Caravan

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Caravan
Caravan

Caravan was a fanzine devoted to folk music published by Lee Hoffman in New York, U.S.A.

With encouragement from friends, folk music fan Lee Hoffman began publishing Caravan in the 1950's, possibly the first fanzine devoted to music. As folk musician Dave Van Ronk, one of the co-creators of The Bosses' Songbook, writes in his autobiography, The Mayor of MacDougal Street, "At that point, there was a great deal of overlap between folk fans, the fringe left, and the sci-fi crowd - all three offered new, interesting ways of looking at the world and a chance to mingle with like-minded souls who were equally frustrated with the monochrome oppressiveness of Eisenhower America."

Van Ronk wrote a column under the penname "Blind Rafferty", and English fan John Brunner contributed a column of folk music news from the UK. Other writers included Harlan Ellison (Science Fantasy Bulletin), Barry Kornfeld, and Dick Weissman.

The first issue of one hundred copies were mimeographed and hand assembled, which were distributed by Lee for free in Washington Square Park. After people started dropping in to The Folklore Center looking for copies, owner Izzy Young asked Lee to let him put Caravan on his counter for sale and the zine took off. Caravan was the first fanzine devoted to music, and one of only two publications being published that were devoted to folk music, the other being Sing Out!, a newsstand magazine.

Eventually Caravan grew to include articles, columns, letters, reviews, news of coming events and a page of brief "Social Notes From All Over", which consisted mostly of the goings-on of the Washington Square crowd. Roger Abraham was the record review editor and Kenneth Goldstein was book review editor. Aaron Rennert and Ray Sullivan contributed photographs, which were featured on the covers of later issues. Roger Lass and Barry Kornfeld served as assistant editors. Caravan's circulation grew to 2,000 copies an issue, and the only way to keep it going was to have it printed professionally. At this point Hoffman began taking on advertisers to offset the costs of running the zine.

After a few more issues Hoffman decided it was becoming more work than fun so she sold the zine to Billy Faier. Writers for Faier's Caravan included Archie Green, Fred Hoeptner, MacEdward Leach, and Izzy Young. Issue # 20, appearing in July 1960, was the last to be published.

Lee Hoffan started over again with another small mimeographed fanzine called Gardyloo, named after the traditional cry of warning before one dumped a bucket of slops out of an upstairs window.


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