The K'zoo Folklife Organization was formally incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 1985. It was a direct outgrowth of the folk music era "Canterbury Coffeehouse" initiated in 1968 on the campus of Western Michigan University. Many of the traditions and members are still active today. Over the years the KFO has brought to the Kalamaoo area some of the top artists in the field of acoustic music, such as: Leon Redbone, Utah Phillips, the Red Clay Ramblers and more.
In recent years we have partnered with many local organizations putting on benefits for worthy causes, featuring our local and regional entertainers. The 22nd annual "Loaves and Fishes" benefit was held this year, adding to the thousands of dollars and hundreds of pounds of food that have been collected over the years.
Finding good venues for acoustic musicians to play, such as our local farmers markets, have been an important way for us to connect and assist our local musicians. Concerts, workshops, jam sessions and family oriented events all continue to be the focus of the K'zoo Folklife Organization. Join us! Everyone is welcomed.
The K'zoo Folklife Mission
"To promote the presentation and preservation of multicultural, traditional and contemporary folk music, dance and arts for the education and enrichment of our community".
- History of the K'zoo Folklife Organization -
Friends are you interested in:
Teaching? Learning? Performing or Jamming?
Please think about joining the KFO!
"ELMO" our old logo from the mid 1960's coffeee house era.
Covid 19 Pandemic Statement
To all of our K'zoo Folklife Organization members and supporters: The current Covid 19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives and-of course-KFO is no different. Since Fretboard 2020, all jams (KFO and SongFarmers) have been idle. The KFO board held no meetings for four months. Before the pandemic, our last meeting was February. Observing proper pandemic personal protection/health guidelines, we were able to manage a July meeting. Due to the current health crisis, the board has been compelled to proceed and continue without the KFO By-Laws detailing how -during a world wide pandemic-to best maintain the organization. This is an update on how the board is proceeding. In normal times, KFO holds a yearly membership meeting in April. Officers are elected, membership is updated on past and future projects/events, and a jam is held. Due to the pandemic, this year, it was not possible, and for the foreseeable future, it must remain "on hold." Acknowledging this new (and hopefully temporary) fact of life, the board members passed a resolution: Current board positions will be maintained until such time as an election can be safely scheduled. This resolution was passed by individual voice vote of each board member present (duly noted in the meeting minutes.) Therefore, all board members are considered "pro tem." Here are your current K'zoo Folklife Organization board members: President-Mike Bogen, Vice President-Chuck Rysenga, Secretary-Leah Ward, Treasurer-Nancy West. Members "at large,": June Kucks, Richard Bair, Shirley Kime, John Speeter, John West. The Allegan chapter: President-John West, Vice President-Leah Ward, Secretary/ joint treasurer-Nancy West. We are still having some fund raisers, but have been compelled to scale back accordingly. Health concerns will dictate all our endeavors. A decision on Loaves and Fishes 2020 will depend on many pandemic factors, etc. Please stay safe, follow appropriate health guidelines, and we will come through this health crisis and return to our normal world all the sooner!