• A fun & friendly weekend of playing & hearing folk music
• Warm, welcoming, and fun
• Pick up an instrument and rekindle your love of music
• Plenty to do for musicians of all levels
• Lots for non-musicians too
• Located on a beautiful college campus in the mountains of Pennsylvania
All attendees must present proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test (within 48 hours) and be masked during the festival. Note: COVID policy will be updated per CDC information.
Folk College was founded to help more people learn to play music together. It is a non-competitive environment where you can kindle—or rekindle—your love of playing through folk music. Each year the staff includes nationally known musicians and wonderfully nurturing teachers from a broad spectrum of folk styles. Within one weekend, you’ll have a choice of workshops ranging from old time to Celtic to blues to international, and you’ll get to sing, dance, play, and listen.
Many workshops, with subjects like “Learning to Jam,” “Tunes that are Cooler Than They are Hard,” and “How to Play by Ear” are designed to encourage musicians who have been “stuck in their living room,” haven't picked up their instrument since high school, or maybe just wanted to play an instrument but never dared!
From “Try a Banjo” and “Try a Fiddle” to “Beginning Harmonica” and “Beginning Jaw Harp” and “Fun & Easy Percussion,” there are workshops designed for the total non-musician in mind.
In addition to workshops geared toward beginners and non-musicians, there's plenty of interest for the intermediate and advanced musician. Folk College participants return year after year and many are teachers and performers in their own right. Whether you explore a new genre, take home a new concept, or jam with an erhu, musicians of all levels will discover many gems at Folk College.
The culmination of the weekend’s activities is the Student Bands Concert. You’ll choose from an eclectic list of options and be coached by a professional musician in that genre. Or if you're attending Folk College with your own band, you can request to be coached together. Most participants agree that the Student Band experience is what makes Folk College unique, and certainly an audience of your peers is one of the most appreciative you'll ever have!
Each evening features a staff concert followed by staff-led jam sessions that many people have said are the best jams they've attend all year. Saturday after the concert, there’s a contradance with an open band. And the finale on Sunday is the Student Bands Concert – so you’ll go home with a warm, fuzzy feeling.
So go ahead and browse these pages and be sure to check us out on Facebook. You'll get a sense of how people feel about Folk College, and you'll understand why they keep coming back. We hope you'll join us!
Mark your calendar for:
September 8-10, 2023
Our sister festival, Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering, is a weekend of music workshops, jamming, concerts and dancing at Greenwood Furnace State Park in Central Pennsylvania. Musicians of all levels as well as non-musicians who wish to listen, try an instrument or pick up a dance step or two, are invited to participate in workshops designed and led by professional instructors.
The Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering is organized by the same people that bring you Folk College. A special focus of the Folk Gathering is Pennsylvania's musical traditions, and each year we honor a Pennsylvania Heritage Musician to celebrate their contribution to the musical heritage of our state.