The Washington Square Park Folk Festival was founded in 2011 by music producer and Greenwich Village native Eli Smith together with then parks administrator Rebecca Ferguson. The festival takes place annually in mid September and is funded by local businesses and organizations. It is free and open to the public.
The Washington Square Park Folk Festival features the best of local New York and sometimes national talent in the field of folk music - including old time string bands, Blues, jug bands, traditional Mexican and Balkan music, songwriters, New Orleans Jazz, Klezmer music and more!
Washington Square Park is a historic site for American folk music in New York City and nationally going back to the 1940’s, through the 50's and 60's and continuing until today. Many renowned performers in the field of folk music got their start playing out in the park and met their future musical partners and associates there. The Washington Square Park Folk Festival gives a yearly focus to the folk music community involved with the park and will ensure that Washington Square Park continues to be a place that is recognized as a home for folk music in the years to come. Eli Smith is also host of the popular Down Home Radio Show and produces the annual Brooklyn Folk Festival. As a musician he plays banjo and guitar in the Down Hill Strugglers, an old time string band.