Follow the Folk Music Into the Hills of Schwenksville This Summer

Philadelphia Folk Festival has been going for 60 years
Philadelphia Folk Festival has been going for 60 years | © Lisa Schaffer
Photo of Nick Dauk
24 May 2021

The celebrated Philadelphia Folk Festival returns this August with a long weekend of music, workshops and activities both in person and online.

What’s happening?

The Philadelphia Folk Festival has now been a staple of American live music for 60 years. This summer, it will take over Spring Mountain Ski Area in Upper Salford Township from August 21 to August 22, 2021. Located just an hour northwest of downtown Philly, the festival invites you to take a break from city living and embrace a weekend of rural relaxation. Make sure you get the most out of your stay by booking one of Culture Trip’s curated collection of hotels and experiences.

Queues form at the main gate | Courtesy of Philadelphia Folk Fest

This year, festivities will return for a limited-capacity crowd with one stage live-streamed for folk fans around the world to enjoy. Though the annual camping experience and interactive workshops aren’t on the setlist this year, the Philadelphia Folk Fest will still feature new artists and old favorites. Virtual visitors and locals alike will stomp along with this rich community of folk lovers who’ve ventured into the eastern hills of PA since Pete Seeger first strummed his guitar for the audience in 1962.

Who’s there?

“There’s something magical that happens when a group of people come together with a unified spirit,” says Lisa Schwartz, festival and programming director for the Philadelphia Folk Society. Indeed, Fest (that’s the nickname the organizers give it) aims to embrace locals and visitors alike as one welcomed community.

2019 Philadelphia Folk Festival  8 / 18
PFF Crafts_crop
Philadelphia Folk Fest draws big crowds © Howard Pitkow Shires perform at the festival © Alex Lowy The crafts tent is hugely popular Courtesy of Philadelphia Folk Fest

“Our beautiful event is a musical playground created by an incredible group of loyal volunteers and ticket buyers who join together in musical discovery,” Schwartz continues. “Fest is definitely one of the best examples of community and peoplehood you can find – speaking volumes to the specialness of this event. And we have a dedicated focus inviting phenomenal artists from around the world to join our US-based artists to show how music is indeed the universal language.”

The Folk Fest at sundown | © Jayne Toohey

So, whether you head to Upper Salford Township for live performances or choose to tune in online and turn up the volume, this year’s event looks set to be a barn-stormer.

Don’t miss

The bands may stop playing but you don’t have to leave the serene Schwenksville hillside until you’ve had your fill of nature. Hop on a bicycle and follow the 20mi (32km) Perkiomen Trail down to the colonial-revival mansion Pennypacker Mills, which played host to George Washington during the Revolutionary War. Continue down the trail a few more miles south and stop at the Central Perkiomen Valley Park for a quick break before heading back.

You can easily ride down to King of Prussia if you keep pedalling, but we recommend hopping in the car to visit two unique museums. The Wharton Esherick Museum, the former studio of the craftsman and artist it’s named after, is filled with hundreds of his paintings, furniture and sculptures. If you’re looking for a collection that’s a little less refined, the American Treasure Tour Museum has a cornucopia of eclectic pop-culture items, from classic cars to forgotten childhood gems.

The American Treasure Tour Museum is full of unusual artefacts | © Helen / Alamy Stock Photo

Finally, check out the newest additions to Philadelphia’s restaurant scene. Scratch kitchen Community – where all plates are made from basic ingredients – has evolved from the popular 33rd St Hospitality company to serve street-food plates of their signature Pig Popcorn and Beer Can Chicken Tinga Tacos for curbside pickup at 1200 South 21st Street. Down North Pizza is also generating a buzz for savory slices and comfort food, in the form of Detroit-style square pies, wings, salads, fries and shakes.

Keen to make a weekend of it? Book our curated collection of hotels & experiences available over the Philadelphia Folk Festival – bookable here on Culture Trip.

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