President's Note from Folk Harp Journal #158, Spring 2013

From the President:


Since becoming President of the ISFHC, I am occasionally asked if there will ever be another Harp-
Con. My usual answer is “not any time soon.” I would like to take this opportunity to give a more
detailed answer, starting with a little history.

Back in the 1980s two organizations held national meetings for harp players. American Harp
Society conferences were primarily for classical/pedal harp players. Conferences put on by the
International Society of Folk Harpers and Craftsmen were meant for everyone else. During the
1990s the World Science Fiction Convention started calling itself World-Con, The International
Comic Book Convention became Comic-Con, and our conference was dubbed Harp-Con.
Our conferences were run entirely by volunteers. The board of directors would work with
members of local ISFHC chapters to put on a conference in a different city each time. The
results were a bunch of great conferences, a few that could have been more successful, lots of
reinventing the wheel and a whole bunch of burned out volunteers.

The current model for major folk harp conferences revolves around independent organizers who
hope to make a tiny profit to compensate themselves for at least part of their efforts. Conferences
tend to be held in the same place each time in order to minimize the time needed to organize
each conference. Attendees and exhibitors know exactly where they are going and what to
expect. The emphasis is on the content, not the particular city. This seems to work very well.
In addition there are a lot of special interest meetings. These allow players to focus on their own
particular areas of interest. Conferences are organized for players interested in music therapy,
historical harp, playing in church, pop harp, and much more. Harp players have never had so
many quality choices!

After putting on the 2010 Harp-Con in St. Louis, the ISFHC Board of Directors redirected their
efforts towards the Folk Harp Journal. The Journal is a central point for distributing information
about upcoming conferences and for reporting on wonderful events after they have taken place.
Our goal is to encourage every member to attend a conference somewhere. That is not to say
there will never be another Harp-Con, but at the moment it is not a priority.


The ISFHC board is always looking for new ways to support and encourage all kinds of harp
playing, in groups from 2 to 500 or more! If you have any ideas please share them with me at

David Kolacny