IOCA Song Fest
These pages are dedicated to the IOCA Song Fest, collections of songs sung by the men and women of the Intercollegiate Outing Club Association, and to Dick and Beth Best, who helped make them available to the world.
"This is a collection of the songs sung by the fellows and girls in the various college outing clubs of the North East that comprise the Intercollegiate Outing Club Association. I.O.C.A. is the loose organization of these clubs, founded in 1932, to bring together students with a mutual interest in the out of doors. Since then, it has rapidly grown to its present size of about 40 member clubs" (As printed on the title page of the 1948 edition.)
Through the outing club traditions of square dancing and group singing, the collection started as a bundle of pages of music and lyrics collected by members of the outing clubs. The later, professionally published books were edited by Dick and Beth Best, active members of IOCA clubs in the association's early years. The books were published from the 1940's to the 1970's, by a number of publishers. Titles included "IOCA Song Fest", "Song Fest", "The New Song Fest", and "The New Song Fest Deluxe". Other collections such as "IOCA Barn Dance" may or may not be related.
As indicated on the cover of later edditions, the collection included a wide variety of folk songs and ballads, college songs, drinking songs, old favorites, parodies, cowboy songs, chanties, fiddle tunes, rounds, spirituals, etc. Many of the songs were either modified or given additional (often irreverent) verses to reflect the way they were sung by the college students at the time. While most of the songs are present in all editions and printings, there were some changes, especially in the early years (1940's) and in the last "deluxe" editions in the 1970's, when "30 popular favorites" were added to the book.
We are currently researching the history of the Song Fest collections, the books, and the people who created them. We know that many people out there would love to see it revived, and we hope to see that happen someday. For now, are putting what we know about them on these pages. For a list of the editions and printings we have identified, see the Timeline page. The Prefaces page provides some insight to the history of the books, and the People page has information on the folks involved. If you have a copy of the book, or other information about the Song Fest collections, we would love to hear about it. Please send it to Christiaan Adams at: