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Cityfolk Collection (MS-508)

Identifier: MS-508

Scope and Content:

The Cityfolk Collection has been divided into six series and seventeen subseries according to its subject matter. Arranged first chronologically then alphabetically. Some material within the Cityfolk Collection has been assigned an E-number because of the electronic nature of the material. The researcher should be aware of the shift between file number and E-number when using the finding aid.

Series I, Administration (boxes 1-5), covers a wide range of structural, logistical, and financial documents relating to Cityfolk and their outreach programs. Subseries IA, Foundational Documents, contains materials that illustrate the history of Cityfolk, the governing laws and purpose of the organization, plus the establishment of Cityfolk’s Trademark and Non-Profit status. Subseries IB Financial Documents, includes grants ranging from 1986 to 2002, which includes the Tiger Woods Foundation Grant. There are also ticket sales analysis per event, tax information and job codes. Subseries IC, Board Members and Minutes, contains board member profiles from 1986-1988 and minutes, which are arranged by the fiscal calendar kept by Cityfolk (July to June), spanning form 1986 to 1994. Subseries ID, Business Development, includes materials related to marketing strategies, business planning and analysis and pertinent contractual information. Subseries IE, Membership, contains documents such as, membership applications, financial contributions, appeal letters, and thankyou letters. Subseries IF, Events, contains materials related to the planning, development, implementation and evaluations for the various cultural programs that Cityfolk designed. Subseries IG, Molly Conrecode, contains research materials produced by the folklorist and is organized into individual subjects which including: individual artist, team sports, and local schools.

In Series II, Programming, the researcher will find materials relating to programming contracts with individual artists and organizations during each fiscal year. It is further divided into three subseries: IIA. Concert Series, IIB. Festival Main Stage Performers, and IIC. Festival Street Performers. Subseries IIA, Concert Series, contains information related to performances or events organized by Cityfolk throughout the year. This generally includes the contract, budgeting and cost information, location details, internal marketing materials, stage setup, and personal correspondence. The subseries is arranged chronologically. Some artists performed for Cityfolk numerous times throughout the years. Each of those performances is arranged in a folder pertaining to the particular date of execution. In Subseries IIB, Festival Main Stage Performers, the researcher will find contracts, internal marketing materials, stage set up and location information, and budgeting materials for the festival’s Main Stage performers. Because the festival occurred once per year over three days, the folders are arranged chronologically, then alphabetically. In Subseries IIC, Festival Street Performers, the researcher can find information on performers, folk artists, and educators that also participated in the festival. Each folder in this section contains all contracts created for that festival year and are arranged chronologically.

Series III, Photographs: Here, researchers will find photographs and slides that correspond to different Cityfolk events including festivals and other programing events. Subseries IIIA, Slides includes 35mm slides of photographs taken during the1997 and 1998 National Folk Festivals, slides pertaining to 1997 and 1998 fieldwork for the National Folk Festival, slides of the 1999, 2000, and 2001 Cityfolk festivals, season events, and community outreach programs. These include musical events as well as arts and crafts sessions. Subseries IIIB, Photographs and Negatives, includes photos taken by Cityfolk photographers as well as professional photographers of events and artists. If available, negatives are housed alongside their respective positives. Photos predominantly pertain to the fieldwork done for the 1997 and 1998 National Folk Festivals, season and community events from 1998 to 2001, Cityfolk Festival pictures from 2000 to 2001, performer photos, and staff and committee photos. Both Subseries have several folders that contain original slide and photograph indexes, which have been processed and left in their original order, as well as, undated and unnamed media

Series IV, Audiovisual, contains a large amount of audio material belonging to various artist, and video of the Dayton Stories Project and the National Folk Festival. The subseries are arranged according to media type, while the material is described alphabetically at the item level. Subseries IVA, Audio Cassette Tapes, researchers will find the interviews conducted for the Dayton Stories Project, submitted audition tapes, along with many other recordings all pertaining to either the festival or other programming. Subseries IVB, Digital Audio Tapes, contains all the audio for the 2001 festival at the different mainstages researchers will note that the files in this subseries will be found in the electron archive. Subseries IVC, Compact Disc, contains a sampler produced by Cityfolk in preparation for the 2013 Festival, researchers will note that the contents of this subseries will be found in the electronic archive. Subseries IVD, U-matic Video Tapes, researchers will find videos submitted by artist like the Chieftans, and video taken at the National Folk Festival in 1997-1998. Subseries IVE, VHS Tapes, contents within this subseries include videos of the Dayton Stories Project, Cityfolk Festival from 1999-2004, the 1998 National Folk Festival, various artist submission, and new reports relating to Cityfolk. Subseries IVF: DV CAM, contains items relating to the 2003 Cityfolk Festival.

Series V, Promotional Materials, contains materials produced by and published by Cityfolk in regards to their programing. The researcher will also find a large amount of newspaper articles that highlight Cityfolk. The series is arranged in chronological order. Subseries VA, Publications, contains material originally published by Cityfolk, which includes: pamphlets, brochures, and the annual backstage booklet. Subseries VB, Newspaper Clippings, contains copies of stories and articles published by newspapers in the City of Dayton as well as abroad. This includes, but is not limited to, the Dayton Daily News, Dayton Journal Herald, Dayton Jewish Chronicle, Dayton Black Press, and the Dayton Voice.

Series V1, Electronic Media, contains materials that are stored on different forms of multimedia platforms such as: External Hard Drives, Digital Audio Tapes, Compact Disc, and Digital Video Tapes. The content found in this series includes; audio and video performances, festival pictures, festival samplers and much more.


  • 1980-2014
  • Majority of material found within 1990-2000


Restrictions on Access:

There are currently restrictions on the Artist contracts due to the sensitive nature of the information. Please allow time for redaction of said information so that the files may be accessed.

Restrictions on Use:

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Historical Note

Cityfolk was founded in 1981 as a community arts project through a grant from the Ohio Arts Council. Under the direction of Dayton resident Phyllis Brzozowska, the organization developed a nationally recognized concert season, presenting Celtic, jazz, world music, a variety of dance, educational workshops, films, and the Culture Builds Community program. By 1984, it had produced nearly 70 events in total. In 1989, Brzozowska and Dave Barber, the PR and Marketing Director, presented the successful “Dayton Bluegrass Reunion” to celebrate the area’s 40 year Appalachian music heritage. As the organization grew, it expanded to include collaboration with a folklorist and a new tradition of cultural research. In 1995, folklorists Molly Conrecode and Tim Lloyd began work on Cityfolk’s Folklife program. Their work further emphasized the organization’s focus on representing and preserving local cultural diversity. Cityfolk hosted the National Folk Festival for three consecutive years between 1996 and 1998, which drew more people to the city center than had ever gathered there before. Due to the festival’s success, the organization created its own annual celebration beginning in 1999 and led to fourteen subsequent years of programming, including a concert series throughout the year and a festival series every summer. Cityfolk drew nationally recognized artists, including Los Lobos, Wynton Marsalis, Earl Scruggs, Lunasa, the Chieftains, and Altan. In 2012, a violent storm caused nearly 100,000 dollars in damages, and the organization was unable to recover financially. Cityfolk cancelled the 2013 and 2014 calendars and disbanded. Over the years, it received numerous grants and endowments, including the Jazznet endowment beginning in 1999. Today, this continues to fund the University of Dayton’s Artslive series, designed to maintain Cityfolk’s educational and Jazz Series traditions.


38.3 linear feet : The collection includes 35mm slides, a mechanical hard drive, compact disks, VHS tapes,U-matic tapes, audio cassette tapes, and digital audio tapes, requiring special equipment to access.

Language of Materials



The Cityfolk Collection contains material describing the administrative and creative functions of the Cityfolk organization. Folder and box contents include financial documents, artist contracts, donor and volunteer information, festival and program planning, newspaper clippings, negatives, slides, printed photographs, oral histories on cassette and VHS tape, marketing materials, and oversized artistic renderings. The works range in date from 1980 to 2014, with the bulk of the material from 1990-2000. These documents illustrate the history of the now defunct Cityfolk Organization that began as a grassroots cultural and music programmer, and eventually became the three year host of the National Folk Festival and large scale concert planner. This collection also includes information created internally concerning nationally recognized artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Earl Scruggs, Altan, and Los Lobos. Currently, there are restrictions on this collection as some of the materials contain sensitive information about particular artists and individuals, such as social security numbers and bank accounts. Please allow for the appropriate amount of time to redact said information before access.


The Cityfolk collection is organized into six series and seventeen subseries:

Series I: Administration- 1980-2013

Subseries IA: Foundation Documents

Subseries IB: Financial Documents

Subseries IC: Board Members and Minutes

Subseries ID: Business development

Subseries IE: Membership

Subseries IF: Events

Subseries IG: Molly Conrecode

Series II: Programing-1980-2013

Subseries IIA: Concert Series Events

Subseries IIB: Festival Main Stage Artists

Subseries IIC: Festival Street Artists

Series III: Photographs-1980-2013

Subseries IIIA: Slides

Subseries IIIB: Photographs and Negatives

Series IV: Audiovisual-1980-2013

Subseries IVA: Audio Cassette Tapes

Subseries IVD: U-matic Video Tapes

Subseries IVE: Home Video Tapes

Series V: Promotional Material-1980-2013

Subseries VA: Publications

Subseries VB: Press

Series VI: Electronic Media

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements:

The collection includes 35mm slides, a mechanical hard drive, compact disks, VHS tapes, pneumatic tapes, audio cassette tapes, and digital audio tapes, requiring special equipment to access.


The collection was donated by Cityfolk.


Additional materials already in possession of the Archives have not yet been processed.

Separated Material:

One mechanical hard drive, forty compact disks, and forty digital audio tapes have been separated from the collection and placed in the E-Archives.

Processed by:

Andrew Clinard, Hadley Drodge, Kaitlyn Griffith, Daniel Watts, 2016.

Guide to the Cityfolk Collection
In Progress
Andrew Clinard
2016 April
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Wright State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives Repository

Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA