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Saturday Virtual Song Circle

PFS is holding weekly Saturday evening Virtual Song Circles. Come when you can, stay as long as you like. All kinds of music and all kinds of people are welcome. We'll follow the song circle practice of letting each person sing a song in turn and it is perfectly fine just to listen.

Get a computer with a camera and mic, light up your face, and point your browser to We'll be on line at six, and start singing by 6:30.

It's kinda fun - if you haven't been to one, try it.

Follow, Like and Share

If you use Facebook or Instagram, you can see what we have posted on those sites by clicking on the  and  icons that you will now find on every page of this website. Really - do this now! You'll see our new short video talking about virtual song circles.

And - please! - when you visit PFS on FB and Insta, remember to Follow, Like and Share us! That makes a huge difference. Mark Zuckerberg's computers light up when someone gets a lot of activity, and so they show the page to EVEN MORE PEOPLE. 
Code away the Isolation Blues

PFS member, singer and Song Circle host Heather Blackbird and her talented friends announce Blackbird School, a code learning platform developed by Portland teachers and software pros to make code learning more accessible. They normally charge to participate but they're offering free sign ups until 5/1 to help alleviate the school closures due to Covid-19. 

If you know a student in your life that you think would be into it, send them over to Blackbird School. Also, if you are, uh, older, and have wanted to learn something about coding, you are welcome too!

Coding is like learning an instrument: you think you can't, and then all of a sudden you can, and it feels great!

Thanks Heather!

Connection = Oxygen

Normally the PFS website has an extensive calendar of folk events, where we can see friends and rub shoulders with strangers, hear live music, or - for some of us - perform live music. But these days, it's mostly a calendar of cancellations, and while we understand the need for social distance and shelter-in-place rules, they seem so opposed to the folk music traditions. We like to be connected. We need to be connected. More than any time we can remember, connection is oxygen, necessary for our own well-being and for the well-being of those who have provided us with so much good music. 

We're going to try to give you useful information, first, about how you can keep the music connections in your life, even if you are stuck in your house. Check out the Virtual Song Circle at the top of this page, and we will update the site as we add more events.

Second, we want to share some ideas about how you can help others in the folk music community. Thanks to Kim McLaughlin for the following: during this difficult time, many musicians are suffering. Touring musicians make their living by performing music for us and right now it is very difficult for them. Our community can continue to support the artists who have brought us so many good times and great songs: 

Many artists will be performing live online concerts as a way to earn some money. You can find a selection of these streamed shows at www.UndiscoveredMusic.Net/streamed
Visit your favorite artist’s website and purchase CDs and other merchandise.
Patreon is a website for making donations to creative artists. Go to Patreon, subscribe, find your favorite musicians and make a donation. There is often special material available only for contributors, so it's a good deal for you too.
YouTube musicians can earn money if enough of us watch their videos. Simply subscribe to your favorite musician's YouTube page and when they hit 1000 subscribers, they start to earn money when you watch their videos.
Also, do not forget the venues that may have difficulties during these times. House concert venues should be fine, since they are usually labors of love, and generally house concert hosts give all the take to the artists. You might consider contributing to our friends at Menucha Retreat and Conference Center and Artichoke Music, and of course PFS itself

Check back frequently, and if you have something you would like to share with the folk community, write to

Singtime 2020, Concerts Canceled

No one will be surprised to learn that we have come to the painful but inevitable decision to cancel Singtime 2020 and the two remaining PFS Concerts, Pat Donohue and Jodi Harms. We are in the process of contacting everyone who registered for these PFS events to arrange reimbursements. If you haven't heard from us yet, you will soon.

In the meantime, we urge you to stay safe and be kind.

John Prine

As this is being written, John Prine is in critical condition, on a respirator, with COVID-19.

John Prine has been writing and singing great songs for more than half a century. His serious songs always have flashes of humor. His humorous songs reveal truths about relationships. His melodies are often ear-worms: Listen to Angel From Montgomery in the morning, and you'll find it running through your head in the evening. Just about every PFS song circle has a song or three by John Prine. They are great songs.

He has plowed through adversity: he had major surgery and radiation in 1998 for cancer in his neck, had to go through speech therapy for a year, and came back and started performing again. In 2013, he had his left lung removed - six months later, he was touring. He is in a terrible demographic to get COVID-19, but damn, he is resilient. Our thoughts are with him. So are Joan Baez's, in this sweet spontaneous tribute she just recorded. 

Stuck in that Lonesome Valley?

If shelter in place is getting in your face, and social distance feels like social isolation, then listen to this recording of Pete and Arlo singing You gotta walk that Lonesome Valley

But - wait! - that's not enough. You actually have to sing along with them! Actually open you throat and make musical noise. Really, and the louder the better.

That may seem silly, but do it.  And then let me know if you don't feel better afterwards!

Elsewhere on the site

Check out the Events menu to find about Concerts, Song Circles and other PFS events. 

This week's concerts are on the right, but there is much more on the Events Calendar, the most complete interactive listing of folk events in the Portland area. 

Do you have events that should be posted here? Let us know. Write to

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Upcoming Events

Since 1976, Portland FolkMusic Society has been active preserving, presenting and promoting folk music and arts in the greater Portland Oregon area. PFS sponsors song circles, concerts, workshops and retreats, and helps its members and the whole community pass the word around about folk music events, from old time ballads to sea shanties, from 60’s protest folk to contemporary singer-songwriters.

PFS is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. 

Portland Folkmusic Society
P.O. Box 1448
Portland, OR 97207-1448

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