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Gerdes Folk City

Folk Venue Spotlight

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Background Info

Gerdes Folk City may have closed its doors more than 30 years ago, but its presence is still appreciated in folk circles. There are endless myths and legends surrounding Gerdes Folk City, but that's understandable. After all, in its time, it played host to pretty much everyone who was anyone in the 1960s Greenwich Village folk music scene.

Gerdes gets a lot of historical folk press because Dylan got his start there, but the club was hopping well before Dylan played his first professional show there in April, 1961. By the time Dylan got there, in fact, Dave Van Ronk was already considered the Mayor of MacDougal Street.

Owned by Mike Porco, Folk City was situated on West 3rd St. The area in what was Folk City's basement has been converted into the popular rock and roots venue The Village Underground. There are several different claims as to where Gerdes actually existed, including various addresses on W. 3rd and 4th Streets, but legend has it on that block of West 3rd, just off 6th Avenue, at what is now the Fat Black Pussycat.

Where Folk City began as a coffeeshop known for its well-attended Monday night hootenannies, the Pussycat is more of a pool-and-darts bar, complete with loud music and a giant video screen.

A few of the artists who played at Gerdes Folk City

  • Bob Dylan
  • Joan Baez
  • Peter, Paul & Mary
  • Phil Ochs
  • Doc Watson
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