The first festival was held in May 1953, but was not recorded. Above are links to MP3 files of all the available recordings of the Florida Folk Festival.Originally recorded on reel to reels (later years were recorded on audio tapes and compact discs), the MP3 files can be accessed by clicking on the catalogue number for each recording (e.g., T77-1, etc.). Also, programs for each year's festival are available online (click on desired year to access program).
The first recordings were created in 1954 by curator of the Stephen Foster Memorial, Foster Barnes, after the success of the first festival in 1953. Barnes continued to record the festival for the next decade. Following his retirement in 1965, other memorial staff maintained the practice. As control of the festival shifted to the Florida Folklife Program in 1979 and the Florida Park Service in 2003, both agencies continued to record the performances. To date, nearly 3,500 of these festival recordings are housed within the Florida Folklife Collection. (The only year not represented is 2005.) Films and videos of the festival were also created; see S 1615 for more information on festival-related moving images.