Charleston Folk was formed in 1978 out of the Chanticleer coffeehouse at Gage Hall at the Unitarian Church as a concert-producing organization.
Edmund Robinson was the first president of Charleston Folk and stayed with the organization until he moved to Cambridge, MA in 1995 to attend Harvard Divinity School.
For the first Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston (1978), Charleston Folk collaborated with the Office of Cultural Affairs to produce five concerts in the food court near Tommy Condon’s.
CF became a non-profit in 1982 and produced the first concert outside of Spoleto that year, using the Footlight Players workshop as a principal venue.
Laura Katz (from the Office of Cultural Affairs) was the artistic director, with a modest compensation throughout the 1980s.
Throughout the ‘80s, CF produced between five and nine concerts per academic year, bringing in big-name folk groups such as The Chieftains.
Around 1987 they outgrew the Footlight Players workshop and moved into the Garden Theater (now Urban Outfitters) on King Street.
Contra dances were held at Gage Hall at the Unitarian Church on Archdale Street on Thursdays and the concerts were at the Garden Theater on Saturdays.
Hurricane Hugo struck in September 1989 and damaged the Garden Theater, so concerts were held in many different venues, leading to an attendance drop-off. But the contra dances started to take off again, and by the time Robinson left the organization, this was CF's sole mission.
Due to other bookings for Gage Hall, the dances moved to the George Street Family Y for a while, then to the Ballroom Dance Club West Ashley. In 2008 we outgrew that space and began dancing at the Felix Davis Community Center in Park Circle, North Charleston.
Bug Stomp History: In 1988 Edmund requested suggestions for a name for a future annual dance weekend. Carl Blum suggested Palmetto Bug Stomp. The first Bug Stomp, in 1990, was held at the Charleston Day School, across from Gage Hall. Wild Asparagus played a concert at the Queen Street Playhouse that year instead of a Saturday night dance. 1991 saw a move to the Bishop England High School Gym on Calhoun Street. 1992, 93 and 94 were held at the Sand Dunes Club on Sullivan's Island. We returned once to the Bishop England Gym. The dance was held in the Stern Center at the College of Charleston for several years and the original Palmetto Bug Stomp Modular Dance Floor was built for the Stern Center Ballroom. In 2004 the weekend was held at the Navy Base Chapel in North Charleston. 2005, 2006 and 2007 were held at Mark Clark Hall on the Citadel Campus. There was no Bug Stomp 2008. Starting in 2009 we moved to Felix Davis Community Center in Park Circle, North Charleston, and have held our regular dances and the Bug Stomp there ever since.