March 16, 2023
By Nicolette Foss
Attending a music festival is some of the most fun you can have with your hammered dulcimer. And not only will you get to jam out and meet more people on the music scene, but you’ll also be able to attend workshops to improve your playing skills.
Many of these festivals include concerts, vendors, lodging, and meals. Find one near you and make it a weekend getaway! You’ll be glad you did.
Check out these hammered dulcimer festivals across the US (and UK) this spring and summer! Represented in yellow are the hammered dulcimer festivals.
Ohio Valley Gathering
The festival features over 50 hours of classes for the hammered and mountain dulcimer, penny whistle, ukulele, banjo, banjammer, guitar, mandolin, folk percussion, bowed psaltery, and washtub bass.
- When: March 24-26, 2023
- Where: Clarksville, Indiana
- Admission: $15.00 per person (children 18 and under $10.00)
- Lodging: Radisson Hotel Louisville North
For more info, check out: Ohiovalleygathering.com
Sandbridge Hammered Dulcimer Retreat
This is a hammered dulcimer retreat taking place at a beautiful ocean-front location.
- When: March 26-April 15, 2023, September 24-30, 2023, October 1-14, 2023
- Where: Virginia Beach, Virginia or Zoom
- Admission: $785-$1,550 (see below)
- Lodging: Sandbridge coastal community ocean-front beach houses
The dates for Sandbridge are dedicated to varying skill levels:
March 26-April 1, 2023: Sandbridge “Relaxed” Week! For first-timers to Sandbridge and those who would like a more relaxed pace.
April 2-8, 2023: Spring Week for intermediate/advanced
April 9-15, 2023 Exact Masterclass and Fiddle Retreat dates to come
Sep 24-30, 2023: Intermediate
Oct 1-7, 2023: Intermediate/advanced
Oct 8-14, 2023: Advanced only
For the fall 2023 dates, prices are: Zoom fee is $785, the in-person retreat is $1550 for a private room, and $1140 to share with another participant. For the fall, deposits for in-person spots are due: ($400/$500) are due April 30; Full payment by June 15.
For more information, check out: https://www.sandbridgedulcimer.com/
Buckeye Dulcimer Festival
This festival features intensive classes for the Autoharp, Clawhammer Banjo, Hammered Dulcimer, Mountain Dulcimer, and Band-it (multi-instrument class – beyond beginner players)! Some classes can be attended VIA ZOOM.
- When: April 19-23, 2023
- Where: Ashley, Ohio or Zoom
- Admission: $120-$450
- Lodging: Recreation Unlimited residence hall dorms or Greif House (semi-private pods) or local motels
For more information, check out: buckeyedulcimerfestival.com
At this festival, hammered dulcimer workshops are available for beginner, intermediate, and advanced players. There are also hammered and mountain dulcimer contests, evening concerts, and access to the Craft Village.
- When: April 27-29, 2023
- Where: Mountain View, Arkansas
- Admission: Registration for the 3-day event is $158.50
- Lodging: Cabins at Dry Creek (On-site lodging fills up fast)
For more information, check out: ozarkfolkcenter.ticketleap.com
Southern Appalachian Dulcimer Festival
This festival is in a state park and features jams, a shrimp boil, performances, a potluck supper, and a Sunday morning church service. Mountain dulcimers are the most popular instrument but they also welcome hammered dulcimers, guitars, and other acoustic stringed instruments.
- When: April 30-May 7, 2023
- Where: McCalla, Alabama
- Admission: Free but SADA dues are $20 per year per family, which funds the festival
- Lodging: Tannehill state park campground
For more information, check out: https://sdulcimer.wordpress.com/
Colorado Dulcimer Festival
This festival includes hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, guitar, and bodhran instructional workshops for all levels of players. There are also evening concerts, jam sessions, and a Song Circle where individuals or groups can perform.
- When: May 4-6, 2023
- Where: Littleton, Colorado
- Admission: $40-$140 (see below)
- Lodging: Comfort Suites Lakewood will have discounted fees for attendees
Early Bird: $110 for both days (closes March 31)
Advance: $130 for both days
At the door: $140 for both days
1 day only (either day): $70
1 Festival workshop only: $40
For more information, check out: https://www.coloradodulcimerfestival.com/
Winston-Salem Dulcimer Festival
This year Winston-Salem Dulcimer Festival will include classes for hammered, mountain, and bowed dulcimers. There will be live jamming and on-site vendors.
- When: May 6, 2023
- Where: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
- Admission: $15 per class plus a $10 registration fee
- Lodging: This is a one-day festival
For more information, check out: winstonsalemdulcimerfestival.com
Lone Star State Dulcimer Festival
Features a series of concerts of nationally known performers, workshops, arts and crafts fair, ol’ fashioned square dance, gospel music, and the Texas Death Match Band Contest. The festival will be hosting the Lone Star State Mountain Dulcimer Championship and the Lone Star State Hammered Dulcimer Championship, both sanctioned by the Walnut Valley Association in Winfield, Kan.
- When: May 11-13, 2023
- Where: Glen Rose, Texas
- Admission: Free
- Lodging: Oakdale Park campground
For more information, check out: lssds.com
Hammer Dulcimer Rendezvous
The event features workshops for hammer dulcimer players at all skill levels from beginning to advanced, as well as instructor concerts, panel discussions, jam sessions, an open mic concert, a chance to buy recorded music, instructional books, and musical items from the instructors’ tables of wares, and a raffle of items donated by participants.
- When: May 18-21, 2023
- Where: Sandy, Oregon
- Lodging: Hull Park dorm rooms, on-site camping, nearby hotels
For more information, check out: http://nwdulcimer.com/
Dulcimers at Halsway
If you happen to be in the UK, we’ve got a fun one for you. This is a workshop week offering practical guidance on playing the dulcimer and includes time for socializing, jams, and informal concerts.
- When: May 22-26, 2023
- Where: Crowcombe, Somerset, United Kingdom
- Admission: £225-£400 (see below)
- Lodging: Halsway Manor or camping
Full board per person (tuition, activities, all meals & accommodation):
£400– single ensuite room
£365– sharing an ensuite room
£365– single non-ensuite room
£330 – sharing non-ensuite room
Camping per person (tuition, activities, all meals): £240
Non-Resident (tuition, activities, all meals except breakfast): £225
For more information, check out: https://halswaymanor.org.uk/event/dulcimers-at-halsway-2023/
QuaranTUNE Dulcimer Festival 10.0
QuaranTUNE Virtual Dulcimer Fest was established in an effort to provide relief and connection for musicians during the lockdown of early 2020. It now continues to host live-streamed events online. Workshops, concerts, and jams are affordable and available to anyone, anywhere in the world.
- When: June 1-4, 2023
- Where: Anywhere! It’s virtual!
For more information, check out: virtualdulcimerfest.com
Gebhard Woods Dulcimer & Traditional Music Festival
The festival provides all-day entertainment at concerts and unlimited instruction from nationally recognized musicians.
- When: June 10-11, 2023
- Where: Morris, Illinois
- Admission: Suggested gate donation is $10 per day per adult over 18
- Lodging: Camping and nearby hotels
For more information, check out: gebharddulcimer.org
Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamps
Enjoy four daily instructor-hosted jams, evening Open Mic, Kamp Koncerts, and student jams. Bring your guitar, bass, old-time and bluegrass fiddle, Dobro ™, old-time and bluegrass banjo, hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, or mandolin!
- When: Old Time and Traditional Week, June 11-17, 2023 and Bluegrass Week, June 18-24, 2023
- Where: Maryville, Tennessee
- Admission: $1075 (includes all classes, concerts, workshops, lifetime friendships, meals, and Maryville College dorm-style housing for 6 nights)
- Lodging: Maryville College or area hotels and campgrounds
For more information, check out: https://www.flatpik.com/steve-kaufmans-acoustic-kamp-overview
Kentucky Music Week
Kentucky Music Week offers a full five days of instruction in a wide variety of traditional arts including all levels of fretted dulcimer and hammered dulcimer, classes in ukulele, guitar, banjo, fiddle, autoharp, pennywhistle, vocal classes, old-time craft classes, and much, much more!
Week-long evening activities include concerts by instructors, open stage opportunities for participants, bonus afternoon workshops, lots of jams, an opportunity to visit area attractions, campground jam, a Mardi Gras Party, and Finale Jam!
- When: June 25-30, 2023
- Where: Shepherdsville, Kentucky
- Admission: $150-$350 (see below)
- Lodging: Local hotels (specific ones will have discounts)
Full week adult or teen, any three to five sessions: $350
Full week adult or teen, any one or two sessions: $295
Full week child, Kids Camp: $150
For more information, check out: kentuckymusicweek.com
Ozark Roots Hammered Dulcimer Festival
Join veteran hammered dulcimer instructor Linda Thomas for her fourth year teaching an all-level hammered dulcimer workshop in the beautiful mountain town of Mountain View, Arkansas. This workshop is for all levels and both readers and ear learners.
Enjoy some great jams, concerts, and other events going on around town as well.
- When: July 13-15, 2023
- Where: Mountain View, Arkansas
- Admission: $139 for early bird registration before May 1, then $159 after that
For more information, check out: http://mvmeetingplace.com/hammered-dulcimer-2
Original Dulcimer Players Club FunFest
ODPC Funfest is the “granddaddy” of hammered dulcimer festivals and has morphed into a festival for more instruments over the years. ODPC Funfest has been going strong since 1974 and typically amasses 5,000-7,000 attendees.
- When: July 13-16, 2023
- Where: Evart, Michigan
- Admission: $10 per day or $20 for a full festival pass
- Lodging: Camping or nearby hotels
For more information, check out: evartdulcimerfest.org
Gateway Dulcimer Festival
This indoor festival invites you out of the summer heat and to mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, autoharp, and ukelele workshops. Enjoy evening concerts, vendors, raffles, jamming, and Sunday morning hymn singing!
- When: August 4-6, 2023
- Where: Fairview Heights, Illinois
- Admission: $35-$160 (see below)
- Lodging: Four Points by Sheraton St. Louis – Fairview Heights
Participant both days: $160
Participant one day: $80
Non-participant both days: $70
Non-participant one day: $35
For more information, check out: Gatewaydulcimer.org
Redwood Dulcimer Day
Now in its 23rd year, this annual event offers beginning to advanced music workshops on playing both the mountain dulcimer and hammered dulcimer. Redwood Dulcimer Day offers a low-pressure, low-stress environment where everyone can relax and have fun playing and learning about the dulcimer and just making music.
- When: August 18-19, 2023
- Where: Anywhere! It’s virtual!
- Admission: $60 for the Saturday workshops, $15 for the Friday concert, or $70 for both.
For more information, check out: https://www.communitymusicschool.org/dulcimer-day
Upper Potomac Fall Dulcimer Retreat
This in-person retreat features workshops, classes, concerts, and jam sessions for hammered dulcimer and mixed instruments with special guest instructors. We encourage you to sign up for the full weekend to help the retreat pay for its expenses!
- When: September 8-10, 2023
- Where: Shepherdstown, West Virginia or Zoom virtual classes
- Admission: $20-$120 (see below)
- Lodging: Check back to their website for more updates
Full weekend: $120 for all events including evening concerts, sessions, and 10 hours of instruction in classes and workshops
Saturday Only: $65 for 3 classes and both concerts.
Sunday Only: $50 for 2 classes and the concerts.
A La Carte: Sign up for classes a la carte and pay a $10 registration fee and $20 per class for 90-minute zoom classes, and $10 for shorter mini-classes.
For more information, check out: https://www.upperpotomacmusic.info/spring-music-weekend
Walnut Valley Festival
This epic festival may be in its final year, so we encourage everyone to come out and show support! The Walnut Valley Festival features many genres of music including bluegrass, folk, Americana, old-time country, a little bit cowboy, Celtic, blues, jazz, swing, and more. Bluegrass music played is both traditional and progressive. This is a huge festival with typically 10,000 attendees and is the home of the National Hammered Dulcimer Championships.
- When: September 13-17, 2023
- Where: Winfield, Kansas
- Admission: $80-$125
- Lodging: On-site camping
Full Festival (Five Days) – $125
Two Days (Friday & Saturday)* – $110
Two Days (Saturday & Sunday)* – $100
Friday Only** – $80
Saturday Only** – $80
For more information, check out: https://www.wvfest.com/
Memories to Last a Lifetime
As you can see, there are tons of opportunities to explore the music world. We know from experience that attending a hammered dulcimer festival will leave you with a whole new group of friends that are like family, knowledge that will drastically improve your playing, and of course memories to last a lifetime!
We hope to see you at a festival this year! We will be vending at Gebhard Woods, ODPC FunFest, Walnut Valley, and the Iowa State Fair. Stop in and say hello!
Did we miss any? Please leave us a comment if we’ve forgotten any spring/summer hammered dulcimer festivals.
About the author: In her childhood, Nicolette Foss could be found underneath piles of sawdust in her father’s hammered dulcimer workshop. She helped with odds and ends in the business, attended folk music festivals, and learned the importance of hard work. These days, you can find her belly dancing to instrumental Arabic music, learning the Serbian language, making short films with friends, and cuddling her cat Georgie. If you’d like to hire Nicolette for content writing or copywriting work, contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org