History of FOFF
Way back when, a “folk Family” evolved...a small group of pickers and singers met regularly at the Florida Folk Festival in White Springs. Close family ties were formed with these people around many a campfire. Will McLean was one of us. We sang the old songs, and someone would always bring along a guitar, the coffee pot, and a kazoo. And everyone would join in and sing.
Many from our group were performers at the festival. But in 1982 there came about a change in policy and most of the old stand-by performers were not invited to perform any longer. No one understood why this happened, and anger grew. We decided to form a protest group, hoping to get our friends back on the stage. This was the birth of Friends of Florida Folk. We incorporated as a non-profit organization and we approached the “powers that be” and made a lot of noise, trying to get things changed back to the way they had been.
After a long fight, we won, and our friends were again invited to be a part of the festival. We FOFF members had reached our goal, so what were we to do now, we wondered. We had a meeting to discuss this. We came to the conclusion that instead of disbanding, we should change our focus and become a service organization, to help folk musicians. We started publishing a newsletter to network, keeping everyone informed as to what folk event was happening, when and where, around the state.
From those humble beginnings, with not even a hundred members, we have grown to over 500 families, and have become the 501(c)(3) not for profit organization that we are today. We now include and support craftsmen, storytellers, and dancers as well as musicians. Our newsletter has grown from a one-page document to the 40 page magazine you see today. We have a booth at various festivals around the state, where we sell product for the performers, plus FOFF T-shirts and other goods to help pay for the newsletter production. We have a volunteer board of directors which meets quarterly in various locations around the state.