Celtic & More
Asia Meets Appalachia
And Your Hosts
• A fun & friendly weekend of playing & hearing folk music
• Warm, welcoming, and fun
• Small workshop sizes for an intimate music camp
• 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
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.
Single and double rooms are available in the dorms at Juniata College.
Hotels, bed & breakfasts and camping are available nearby.
Information is available from the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau.
We have a meal plan through Juniata College's excellent dining services. They offer a number of options for each meal, both for meat eaters and vegetarians. The meal plan covers Friday supper, Saturday breakfast, lunch and supper, and Sunday breakfast and lunch.
There is a local Sheetz convenience store minutes from campus, as well as other dining options in the town of Huntingdon.
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!
Folk College is a project of Simple Gifts and the Huntingdon County Arts Council, supported in part by a grant from Pennsylvania Council of the Arts.
Mark your calendar for:
Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering
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.
Both festivals need volunteers. Full or partial scholarships are available in exchange for helping with the festivals. Please click the links above for details and how to apply.
Folk College is honored to be listed as one of the top 25 summer music camp by Acoustic Guitar Magazine.
“Folk College is a cut above any other music camp. The gift of Simple Gifts.” Sandy McCall
“This was my first time. I have had no musical training, so that was also a first. I LOVED IT. The instructors were patient, informative and fun. The concerts were way beyond what I expected. They were fabulous.” Susan Wilson
“Six years ago, Folk College completely rekindled my enthusiasm for music. Since then, I haven't missed a year, and I can't tell you how many tunes and songs I've learned, jams and classes I've participated in, and friends I've made.” Gordon Bonnet
“It's rare I get to combine the ultimate in self indulgence with such a sense of community, but at Folk College we are all students of the music and dance we love, sharing what we know and exploring new horizons. Life does not get much better.” Catherine Grigor
“I look forward to Folk College each year like a child looking forward to Christmas. It's music heaven!”
“Folk College was one of the most memorable and rewarding weekends of my life.”
“It gets better each year. Making music together in a welcoming, encouraging environment — what could be better? I've learned so much, in the workshops, in the jams, at lunch, everywhere!”
“I've been involved in various music camps, workshops, and conferences over the years, and none go as smoothly and with such a warm, loving sense of community as Folk College.”