40 Years of Hog History
In the spring of 1978, several folk enthusiasts began talking about possible outlets for folk music beyond their living rooms and record players. In particular, they wondered about finding a location which would be permanent and open to the public, a place where folks could go to hear or play folk music even if they did not know anyone in town.
Kiosks and store fronts were postered around town to find other interested people. The consensus at the early meetings was that the place should be a coffeehouse. Excited discussions led to how the coffeehouse would be organized, as a commercial entity or a non-profit cooperative.
Later meetings led to our incorporation as a non-profit, non-stock organization and also to organize as a cooperative. With Madison’s strong cooperative community and with a healthy concern against ‘going in over our heads’ as a commercial venture, we determined that a cooperative would be the way to go, the safest economically, and the fairest socially.
A friendly relationship with the Green Lantern Eating Cooperative allowed us to rent cheap space on Thursday and Friday evenings (Saturday was movie night at the Latern), enabling the Hog to survive and develop our coffeehouse without too much worry about overhead.
It’s been determined over and over again that a broad base of ideas and personal support is important for the operation and long life of the Wild Hog as a cooperative
The Wild Hog in the Woods name is taken from an old (not too widely known) English folk fiddle tune/song of the same name. A tune by that name has been recorded by numerous artists among them are: Fuzzy Mountain String Band, Dan Gellert and Shoofly, Kimble Family, Taylor Kimble, Michael Kline, Pine River Boys & Maybelle, and Nimrod Workman. There are related tunes by the name of "Bangum" and "Old Bangum", and is probably an adaptation of the tune used in the Appalachians for the ballad "Bangum and the Boar". One legend has it that the name for the WIld Hog in the Woods Coffeehouse was a compromise reached after an evening of discussion among the founders with a little beer being consumed along the way.
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An anonymous well-wisher mimeographed the words of this traditional song to help celebrate the Wild Hog's first birthday in 1979.
There is a wild hog in the woods (Diddle all down now, diddle
all the day)