Folk College

May 24-26, 2024

More Info

Check Out All of the Different Activities at Folk College


There are over 70 staff-led workshops during the three days of Folk College. In addition, there are concerts, student bands, a contra dance, and many opportunities to jam in structured or unstructured settings.

For specific descriptions and schedules, please check the Schedule.

Workshops for Instrumentalists

Most of the workshops are for all instruments playing together. They are divided by level into beginner, advanced beginner, intermediate, and advanced, so you may pick ones that are appropriate for you. There are also workshops for specific instruments, but please don’t think that just because your instrument isn’t listed, the weekend isn’t for you. There’s plenty to do with mixed-instrument workshops and jams.

Workshops for Singers, Dancers, & Drummers

Each workshop slot has at least two choices for singers, dancers, or drummers, so there are plenty of workshops that don’t require any prior musical experience.

Try A New Instrument

To try something you’ve never played before, we have a number of workshops where instruments are provided. These are great both for non-musicians and for musicians who want to spend an hour getting a taste of something new.

Student Bands

A key part of the weekend is the Student Bands, where you’ll have a chance to work with a small group in a band setting. Each band will be coached by a professional staff member. Once you arrive, you’ll fill out a form indicating your interests, and then bands will be created by genre. Styles in past years have included old-time, Scottish, blues, bluegrass, jazz, contradance tunes, French Canadian, Klezmer, and many more. Most groups choose to perform in the Sunday afternoon Student Bands Concert, though there will also be an option to be in a non-performing band. We’ll also have a Beginners’ Band for a gently-paced group-playing experience. And if you’re coming to Folk College with your own band that wants to be coached together, just let us know.

Faculty Concerts

Faculty members perform on Friday and Saturday evenings, and these concerts have been truly amazing! Concert admission is included in the Folk College registration fee.

Additional tickets will be available for purchase at the door or in advance for the general public.


Contradance with Open Band

Saturday night after the faculty concert, we’ll hold a contradance with caller Bob Nicholson. All are welcome to dance, even if you’ve never tried it before, and all instrumentalists are welcome to play in the open band. Sheet music will be provided, and we’ll have an optional rehearsal earlier in the day.


Get a head start on the weekend by taking an intensive held just before the start of Folk College. These sessions require a separate registration fee and will be held from 10 am until 1 pm on Friday. Lunch will be provided following the class. Class size is limited, so reserve your spot early!

Jam Sessions

There’s nothing like a jam session for learning new tunes and sharing the joy of making music. Plenty of jamming (led by professional staff) is offered throughout the weekend, both during workshop slots and after the evening concerts. For those who haven’t had enough, we’ll also jam back at the dorm into the wee hours!

Hangin’ Out

If all of these activities aren’t enough for you, there’s always plenty of just plain hanging out with like-minded musicians and sharing some tunes.

Professional Development for Teachers

Act 48 credit is available for Pennsylvania school teachers.

Huntingdon and Raystown Lake

The Huntingdon area is part of the beautiful ridge and valley section of south-central Pennsylvania. Nearby is 8,000 acre Lake Raystown, a 30-mile-long lake that winds through a narrow valley and is the home of nesting Bald Eagles.

You can find more information about our area by visiting the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau.

Folk College is a Joint Project

Folk College is a joint project of Simple Gifts and the Huntingdon County Arts Council.

Simple Gifts performs and teaches workshops in a 10-state area and gives private lessons in State College and online.

For more information about Simple Gifts, see

The Huntingdon County Arts Council has been dedicated to to enrich Huntingdon County through the encouragement, support, and promotion of the arts. in Huntingdon County for over 50 years.

Visit the Arts Council at our new location: Huntingdon County Arts Center, 313 12th Street, Huntingdon, or at our website:

The Arts Council receives part of its revenue from grants, local governments, and the generosity of its members. Folk College, as many other Arts Council programs, relies on the dedication and hard work of many volunteers from within the organization and the folk music community in central Pennsylvania. We thank all contributors for their support.

The Huntingdon County Arts Council receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.