Coffeehouse Folks

Twenty-five years ago, the Folk Society of Whitehorse (FSW) began as an event for people of all ages to enjoy. Today, it is on a roll — hosting monthly events.

Paul Davis is the president of FSW, but he admits that he can’t do it on his own.

“ We have about 20 volunteers, which come out to the shows to help with sound or lighting,” he says.

On the first Saturday of the month, FSW congregates in the basement of the Whitehorse United Church, for a coffeehouse-style show.

Anyone is who has a love for music is welcome to swing by. In the past jazz and blues musicians have been known to play some tunes. Spoken word performers are also very welcome.

“ One time we even had a garage band stop by,” says Davis.

Shows usually start at 7:30 p.m. and last until 9 or 10 p.m. The first portion of the show is sort of an open mic.

Each performer can arrive for 7 p.m. to register, and then they have about five minutes to perform. After that, the scheduled performances begin. Each event is family-friendly as no alcohol is permitted.

“ With all the bars in Whitehorse, we wanted to create a space where people of all ages can come out and enjoy live music,” says Davis.

In April, FSW puts on a special show to coincide with the Alaska Folk Festival.

“ Usually we focus on local talent, but for this event, which always takes place one week after, we welcome other performers,” Davis says.

On April 18 2015, the FSW will launch this special edition show.

What’s really unique about the FSW is their traditional way of advertising.

“ We don’t have a web page or a Facebook page. We just put posters up around town, and send out a few emails,” says Davis. “Also, we have always kept the poster design more and less the same — bright yellow with dancing cartoon animals.”

It seems that’s all FSW needs, as every month they play to a packed house.

For their next event on Saturday December 6, folk artist Calla Paleczny will be the feature performer.

FSW has been fortunate enough to secure its budget from door fees. They have never had to rely on grants or donations. Further, FSW gets some assistance from the Yukon Bluegrass Music Society, who sell refreshments during the shows. Although folk music may not be a mainstream genre, FSW has created a nice little hub to enjoy some homegrown talent, and possibly discover your own inner superstar.

FSW’s folk night takes place on the first Saturday of every month (December 6) and cost $4 for members and $5 for non-members.

To get involved, email [email protected]

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