OVFF History


A Brief History of the Ohio Valley Filk Fest

Line artwork of a winged horseThe Ohio Valley Filk Fest, most commonly known as OVFF, was first held
in 1984 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The second OVFF was held in Columbus, Ohio,
in 1986. All subsequent OVFFs have also been held in or around Columbus.This page chronicles the history of OVFF, from its beginnings to the present day.

Anyone who wishes to contribute articles or information to this chronicle may do so by contacting us.

The Birth of OVFF

by Van Siegling (the first OVFF Con Chair, written for the OVFF 10 program book)

It all started as the solution to a problem. Except for one weekend a year (Marcon), there was no filk singing in central Ohio. Back in 1983, I invited over fen who lived in the area and who liked filk. The noise that came out of that meeting was NOT music. (It took awhile to convince the police and the SPCA that the group was NOT practicing animal torture!)

Since the group couldn’t produce filk, we decided to import it. How do you get the best filkers to come to you? You start a convention! What to you call the convention? The committee lived in Columbus, but the best site was in Cincinnati. Both cities are in the Ohio River valley. (Some of our best waste products actually make it all the way to Cinci!) Ohio Valley Filk Fest was an obvious choice for a name.

Why would a committee hold their first convention in a different city over two hours drive away? Because of the machinations of SMOFFs (Secret Masters of Filking Fandom)! Several of the original OVFF committee members had attended Midwestcon. It was held in a very nice, holidome style hotel in northern Cincinnati. that had a beautiful, soundproofed auditorium. There was no comparable facility in Columbus at the time. (Also, Larry Smith and I were able to negotiate a very liberal hotel contract.)

At OVFF 1, some fen from a neighboring state approached the concom about organizing their own filk convention in 1985, with the idea of alternating years. Due to the many fannish commitments of the OVFF concom, we readily agreed to this. Regrettably, the efforts of this other concom came to naught. (Alas, there was no room in the inn, er, hotel.) The OVFF concom did not find out about this until approx May, 1985. Instead of throwing a convention together in 3 months, the OVFF concom wisely decided to wait until 1986 to hold OVFF2.

The Honored Guests of OVFF

We have a list of all of the past honored guests of OVFF, along with the con-chairs, and many of the program books (when available) since the beginning.

Filking on NPR!

Chris Boros of NPR wrote an accurate article on filk, and the filk community using information he collected from interviews he conducted at OVFF 25 with Barry & Sally Childs-Helton and Bill & Brenda Sutton. You can read it here on NPR’s website.