The William S. Trent Collection is a videotape recording, approximately two hours in length, which consists of three distinct sections. The first part is a recording of an outdoor "ballad swap" held at an unidentified location in Mars Hill, North Carolina, on October 1, 1988. Most of the performers and songs performed are unidentified; most of the singers performed a cappella, but a few accompanied themselves on guitar. The second part is a recording of Shelia Kay Adams singing and telling stories at an unidentified outdoor location (perhaps Mars Hill). Adams performed some songs a cappella but accompanied herself on guitar or banjo at other times. Nearly all the songs she performed are identified, including "Little Margaret," "Pretty Saro," "Jerusalem Mourn," and "Little Betty Ann." The final section is a recording of Frank Proffitt, Jr., performing at an unidentified indoor location. Proffitt sang a cappella or accompanied himself on fretless banjo or dulcimer, and he also performed instrumentals on the dulcimer. The songs he performed included "Tom Dooley," "Poor Ellen Smith," "Barbara Allen," and "Wildwood Flower."