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Spokane Folklore Society
Answer Phone: (509)747-2640
P.O. Box 141
Spokane, WA 99210-0141 

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Spokane Folklore Society

History and Archives

History: The First Year: 1977
On July 1, 1997, the Spokane Folklore Society started its 21st year as a Washington State nonprofit corporation. On that date in 1977, the Secretary of State recorded as filed our Articles of Incorporation.

The Folklore Society grew out of a series of concerts produced by various people in the 2nd City Center, which was located where the present Farm Credit Bank sits, and had a large, empty open space on the second floor which was available cheaply for events. Among the folks that ran concerts in the late 1974 to early 1976 period were Paul Kinderman, co-owner of the Sound Hole; Dawn Holladay; and Sheila and Don Thomsen, who ran the 2nd City Ice Creamery at the time.

Because concerts weren't terribly profitable endeavors, few concerts series lasted more than a season. In mid-1976, after the Ice Creamery ended their series, Paul Kinderman recruited Steve Simmons and Eric Johnson to form the Paul Kinderman Folk Investment Group (FIG). Each person would kick in $25 and we would run concerts until the money ran out, then see if we wanted to do it again. Co-sponsoring concerts with Heritage Family Theatre so that we could use their bulk nonprofit mailing permit, the FIG ended the 1976-77 season with $380 in the bank (we never did put the $25 in.)

Meanwhile, Uncle Don and several other folks kept saying what we needed was a nonprofit Folklore Society to do concerts on a continuing basis. Somebody said it once too often, and Eric went to the library, researched the state law on such animals, and wrote up a set of Articles on Incorporation and Bylaws. The incorporators signing the papers were Paul Kinderman, Steve Simmons, Eric Johnson, Don Thomsen and Bob Glatzer. Paul was the President and Eric the Secretary-Treasurer. The net profits of the FIG were donated to the Society as seed money.

Operationally, Paul booked the acts and Eric handled the production and financing the first year, with the able assistance of Steve and Don in setting up and taking down. Don's P.A. system was donated for most of the concerts, if memory serves correctly. Those four with Dan Jones constituted the whole of the membership that year.

The Folklore Society's first year saw a Sandy Bradley square dance in November 1977. The Pleasant Hill Band, Mike Marker and Custer's Grass Band got us through December. January 1978 saw the Hog Heaven String Band and Bob White warbling for us, with Michael Sky in February. J. B. Freeman and Homegrown graced us with their talents in two concerts in March, which was the end of the season. (For the nothing new under the sun crowd, all of these shows except Homegrown lost money.)

Four of the five incorporators are still around Spokane and Uncle Don is still one of our most talented and versatile local musicians. If anyone is interested in further tales of the early years, maybe Ye Olde Curmudgeon came be enticed to dredge the memory cells some more.

Submitted by Ye Olde Curmudgeon

Fall Folk Festival History by Sylvia Gobel 

The first Fall Folk Festival which took place in 1996 was planned and organized by Vicki Ball, Carla Carnegie, Dave Noble, Leone Peterson. It was held at the Unitarian Church with about a dozen performing groups. Then “Ice Storm” happened and only around around 350 people attended. The Festival grew so rapidly that it outgrew the Unitarian Church after several years and moved to Glover Middle School for several years. Now the Festival fills Spokane Community College, showcases about 70 performing groups and attracts 4000 attendees. Thanks to the orignal founders and their vision. And a special thanks to Mary Naber who as the Festival coordinator for several years helped the Festival become what it is today. 

A short history of the Wednesday night Contras by Penn Fix


A short history of the Wednesday Night Contra Dances
I started this dance about 21 or 22 years ago. Up until then dancers had the opportunity to dance twice a month in Spokane. I really wanted to improve the level of dance and thought the best way was to offer a weekly dance. I approached
Jack Lindberg and Arvid Lundin to see if they might be interested in playing music for the dances. We decided to keep the management of the dance as simple as possible and as inexpensive as possible. We rented the upstairs back room in the Woman's Club - first because it was cheaper than the front, and second because it allowed us to play without a microphone and sound system. The dance started at 7:30 with no breaks, ending at 9:30. Jack, Arvid, and I arrived about 7:20 and put out the sign I think Nancy, Jack's ex, made for us. I collected money half way through the evening. We followed this pattern for at least the first three years with all three of us working every dance.
When my daughter was born, I asked Dave Smith if he might be interested in taking over the responsibilities of calling the dance. He fortunately agreed. At some point - I think maybe a year or two later - he realized that he was going
to move on and he offered a caller's workshop which eventually resulted in Ray, Nora, and several others jumping in to share the responsibility of calling. At this point Jack left town and Don Schaefer, along with others, began assigning
different bands to fill the evening slots. The Third Wednesday jam session came out of all this, too. At some point, the Woman's Club decided to move the dance out of the back room in order to repair it - I think they continued to charge a minimal amount but the dance had the benefit of the bigger hall. At that point, a sound system was necessary and Eric Johnson and others jumped
in. Due to the efforts of all these folks, the dance grew and grew to the point where it is today.


Archives  (mostly photos)
Fall Folk Festival 2003
 2004     Page 2  2004 Schedule
 2005 
 2006
 2007
 2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013


1st Night 2003-4
1st Night 2004-5
1st Night 2005-6