On March 19, 1976, Dave Fry and Cindy Dinsmore opened the doors of their new coffeehouse, called “Godfrey Daniels” after the euphemistic expletive favored by W. C. Fields. The performers that night, who included Dave Fry, the Shimersville Sheiks, Mary Faith Rhoads and other local musicians, played to a small, but enthusiastic, audience.

Friends pitched in to help run the shows and send out flyers, and even though most of the money taken in at the door went to the performers, Godfrey’s somehow managed to stay afloat. Over the years, Godfrey’s has grown from a little-known haven for lovers of live folk music to an internationally acclaimed club on the “folk circuit.”

In 1978 Godfrey Daniels became a nonprofit organization, and today, as in the early days, most of the money you spend on admission still goes to the performers. The big financial difference now is a result of Godfrey’s very successful membership program, begun in 1984, and generous gifts from businesses, charitable foundations, and individuals.

Martin Guitar
Working Dog Press
Pennsylvania Council of the Arts