In Conversation with Caffe Lena's Sarah Craig

Sep 11, 2019

Caffè Lena, the folk music venue the Library of Congress named ‘An American Treasure,’ has hosted its share of legendary performers over the years including Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, Ani DiFranco, Sawyer Fredericks, Don McLean and countless more. This staple in the Saratoga Springs community - and the music community-at-large - celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2020. Ahead of this milestone, WMHT Public Media (PBS) will premiere Lena: A Life in Folk, the fascinating story of the Caffè’s founder and matriarch Lena Spencer.

After decades of trials, tribulations, evictions, losses, and near bankruptcy, Lena saw her inspired vision of a creative gathering place for her community become a reality with Caffè Lena. Her boundless passion and perseverance served as the driving force behind her renowned venue, now known as the longest-running coffeehouse in the country and a place where folk music continues to thrive after six decades.

In a conversation with Caffe Lena Executive Director Sarah Craig, Dave Michaels asks to take us back to her introduction and earliest memories of the Caffe, planning for the 60th anniversary in 2020 and much more.  

"Lena: A Life In Folk" premieres Thursday, September 19 at 8pm on WMHT-TV. Sponsored by Adirondack Trust Company and Saratoga Hospital.