A glance at any SE Michigan area map will reveal that there are no signs of an East River to be found. The origin of our name is thus: What we today know as the East River Folk Society started out with a small group of friends at Grosse Ile's 1989 Azalea Festival. Sharing their love of acoustic music, the group began to hold semi-regular musical sessions at various recreation centers on the Island. Eventually, the site of the meetings was shifted to Grosse Ile's St. James Episcopal Church.
During this time, as word of the group spread to the surrounding communities, the turnout of musicians began to swell and soon there were players of an impressive variety of acoustic instruments: 6 and 12-string guitars, banjo, mandolin, harp, fiddle, autoharp, dulcimer, harmonica and various woodwinds. As the group continued to grow beyond its initial nucleus, it became apparent that a more formal and structured organizational backbone was necessary to prevent the inevitable disorganization and chaos which can ensue in such a casual setting. Officers were selected and the East River Folk Society was incorporated as a non-profit organization, chartered to celebrate and perpetuate acoustic music. The "East River" in our name was derived from the street - East River Road - on which its host site was located.
Continued growth of the ranks of both formal members and nonmember audience participants resulted in another change of venue in the early 1990's, when the Society relocated to its present host-site, the First Presbyterian Church of Wyandotte - located at 2250 Oak (at 23rd; just east of Fort Street) .