Help

Folkjam.org allows registered users to submit and maintain jam session listings and allows all users to search those listings.

We've done our best to make the site as intuitive as we possibly can. Even then, sometimes you may want a little help understanding a part of it.

Jams

List your acoustic jams for free on folkjam.org. We make it easy for pickers to find you.

This site is what we call location aware. You tell folkjam where you are, and the site will customize every local and national level display to show you only the content near you. It makes it easy to find jams in your hometown or a city that you will be visiting soon.

How does the site decide my starting city?

When an anonymous visitor views our site we make a guess on where they are on the planet. We do this based on information their computer tells us, specifically the IP address. The database we use to do that is about 60% accurate. For most people their location comes up as nearby, as most broadband Internet providers connect their network up to the 'net somewhere close. Dial-up users have a less consistent experience. We find that many AOL users start in Potwin, Kansas in the US.

An anonymous visitor who lives in or near Tampa, Florida would be very likely to have the site start them in Tampa just as a visitor from London a map of the City of London.

When a registered user visits, we start them in the city they entered in their profile.

When web sites link to us they can create a link with an explicit start city, overriding this behavior. Learn how to create a link with an explicit start city.

Groups

Groups are to help musicians get jams going in the first place, to run/coordinate private jams, to keep in touch or just to find like minded musicians.

Groups are communities. To participate in a group you must subscribe to it. Some groups allow instant subscription, others require that a group administrator accept your subscription request. Groups can also be by-invitation only, in which case you must be invited in to the group.

By default groups appear in our group directory and can appear on the national group map for your country. A group administrator can keep a group out of the directory, in which case you can only find out about it by somebody inviting you in.

Our groups can optionally be associated with a location. Groups with locations appear on our local and national level jam maps right along side jam, festival and workshop listings.

Every group has a private forum and a private jam map, both for members only. You can post jam sessions that only group members can see on the group map. Use this to run an established private jam or to start the cycle of a regular jam in your area.

To use groups you must be a registered folkjam.org user with a validated email address. Registration is free. Join us today.

Why create a group?

Groups on folkjam.org are different. We integrate them into our maps, making it easy for other musicians in the local area to find you.

Many of us have used forums and email lists over the years to find musicians near us. These were the best tools we had, but they are not purpose built for finding music. Forums are organized by the time of the post, not by the location of the group/event. In order to find nearby music, you need to browse through pages of forum posts and rely on the poster to use good subject.

Any full registered user can join and create groups. Enjoy.

Let us know what you think of our groups feature, we appreciate feedback of all forms.

Adding another group administrator

You can share the administrative responsibilities for your group between multiple group members.

A user must first be a member of your group before you can give them administrative responsibility.

View your group's homepage. In the actions/menu block that is in the upper left hand portion of the page click on the link that shows the number of subscriptions in the group. This will take you to the subscription administration page.

Next to each user that is not already an administrator is an option called "admin: create". Click that link to give the user shared admin responsibility for the group.

If you are the group creator, you can never remove your own administrative rights to the group.

Email announcement to full group

The administrators of a group are able to send announcement email messages to all group members at once. Access this via the "Email" tab from within the group.

Group files

Each group has a file area where the group administrators may upload files for all group members to download.

Our intent for the file upload area is to share tune lists, sheet music (no copywritten works), ABC files and Band In a Box files. The intent is NOT to support uploads of recordings or other large content. Thus the following restrictions are placed on file uploads:

There is a 10 megabyte limit for all files within a group.

There is a 2 megabyte limit for the size of any one file.

There are limits on the types of files you can upload.

Note that a group owner can make any other group member an administrator, thus allowing a small team to manage the group's file area.

Managing group subscriptions

As a group administrator you can add folkjam.org users to your group and remove group members.

View your group's homepage. In the upper left hand corner, under the group welcome message, is a box with group specific actions/menu items. Click on the one that lists out the number of subscribers in your group. This takes you to the group administration page.

From here you can unsubscribe members, add members and give other members administrative rights to the group (so that they too can manage subscriptions)

Private group events

Each group has a map of private events within that group. These maps are just like the public maps on folkjam.org, except that they are only visible to members of the group.

The maps show upcoming group events. Below the map is a list of events.

Because the events in groups could cover a very wide area, we've added some additional navigational aids. Each event in the list has a pin icon to the left of it. Hover over this pin with your mouse cursor and the map will center to that event. When you move the mouse off of the pin, the map will slide back to where ever it was. If you click on the pin, the map will center on that event and stay there until you move it again.

All group members have the right to add events. Unlike the events on fokjam's main event maps, these events are not moderated. If you see an inappropriate post please contact the folkjam.org administrators.

Forums

Our forums allow you to connect with other interested musicians. Forums can be used by registered users who have verified their email address.

Menu options explained

Here is what each of our menu options do.

In our banner are several options for accessing content on our site. You should keep in mind that folkjam.org searches for content in two different ways. Most of our displays automatically show you only the data in your local area. We guess at your local area and suggest that you change your location if we get it wrong. The second method of search is via our search box at the top of every page - it searches all of our content regardless of where you are.

Musical style
Searches for jams in your local area based on the musical style tag(s) that the contributor submitted.
Instrument
Searches for jams in your local area based on the instrument tag(s) that the contributor submitted.
Location
Change the location folkjam uses for your searches.
This week
Jams happening this week in your local area.
This month
Jams happening this month in your local area.

Find Local Jams

local jam overview
Brings you back to the folkjam.org home page. Among other things, this page shows you a list of upcomming jams in the local area as well as a map.
local jam calendar
Shows a month by month calendar of jams in your local area
local jam list
Displays a list of all of the jam sessions in your local area. The results can be sorted by several different columns.
local jam map
Displays a map showing all jams within your local area. You can click on the pin for any jam to get further information.
local jam report
Downloads an Adobe .pdf file with a single page report of jams in your local area. Print out a handful of these and take them to the next jam session you attend.
change your location
All of the 'Find Local Jams' menu options show you data that is near where folkjam thinks you are. You can look at other cities by changing your location.

Find National Jams

national jam map
Displays a map with a pin for every jam and festival in the United States. You can zoom in/out on the map and scroll it to find what you are looking for. Note that we are working to make this menu option show you a map of your country rather than the US.

Find Worldwide Jams

world jam map
Displays a map with a pin for every jam and festival we have in our database. You can zoom in/out on the map and scroll it to find what you are looking for.
list all jams
Shows a breakdown of all the jam sessions on folkjam.org broken down by country, region/state and postal code.

Contribute

contribute a recurring jam session
Our contributors are our primary source of jam session information. Have you contributed yet? This menu item allows you to contribe a recurring jam session to folkjam.org
contribute a single session jam
If your jam session only happens on a single date or happens irregulary then contribute a session on a specific date.
contribute an acoustic music camp
Is your music camp or workshop listed on folkjam.org? You can add it to our database here.
contribute a festival
If you run or attend a folk festival and want it listed on folkjam.org, go here.
additional contributions
Folkjam.org accepts contributions beyond our main acoustic jam/festival/camp types. This menu expands to show you all of the content types you are able to contribute to folkjam.
recent contributions
See the latest entries in our database, find out who our biggest contributors are and watch folkjam grow.
Festival Calendar
View the upcoming festivals in our database
Acoustic Music Camp Calendar
View the calendar of acoustic music camps and workshops
Forums
Discuss folk music with other members of the folkjam.org community, find tips and guidelines for playing at jams and make requests to start new jams in your area.

Resources

what's new
What is new and improved on folkjam.org? See news from the folkjam team as we continue to improve the site.
jam guidelines
Ever wondered what the 'rules of jamming' look like? We still wonder, but with these handy guidelines written by jammers we break the rules less frequently than we used to.
user locations
Where are the users of folkjam?
news aggregator
We bring together news feeds on folk music from around the web and make them easy for you to browse and read.
put folkjam.org listings on your site
Did you know that folkjam.org is more than what you see here? Our back end systems can be tapped using RSS to put jam session dates on your web site. Do you maintain a web site where you maintain information on a local jam? Are you sick of editing it just to update the date every week or month? Learn how you can edit your site one last time and then count on folkjam.org to keep your dates current.
link to folkjam.org
We think folkjam is awesome and we hope that you do too. Help us spread the word by putting a link to folkjam.org on your web site.
About Us
What massive corporation built folkjam.org? Not quite. It was massive cooperation between two friends and countless contributors.
Feedback
What do you think of our service and our site? We really want to know.
Help
Will bring you to these help screens.
Log out
Ends your visit on folkjam.org. Y'all come back soon now, ok?

Commonly Asked Questions

I just contributed a jam/festival/camp, where is it?
When you submit a jam it is placed into our moderation system for review by one of our site moderators. You can see your contribution and can refine and edit it while it is waiting for approval. When a contribution is approved you will receive email confirmation. The post will be immediatly available on our maps and calendars. You should allow up to 48 hours for your jam to appear in search results, and up to 72 hours for a new jam to appear on our RSS feeds.
What is the geographic scope of folkjam.org
folkjam's initial focus is on music in North America and primarily in the United States. While we've written our software to support a far broader audience, we have not gotten every piece of functionality working outside of the US. We are partially dependent on support from our underlying platform, Drupal. If you are interested in extending folkjam to work in your country, please contact us. If you can make sure that all of the modules we use are translated into your local language, and ensure that Drupal's location.module has support for your country, we will work with you to upgrade folkjam for your country. You will be enlisted to certify folkjam.org for your region whenever a new release is made.
Why did you do this?
First and foremost, to be able to find jams when we travel. We've found countless web pages with suspect or incomplete information on jam sessions. Many sites attempt to keep up with their 'next session date', but not all page owners remember to update their dates. In many cases the actual jam session 'owner' is not the person who has put the information on the web and it gets out of date. We love to play music and wanted a way to find music outside of our home community. All of this is self serving. It's all about us. For our sake, please contribute your local jams so that we can attend them and stay out of trouble when we visit your town.

Event Validation

We at folkjam.org feel that one of the most important services we provide to the community is the validation of events so that jams which are no longer being held do not appear on the list of events in that area. The ability to maintain an up to date list of events is at the core of our website organization and represents one of the chief reasons we leave it up to members of the community to submit and maintain the jam listings. We can't be everywhere nor call everyone to verify that an event is still occurring and so we turn to the community to provide us with that information.

The central tool that we use to keep our lists up to date is an automated e-mail which is sent to the submitter of an event with a link that takes them back to the site to view a page with the event details. On this validation page are several simple buttons for accepting, editing or suspending the event. If the maintainer of the event clicks on the accept button (or edits and then saves the event), then we know the jam, festival or camp is up to date and it will remain on our lists. If the maintainer does not respond to the event within a certain amount of time (see details page) or clicks the 'suspend' button, then the event will be removed from our maps and calendars.

The verification or updating of an event only takes a few seconds, but this process is vital to keeping our listings as up to date as possible for everyone who visits the site. We appreciate the efforts of all of our submitters and other members of the community who help support us by providing the best information we can to the rest of the playing community.

Validation Details

When you submit a recurring jam, camp or festival to folkjam.org we will check back with you periodically to either make sure that the jam is still occurring or ask if you want to provide a new date for a past event. This is done in the form of an automated e-mail message which provides a link back to the site to a page where an event can be accepted, edited or suspended (see the validation system description for details).

In the case of a recurring jam, we will check back with you six months after the initial entry. If the jam is still going strong, you can just click on the 'accept' button on the validation page and the jam will be renewed for another six months at which time you will receive another e-mail and can accept the details again, update the listing (i.e. if the date has changed) or suspend the event if it is no longer occurring.

When you submit a camp or festival, we will check back three months after the end date of the event to see if you want to put in dates for the next occurrence. We prefer for the same listing to be used for camps and festivals from year to year (as opposed to new listings) so that other users' searches and bookmarks always point to the most up to date version of the event.

After the initial validation e-mail is sent for either a recurring jam, a camp or a festival we wait for one month to hear back from the submitter of the event. If we don't receive an accept, update or suspend response within a month's time, then another e-mail will be sent to the same address. If we don't receive notification from the submitter within a month of that second e-mail, then we will automatically suspend the event.

A single session jam does not require any validation since it will not occur again and therefore can be removed from the maps and calendars. If you have a 'single session' jam which really happens from year to year, we recommend submitting as a festival so that it will be picked up for validation and so that the link for it is always valid.

Tools for web site administrators

Folkjam.org provides a handful of useful tools to web admins who maintain folk music web sites.

If you want to direct your users to folkjam.org, we provide folkjam logos in varying sizes on our linking guidelines page.

We provide access to our database of jams through RSS, which is an internet standard for delivering feeds from web sites. What sort of feeds? Well, that depends on the web site. A news site is likely to provide a list of current news headlines. A jam site provides lists of jams. You can read more about what RSS feeds are available from our site on our jam feeds page.

What can you do with an RSS feed? A whole bunch. Modern web browsers allow users to create dynamic bookmarks based on RSS feeds. These bookmark lists show the current subjects from a site's RSS feed. Or, an RSS client can be installed on your computer that will notify you when there are new subjects on a site's RSS feed. And, most critically for you as a web site administrator, you can pull content from an RSS feed and place it in your web pages.

Do you currently hand-maintain HTML pages with lists of jams sponsored by your organization? With a combination of RSS and a little JavaScript you can display a list of upcoming jams in your city that always remains current, just like our 'upcoming jams' display on the front page. You don't need to know JavaScript either - you simply need to be comfortable with editing HTML files.

Go to this page, type in the full URL of the folkjam.org RSS feed you want to incorporate into your site and then select Generate JavaScript. Take the script this tool generates and place it in an appropriate location on your HTML based web site. From now on your users will see an updated display of the jams you choose to show them on folkjam.org.

We encourage you to maintain all of your organization's jams on folkjam.org. Your users will always see current information on local jams, and more people will be able to find your jam sessions through folkjam.org.

Linking to folkjam

We appreciate it when other sites link to folkjam.org. It provides your users with an additional resource, and it provides more visibility to us.

Here are several folkjam.org logos in varying sizes, and a few requests in how to use them.

  • We ask that you always show a link to our home page, folkjam.org, even if you are also linking deeper into the site. Our home page presents visitors with a concise display of jams in their area, and we would like to give all users the opportunity to start with this view. For example, you could write Check out the map of jams and festivals in the US over at folkjam.org.
  • Pick one of our logos, place it on your site and link it to our home page, www.folkjam.org.
  • You can force people who follow your link to default to a specific city with the following syntax: http://www.folkjam.org?start=city,ST. For example, to create a link that shows all jam sessions in the greater St. Louis area you would use http://www.folkjam.org?start=St.%20Louis,MO. The %20 is what you use to represent a space.

Our full size logo, 500x100


<a href="http://www.folkjam.org"><img src="http://www.folkjam.org/logo/folkjam-linklogo-s100.png" border="0"></a>

One of our alternate banners, 168x60


<a href="http://www.folkjam.org"><img src="http://www.folkjam.org/logo/folkjam-play-well-168x60.png" border="0"></a>

A medium sized version of our logo, 300x60


<a href="http://www.folkjam.org"><img src="http://www.folkjam.org/logo/folkjam-linklogo-s60.png" border="0"></a>

The smallest our logo will go and remain legible, 225x45


<a href="http://www.folkjam.org"><img src="http://www.folkjam.org/logo/folkjam-linklogo-s45.png" border="0"></a>

A medium sized badge version of our logo, 150x40


<a href="http://www.folkjam.org"><img src="http://www.folkjam.org/logo/folkjam-badge-medium.png" border="0"></a>

A small folkjam.org badge, 80x15


<a href="http://www.folkjam.org"><img src="http://www.folkjam.org/logo/folkjam-badge.png" border="0"></a>

RSS feeds from folkjam.org

We provide several different ways to pull content from folkjam.org via RSS. You may use our RSS feeds to show local jams on your web site, display a list of upcoming jams as a bookmark in your browser or anywhere an RSS feed can be used. We do ask that you leave all attribution as is in the RSS feed.

Feed basics

Folkjam.org shows you content based on your location, and our RSS feeds are built on the same principle. We supply five different types of RSS inquiry: jams based on zip code proximity, jams based on latitude/longitude proximity, jams contributed by a particular user, a group of specific jams, and jams that you have placed on your personal jam calendar (NOTE: The personal calendar feed type is not likely to be in the early versions of folkjam.org).

Postal (zip) code proximity feeds

http://www.folkjam.org/feed/jam/postcode/CC/PPPPP
This feed brings back a list of jams and/or festivals within a radius of a postal code. The CC portion of the URL is the two letter country code, and the PPPPP portion is the post/zip code. For example, a list of jam sessions near New York City could be retrieved with the RSS feed http://www.folkjam.org/feed/jam/postcode/us/10005.

The postal code feed can be customized with the distance, sort, count and type parameters described below.

Geographic lat/lon proximity feeds

http://www.folkjam.org/feed/jam/geo/LAT/LON
This RSS feed returns a list of jams and/or festivals within a radius of the latitude and longitude you supply. The LAT portion of the URL is the latitude and the LON portion is the longitude. For example, a list of jam sessions near Kansas City could be retrieved with the RSS feed http://www.folkjam.org/feed/jam/geo/38.96/-94.74.

The geo feed can be customized with the distance, sort, count and type parameters described below.

Jams contributed by a specific user

http://www.folkjam.org/feed/jam/contributor/UUU
The contributor feed returns a list of all folkjam events submitted by a specific user. This is useful if you only want to show 'your' jams/festivals on web pages you maintain instead of all of the events near you. If you run a jam session in your area, post it to folkjam.org and use our RSS feed to keep the 'next session' date of your jam current without having to edit your HTML pages after every jam.

The UUU portion of the URL is a numeric folkjam user ID. This is the ID of the user who contributed the jams you want to see.

A group of specific jams

http://www.folkjam.org/feed/jam/node/NNN
http://www.folkjam.org/feed/jam/node/NNN+NNN+NNN
The specific jam feed allows you to specify one or more jams to retrieve as an RSS feed. The jams are identified by the same number you see in the URL when viewing the jam session. If the jam you want to pull into an RSS feed is on URL http://www.folkjam.org/node/864, then you can pull an RSS feed of upcoming dates for that jam using http://www.folkjam.org/feed/jam/node/864. If you want to bring back multiple specific jams combined into a single RSS feed, then use the second form of the RSS feed URL where the jam session id numbers are separated by a plus sign(+). For example, http://www.folkjam.org/feed/jam/node/864+1961+1972+2078.

The 'distance' parameter is not valid for this feed type. 'sort', 'count' and 'type' are valid. This feed takes an additional parameter - 'title'. Use the title parameter to set the title that is presented on the RSS feed. For example, http://www.folkjam.org/feed/jam/node/1234+1235?title=My+two+favorite+jam+sessions.

Jams from your personal jam calendar

http://www.folkjam.org/feed/jam/personalcalendar/UUU
NOTE: This feature will not be part of the initial release of folkjam.org and is planned for early 2007.

Feed parameters

All of our RSS feeds can take additional parameters to fine tune the data you receive from folkjam.org. These parameters are appended to the URL you construct with a ? followed by the parameter name, an equals sign, the parameter value and optionally an & followed by another parameter name. Confused? See the examples.

distance=##
Constrain the distance of the events presented in the RSS feed. Defaults to 90 miles. ## must be a numeric value, in miles. The distance cannot exceed a 200 mile radius.
sort=[title|upcoming]
Determines the sort order for the events presented in the RSS feed. A value of 'title' will return a list of events in alphabetic order (up to the 'count' parameter). A value of 'upcoming' will return a list of events in chronological order. The main difference is that the 'title' feed will show one entry for every jam on the feed with the date of the next session, where the 'upcoming' list will show jams in the order they happen, and any given jam may be in the list multiple times.
count=##
Constrains the number of items that will be returned in the RSS feed. Defaults to 10. Has a maximum of 75.
type=[festival|jam|camp]
Event types to return in the RSS feed. This is a comma separated list of the event types that will be delivered in the RSS feed. If no type parameter is supplied it defaults to 'jam' and does not return information on festivals.

We offer a JavaScript RSS utility for embedding RSS in your HTML pages. For an example of an RSS feed embedded in an HTML web page, view Scott's Kansas City Area Jam Sessions page.

Example RSS Feeds

Folkjam.org provides several different ways to extract jam sessions and festivals through RSS. The rules for building up a valid folkjam.org RSS feed URL can be found here.

This is a list of examples on how to format our RSS feed URLs.

Description RSS Feed URL
Jams nearAshburn, VA, your current location. http://www.folkjam.org/feed/jam/postcode/us/
A list of upcoming jams near Tampa, Florida http://www.folkjam.org/feed/jam/postcode/us/33601
Jams near lat/lon 27.95/-82.46 (which also happens to be Tampa, FL) http://www.folkjam.org/feed/jam/geo/27.95/-82.46
Alphabetic list of jams within a 40 mile radius of St. Louis, MO http://www.folkjam.org/feed/jam/postcode/us/63119?sort=title&distance=40
List of upcoming festivals in a 20 mile radius of Winfield, Kansas http://www.folkjam.org/feed/jam/postcode/us/67156?type=festival&distance=20&sort=upcoming
List of festivals and jams in a 35 mile radius of Winfield, Kansas listed by title http://www.folkjam.org/feed/jam/postcode/us/67156?type=festival,jam&distance=35&sort=title
A feed showing only the weekly sessions of a bluegrass jam in Woodstock, New York with a custom title http://www.folkjam.org/feed/jam/node/2081?title=Pizza+and+bluegrass+together+again
The next six upcoming sessions of the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association jams and the weekly Woodstock bluegrass jam http://www.folkjam.org/feed/jam/node/2081+2078?count=6