Open Filking

Nancy Graf's drawing of a winged horse, a filker, and the sunriseOpen Filking at OVFF

There is always AT LEAST one room reserved for open filking during the entirety of the con. Friday & especially Saturday evenings this expands enormously, and it is not uncommon for over 6 different open filks to be going on simultaneously.

For those who wish to record open filking, please read the OVFF Recording Policy on the Code of Conduct page.

Frisky Puppy Filk

There will be a Frisky Puppy Filk on Thursday night.

This gives members who arrive a day early the chance to gather with other
filkers and unwind from their travels and to sing and listen before the
hustle and bustle of the convention begins in earnest.

Afternoon Delight Filk

Friday afternoon (while the concom finishes setting things up) early birds can while away the time until the con “officially” opens at this open filk.

Themed Filks

OVFF schedules a few open filks to have a particular theme, usually based on the predisposition of one or more of the Honored Guests. At themed filks, songs are expected to fit the theme in some manner. Whether a song fits the theme is often a matter of how creative the person wanting to perform (or hear) that song is in rationalizing how the song fits.

Theme filks for 2021 included:

  • Luney Tunes
  • Almost Halloween Midnight Jam
  • Songs of Progress and Positive Changes
  • Gaming Songs

See the programming book for complete descriptions.

Along with the scheduled themed filks, some time slots are set aside for member-selected themed filks, where the theme is decided by someone who signs up for the slot at the registration table.

Traditional Midwest Chaos

This is the most common form of open filk at OVFF, and for the most part, in the midwestern United States, or at least anywhere near the Great Lakes. At a chaos filk, anything goes. You have a follower? Sing it! You want to change the mood? Go for it! (Of course, it’s best to be polite about it…)

Most of the all-night open filks are chaos filks.

Chaos Filk Etiquette

One of the strengths of the chaos filk style is the no-holds-barred, sing-when-you-want, roller coaster. Unfortunately, this is also its principal weakness. While it is occasionally ok to ‘follow your own song’, or lead a song after only one or two other filkers have performed, that generally only holds true if there are fewer than five filkers in a circle.

Remember that the purpose of a filk circle is to share music *together*! Count the number of performers in the room. Make sure to listen to all of those performers before you take another turn. You may not think people are waiting for a chance to perform, but they are. They really, really are. And when you do practice a bit of patience, you’ll be surprised at how much more fun you can have!

Poker Chip Chaos

This year, we will again have a Poker Chip Chaos room. The rules are this: At the start of the circle, everyone gets a poker chip. When you sing, you put your chip in the middle of the circle. You cannot sing again until everyone has used their chip. When all the poker chips have been used, everyone in the room (including those who joined the circle while a round was in progress) gets a poker chip, and the cycle begins again.

For those who enter halfway through a round, it’s generally a good idea to let them go first when the next round begins. This way, everyone participates!


Like your filk a little LOUDER? The LOUD Filk welcomes electric instruments, drums, string sections, and jamming along. It’s a different way to filk!

Dead Dog Open Filk

After the convention is officially over and you’ve had something to eat on Sunday evening, it is time to get back to the business of singing until the last person leaves for home, falls asleep mid-refrain, or is carried off to bed. In recent years, this has gone on past 5:00am! (The record is 8:30am.)

Many people consider this to be the best open filking of the entire convention each year, so it’s worth sticking around for if you can.

To Host A Theme Filk

If you would like to host a theme filk please fill out this form and submit it to our programming team.  Please note that submitting this form is not a guarantee of acceptance or a slot on the schedule unless we have already been in contact with you.  This form just gets us the information we need so that we can contact you and make arrangements if we have not already done so.