The mission of Passim is to provide truly exceptional and interactive live musical experiences for both performers and audiences, to nurture artists at all stages of their career, and to build a vibrant music community. We do so through our legendary listening venue, music school, artist grants and outreach programs. As a nonprofit since 1994, Passim carries on the heritage of our predecessors—the historic Club 47 (1958-1968) and for-profit Passim (1969-1994). We cultivate a diverse mix of musical traditions, where the emphasis is on the relationship between performers and audience and teachers and students. Located in Harvard Square, Passim serves Cambridge and the broader region by featuring local, national and international artists. Our ultimate goal is to help the performance arts flourish and thereby enrich the lives of members of our community.
Passim has been a cornerstone of the arts community in New England, fostering both performers and audiences alike. Joan Baez and Bob Dylan received their start here, along with a host of others, including Tom Rush, Taj Mahal, Al Kooper, Peter Wolf, Patty Larkin, Bill Staines, Ellis Paul, and Suzanne Vega, to name but a few. Our Club has received numerous awards and recognitions, including Top 40 Live Music Venues in the United States (Paste Magazine), Best Small Folk Venue in the United States (International Folk Alliance, 2007) and Best Live Music Bar in Boston (Boston Globe, 2011).
Passim's programs include:
- Club Passim, an all-ages listening venue with live music 7 nights per week. In 2012, the Club put on 432 concerts for an audience of more than 33,000.
- The Passim School of Music, a music school for adults that offers classes, workshops in a variety of genres and instruments, including guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and harmonica. The school has expanded from 366 students in 2008 to more than 800 in 2012.
- The Iguana Music Fund, which provides seed grants to aspiring musicians in an effort to enhance their careers or aid their community outreach efforts. In 2012, 124 artists received a total of more than $40,000 in grants.
- BCMFest, which showcases Greater Boston's best performers of music, song and dance from the Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton and other Celtic traditions. Besides sponsoring a festival that features more than 100 performers of great variety, BCMFest organizes the monthly "Celtic Music Mondays." BCMFest also holds special events such as the Celtic Music Cruise and the Boston Urban Ceilidh.
- Outreach, in which Passim presents artists in the community. Each summer, in partnership with the Berklee College of Music, Passim Outreach presents free outdoor weekly concerts in Harvard Square. We also provide free concerts in Kendall Square. For years Passim has also provided a stage for the Harvard Square Business Association's Mayfair and Oktoberfest, which are each attended by more than 100,000 visitors.