Consonance, 2015

Special Guest


Bob Laurent: Father of Consonance and Interfilk

by Alan Thiesen


Is Bob Laurent psychic or what?


A few old-timers will remember that before Consonance, there was Bayfilk. Somehow Bob knew that Bayfilk 1989 would be the last one. So that the Bay Area wouldn’t be bereft of filk cons, he decided to run a con of his own. Prior to Bayfilk, he selected guests for the first Consonance. At Bayfilk, within seconds after the folks running Bayfilk announced that they would not do so again, Bob whipped out the flyers for Consonance 1990.


And the rest is history.


In 1991, Bob invented Interfilk. It was his idea, and he served as its first President. We all know that Interfilk raises funds to enable filkers to travel to filk cons where their repertoire is not well known, and they also hold remarkably entertaining auctions. But wait, there’s more! Interfilk has recently amended their bylaws so that they can fund grants for projects that benefit the filk community.


Bob was also the proprietor of Wail Songs. Beginning in the 1980s, when audio cassette tapes were a cutting-edge technology, Wail Songs published con anthology tapes for a wide variety of cons: Worldcon, Marcon, Westercon, NASFIC, Confusion, Congenial, and just about all the filk cons, including, of course, Consonance. Wail Songs also published several studio tapes, featuring Clif Flynt, Mary Ellen Wessels, and other fine performers. Over the years, Wail Songs published a total of 50 filk tapes.


Wail Songs also published songbooks. It co-published Stave the Wails, which collects many excellent filk songs of the 1980s, and the Julia Ecklar songbook Dreamer.


These accomplishments are some of the reasons why Bob was inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame in 1996.


We, too, are delighted to honor Bob Laurent, the founder of Consonance and Interfilk.