The Cornell Folk Song Society presents three or four concerts each semester, usually in a small auditorium that seats about 150 people. We have access to several larger spaces for the occasional larger event. Our semesters run from September through November and February through April. Sorry, we don't do anything in the summer. Our shows are almost always on Saturday nights. Friday night is usually the contra dance, but sometimes there's a big, special contra dance on a Saturday, and in that case we might do a Friday. Sunday night is the Bound for Glory radio show on campus, and we never step on their toes. If you're coming through on a Sunday when Cornell is in session, consider doing that show; no money, but a great live audience and a start at building a folowing in the area.
We concentrate on "traditional" or "traditionally-oriented" performers. This is not always easy to define, and we reserve the right to be arbitrary about it. It certainly does not rule out singer-songwriters, but those we present usually have roots in tradtional music. Take a look at our past concerts to get an idea of the kinds of music we've presented in recent years.
These events are supported entirely through ticket sales, with no subsidies from the university. Cornell is not a place that tells you what you can or can't do; it also doesn't help you do it. As a result we are usually limited to presenting performers who are already well-known to the Ithaca audience and will sell enough tickets to cover the costs. Magazine writeups, awards and credits and killer demo tapes don't seem to have much effect on the draw for people who haven't previously played in one or more Ithaca venues or in nearby folk festivals. About once a year we might do a small show with someone who has blown away one or more members of our board at some other venue. These shows are usually artistic successes and financial failures, but what the heck.
In a small upstate college town we can't charge the kind of ticket prices you'll see in Philadelphia or Boston, so our fees to performers are comparable to those you'll find in most small venues on the folk circuit -- those places where you play in church basemnts or community halls, run by people who love the music, not by "entrepreneurs." We can work on a percentage basis, and if you're as famous as you think you are you might get what you thought you were worth.
If you're interested in performing here, contact our booking coordinator Bill Steele for more details. And even if you don't fit the above criteria, feel free to get in touch anyway: we may be able to steer you to other opportunities.