Newbie Notes

If this is your first filk convention, you may have some questions for us. Please please email: info AT filkontario . ca ! We really want you to ask questions and make comments! Anyway, here is a page of information for those of you who may be a bit curious, or who might be a bit shy of asking questions.

We’d also like to draw your attention to a review of FKO by Errol Elumir, who talks about his first filk con with wit and charm. Thanks for letting us steal this, Errol!

“When you hear a song in a filk circle, it’s an entirely new and different experience, You can take a song that sounds fantastic when the performers do it alone and put it in the circle… and it takes on a life of its own. Someone adds a fiddle part. Someone else joins in on the bodhran. Maybe someone plays the flute or the pennywhistle. Six or eight or maybe even sixteen people add fantastic harmonies. Others pick up their guitars, figure out the chords, and play along. Suddenly, it’s more than a song; it’s a shared experience, and expression of community and friendship. And that is very, very cool.” – Erin Belavia

What is a filk convention?

FilKONtario is a convention for people who like to sing, play or listen to music. People come from all over the world to meet with their friends and have fun. The convention is organized by people who love music and want to enjoy a wonderful weekend with friends they often see only once or twice a year. And filkers keep coming back, because they have such a good time.

What kind of music do you play?

Mostly acoustic, folk based music. However we are open to most things, including rock, blues, jazz, celtic and everything in between. The uniting theme is science fiction and fantasy, however we also sing songs about cats, chocolate and computers. Instrumental pieces are welcome too.

Many people play acoustic guitars, but you will also see fiddles, drums, shaker eggs, mandolins, plus the odd rain stick, autoharp, concertina or loude. Some of us sing without the backing of an instrument.


I play a ________ (fill in the blank – guitar, trombone, bagpipes). Will I be welcome in a filk circle?

Pretty much everything is welcome as long as people take their turn and play nice.

How much does this all cost?

The convention is about $65 Canadian* at the door and kids are cheaper see our reg page for prereg rates. If you won’t be able to come for the full weekend, we have various daily rates . Hotel rooms are $119 per night, and often people share a room to cut expenses, and this often adds to the fun of the weekend. The banquet buffet is optional, and costs about $45*. The consuite will provide beverages and snacks free with your membership.

* These prices are subject to change so check the pre-reg page for current rates.

When should I arrive? When is everything over? And what kind of events should I expect at the convention?

See last year’s pocket program to get a feel for what the weekend will look like. Details will change, of course, but this should give you an idea of what happens, and when.

The con starts with a party Friday night, followed by concerts and open filking. Saturday we have a full day of workshops, concerts, the banquet, more concerts, the Interfilk auction and lots of open filking. Sunday holds more workshops, concerts including the Filk Hall of Fame concert, and those still standing after dinner gather for an evening of open filking called the Dead Penguin. Monday morning the last of us say our sad farewells (or sing Till We Meet Again).

Some of us will be there on Thursday, so let us know if you’ll be there too.

I’ve heard that filkers sing bad parodies of good songs and that they sing off-key and play badly. Is this true?

In a word, yes! But we also have wonderful professional musicians, seasoned performers, funny, touching, moving and thoughtful original songs, and excellent singers. We welcome everyone, even those who are not so polished or talented. Some of our friends were told “Don’t sing!” at some point in their lives, but have learned to be quite acceptable – even very good musicians.

What other resources are there on the internet?

Try Googling “Filk”! Or check out these other resources!

Debbie’s Filk FAQ