Food - Drink
How Folk Music Came To Be Associated With Coffeehouses
By KATIE HORST
Coffee shops and folk music share a historical past that highlights the lifestyle and plight of "common" folk, a movement that isn't well-known by most coffee drinkers today. According to the Library of Congress, the first coffee shop opened in the early 1500s in Constantinople, and soon grew into the perfect gathering place.
Coffeehouses became places for the discussions of politics, community events, and even business transactions, but in America, they would eventually become the haunts of folk singers. Folk music, from the Old English word "folc," meaning "common people" (Study.com), boomed in popularity in the 20th century U.S.
Folk music was the genre of the people, addressing issues such as depression, laboring, and class mistreatment. Coffeehouses, accessible and welcoming, became the place to listen to folk artists while sipping on the energizing drink, and folk music's acoustic instruments paired well with the small and intimate environment.
Coffeehouse gigs also did not pay well, further emphasizing that folk musicians were there for the cause, not personal profit. Today, cafes still make great venues for musicians to share their music with a guaranteed audience, and visitors continue to share ideas and come together as a community at their favorite coffee shops.