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The 32nd UK Filk Convention | Best Western Hotel, Marks Tey

7–9 February 2020

New to Filk

So you’d like to come and join in but don’t want to be the neo at the back? Fear not, here’s the essentials you need to fit right in!

What’s filk anyway?

(with thanks to definitions by Kay Shapero and Nick Smith)

“Filk” has been described as the folk music of the science-fiction fan community. It’s a mixture of song parodies and original music, humorous and serious, about subjects like science fiction, fantasy, computers, cats, politics, the space programme, books, movies, TV shows, love, war, death…

Filk music started off forty or fifty years ago, at SF cons, where people got together late at night to have good old-fashioned folk music song circles. The name “filk” started out as a typo of “folk” and was gleefully adopted by all and sundry as a term for what is after all a somewhat unusual subset.

These days, there is such diversity in the music performed that a recently proposed definition of filk music was “music that filkers play”.

Concert etiquette

No need to book, just turn up. If you arrive late, wait until you hear clapping, then enter the hall quietly and take a seat. Obviously no loud conversations or talking on a mobile phone during the concert!

Activities (e.g. workshops)

If there are limited places, you may need to sign up in advance or early in the convention.

Please arrive promptly for workshops, as they’re usually jam-packed with busy-ness.

Circle etiquette

Turn up (and head off) whenever you like; as with concerts, wait for clapping before you come into the room and take a seat. If you fancy playing or singing, bring your relevant instruments and/or enthusiasm!

Circles tend to be run in one of two ways:

Want to know more about filk?

There are lots of handy resources on the web, but why not start with:

  1. — Rafe Culpin’s resource for information on filk in the UK, with links to the WiGGLe list, upcoming events, related links, news, history and other information.

  2. Kay Shapero’s Filk Frequently Asked Questions and Debbie Ohi’s Filk FAQ cover a large and varied number of filk-related topics.

  3. There is a Filk-UK mailing list and filk IRC channel to help you keep up with the news.

  4. Never heard any filk? Why not check out the Filk Archive?