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The Philly Folk Fest virtual lineup is announced. See who’s performing.

Pictured: Birds of Chicago | Source:


Philadelphia Folk Festival Announces Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), Shakey Graves, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Allen Stoneware Gallery, Josh Ritter, Los Lobos, Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi, Richard Thompson, Trixie Mattel, Robert Earl Keen & More! For the 59th Annual Edition, August 13-16, 2020

Special tributes to founder, Gene Shay and PFF alumni, John Prine are scheduled

The Philadelphia Folk Festival is proud to announce the initial lineup for the 59th Annual festival, which takes place the weekend of August 13-16, 2020. This year, everyone will have a front row seat as PFF partners with Mountain View Staging to present a fully digital interactive musical experience complete with multiple streaming stages, featuring performances by: Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, Shakey Graves, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Allen Stone, Josh Ritter, Los Lobos, Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi, Richard Thompson, Trixie Mattel, Robert Earl Keen, and so many more! After 59 years of festing in person, this year, PFF invites you to “fest in place” with us online via our Inaugural Global Digital Edition. This shift to a digital experience dashes geographical constraints and opens our doors in a new way, welcoming in our Global family.

The first slate of artists performing at the Festival this year includes: Ben Gibbard, the lead vocalist and guitarist of Death Cab for Cutie, and one half of the electronic duo, The Postal Service -- Austin native and Americana Music Award winner Shakey Graves -- Academy Award and Grammy Award-winning creative legend Buffy Sainte-Marie -- American R&B singer Allen Stone -- Josh Ritter, who the New York Times says “harkens back to Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and maybe a little Mark Knopfler” -- Grammy Award alumni, Los Lobos, whose music embodies the ideal of America as a cultural melting pot -- Grammy Award winner and founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Rhiannon Giddens with Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi performing songs from their debut album, There Is No Other -- Richard Thompson, who the Los Angeles Times calls “the finest rock songwriter after Dylan and the best electric guitarist since Hendrix” -- singer, actor, drag queen and recognized “Skinny Legend” Trixie Mattel (AKA Brian Michael Firkus - a winner of Ru Paul’s show, Drag Race All Stars) -- Americana living legend, Robert Earl Keen -- along with an equally impressive array of world-class performers -- both Fest favorites and debuting artists -- round out this lineup.

When asked about this year’s this year’s performers and the shift to presenting the event online, Festival and Programming Director Lisa Schwartz said: “I am positively giddy about this year’s initial lineup! The extraordinary artists that will be joining us represent the pinnacle of the industry - legends and legends in the making. At a time when we most need to find the silver lining, we will be able to stay safe, Fest in Place, and enjoy some of the best music in the world, with the world. How cool is that!”

About the All New digital Festival: This year’s Inaugural Global Digital Edition is possible due to PFFs partnership with Mountain View Staging, with more than 20 years experience presenting digital events and conferences. MVS Project Manager Sam Bolenbaugh says festival goers will be “fully immersed in the festival experience from their first encounter with our animated map. They can move about the entire festival site and visit all four stages, pick up some awesome fest apparel from the merch tent, and even enter the campgrounds for a quick jam session! At Mountain View Staging our design team and our partners have truly embodied the ‘Fest In Place’ spirit to bring each aspect of what folks have come to expect and love about this event to the 59th Philadelphia Folk Festival direct to each and every viewer!”

In addition to the 3 days (more than 100 hours) of live music, audiences will enjoy multiple stages, fully integrated chat features, campfire open mics, ZOOM campsites, craft show food and merchandise tents. Viewers will be able to watch all stages and all performances from the comfort of their home, bubble, or virtually anywhere on a mobile device. For those not tech savvy, PFF will provide “how to” information on “how to set up your device” and “how to get the best fest experience” in advance of the weekend, allowing audiences to experience fest on home theatres, HDTVs, in full 1080p High Definition with stereo audio running at 48kHz. Folks will even have the option to pause and rewind the show (similar to ‘pay per view’ and ‘on demand’).

Access to Archival Footage: Ticket holders will have exclusive access to archival footage as well and other bonus content in advance of the event itself as an extra incentive to register early. This year’s festival will run 12 hours per day, Noon ET to Midnight Friday and Saturday, and 10AM ET to 10PM ET on Sunday. Thursday night will recreate the Festival’s beloved Campfire Open Mic that will repeat Friday and Saturday nights, with a winning performance that will be chosen as the first act booked for the 60th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival in 2021. Plus more live performances and scheduling details to be shared.

Tickets are available NOW to purchase on a pay-what-you-can scale, beginning at $25 USD per day for a single day attendee ticket / $75 for the weekend, and run up to $1500 for Benefactors (with portions tax deductible.) For those wanting to create their own virtual campsite experience, ZOOM campsites can be purchased for $25 (for PFS members) or $30 (for non-members), where festers can set up their digital campsites with branding / backgrounds to #FestinPlace together even whilst apart. Campsites can be kept private, invite only, or public - offering campers the opportunity to allow new friends to join them online. Several purchase options include a Fest Pack with PFF59 Printed Program and a wristband mailed to your home to complete your Fest experience! To view the full price list of ticketing options and to purchase visit

PFF59 Global Digital Edition includes exclusive performances by:

Adia Victoria

Alanna Royale

Allen Stone

Amythyst Kiah

Aoife O'Donovan

Ben Gibbard

Billy Bragg

Birds of Chicago

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Chris Smither

Courtney Marie Andrews

Devon Gilfillian

Eric Bazilian


Irish Mythen Music

Ivan Neville of Dumpstaphunk

John Flynn

Josh Ritter

Katherine Priddy

Los Lobos

Matt Nakoa

Molly Tuttle

Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy

Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi

Richard Thompson - RT

Robert Earl Keen

Shakey Graves

Sierra Ferrell

Steve Forbert

Susan Werner


Teddy Thompson

Terri Hendrix

The Lone Bellow

The Milk Carton Kids

The Suitcase Junket

Tom Rush

Trixie Mattel

Watkins Family Hour

TICKETS / PASSES → Purchase here, all prices are in USD →

$25 Single day pass

$50 Two day (s) pass $50

$75 Attendee (3 days / all weekend)

$120 Fan

$ 177 Ticketbuyer

$225*^ Supporter

$300*^ Promoter

$750*^ Patron

$1500*^ Benefactor

* Includes Fest Pack with PFF59 Printed Program and a wristband mailed to your home!

^ Portions Tax Deductible


Stay Safe, Fest in Place

Fest in place with us from August 13-16, 2020, while the Philadelphia Folksong Society does the unthinkable by bringing the vibrant experience of North America’s oldest continuously run outdoor music festival to the digital world. With social distancing and safety concerns threatening to derail a decades-long tradition, this folk community responded - as it always has - with ingenuity, compassion, and the indomitable spirit of people-power.

While the technology to deliver this year’s event may be brand new, the indomitable spirit and culture is nearly six decades old. Since its inception, the Philadelphia Folk Festival has been produced nearly exclusively by tireless volunteers. Sheer determination and moxie led to the first event on Wilson Farm in September of ‘62, and the same can be said of this year's 59th version. This year we’re able to welcome our extended Folk Family from around the world, simultaneously continuing vital traditions while creating entirely new ways of connecting and communing.

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