Green Lane consists of cabins and bunk houses, tennis courts, dining hall, and lots of open space surrounded by trees.
There's plenty of room for lots of simultaneous workshops. I led a "Fiddling for Beginners" workshop. There were two other workshops led by others on old timey fiddling and string band music. Aside from fiddling, there were classes on harmony, rounds, country songs, Celtic music, Arabic music, tie dye, and much more.
The food was just about the best I've ever had at a folk music camp. Everyone that attends is requested to spend time in the kitchen, in food preparation, serving, or cleanup, and the personal touch pays off. Every meal seemed to me to taste better than the one preceding it, and by Sunday brunch there were so many tasty choices on the menu that I didn't even have room in my stomach to sample the main selection, which consisted of a "custom made omelet," with numerous do-it-yourself omelet work stations ringing the dining room.
The late night jams were fun. There were certain designated "jam cabins," and the early-to-bed types had quieter lodging available. There is a tradition of an all night jam at a gazebo with bonfire next to it. I made it to 3 AM with the music still going strong despite the on-and-off rain. There was a Saturday night "open mike," in the dining hall with lights, sound system, and MC, followed by fresh pizza and more snacks.
Musical tastes were eclectic, ranging from Celtic, swing, folk rock, blues, old timey, to sing alongs. There was probably more singing than instrumental music during the weekend. The only thing I missed was dancing. There was very little, although there is more at the spring event hosted by the same organization.
Fall Fling is family oriented, with lots of kids around. Some of them participated in music and others enjoyed organized play activities. The tie dye workshop was very popular and the entire camp was festooned with tie dye creations drying in the sun. I hope to be back again next year!
For more information visit the Fall Fling web site.
Written by Ryan Thomson, 1996