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Chicago Folk Scene: Songs and Stories

In the 1950s and 60s, when the Old Town School was brand new, Chicago was home to a hotbed of wonderful songwriters and performers—Bob Gibson, Bill Broonzy, Fleming Brown, Joe Mapes, Fred Holstein, and many more—whose work, though now largely forgotten, both entertained Chicago and greatly influenced artists like Bob Dylan and the Beatles. But as Studs Terkel said when he introduced the first concert at OTS Lincoln Avenue, “Ed Holstein has a long memory.”

Ed’s memory encompasses working at the Old Town Folklore Center right out of high school, teaching at OTS, 14 years of booking acts in Chicago folk clubs introducing Chicago to Klezmer, Cajun, and traditional Irish music as well as more mainstream folk, and 50 years of performing. Ed was identified by the Chicago Tribune in 1982 as among the 25 most influential Chicagoans in the arts alongside critic Roger Ebert and Second City Founder Bernie Sahlins.

Come join Grammy-winner, widely-recorded songwriter, and all ’round folk icon Ed Holstein to explore Chicago’s forgotten artists as well as other Chicago headliners like Steve Goodman, Bonnie Koloc, Michael Smith, and John Prine in a cornucopia of stories and songs.

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