Our Top 6 Summer Hammered Dulcimer Festivals  

May 4, 2022

Evart music festival

By Nicolette Foss

Are you ready to get out of your COVID bubble this year? Come out and visit one of the many hammered dulcimer festivals this summer! Advance your hammered dulcimer skills by attending workshops and jamming along with old and new friends.

There are two types of festivals now, thanks to the pandemic. So if you aren’t ready to leave your house, you can still attend virtual festivals. No one is left behind!

We picked our six favorite hammered dulcimer summer festivals. Of course, that’s not all, there are a ton across the nation, as well as spread out throughout the year. Come check out these six if you’re in the area! A good time is guaranteed!

6 Hammered Dulcimer Music Festivals to Attend This Summer

Here are our favorite hammered dulcimer festivals coming up this summer, ordered chronologically:

1. QuaranTUNE 7.0

Great dulcimer festival for learning in the comfort of your own home!

quarantune dulcimer festival

  • Where: VIRTUAL FESTIVAL on Zoom
  • When:  June 2-5, 2022
  • Admission: The price per workshop is $10. Workshops will be offered a la carte and your $10 will go directly to the instructor.

If you are lamenting the fact that you live in the middle of nowhere with no nearby festivals, join an online festival! At QuaranTUNE in June, check out live concerts, as well as workshops on Friday and Saturday. 

Workshop schedules will be made available shortly before registration opens on May 7th! Each workshop is limited to 30 people, and they fill up fast. 

Buy a t-shirt to support the festival!

For more info, check out Virtualdulcimerfest.com

2. Gebhard Woods Dulcimer and Traditional Music Festival

Our recommendation for outdoor small town festival

gebhard music festival

  • When: June 11-12, 2022 9 AM-6 PM
  • Where: Morris, Illinois
  • Admission: $10 per day per adult over 18 (suggested donation)
  • Lodging: There is an abundance of campgrounds and hotel lodging in the area
  • Grub: Boy Scouts (hot dogs, burgers) and Kool Kat Ice Cream will be food vendors. 

Gebhard Woods is a small dulcimer festival put on by the Hammers and Noters Dulcimer Society (HANDS) of Illinois since 1988. The festival features the hammered dulcimer and mountain dulcimer, as well as other traditional instruments. 

There will be all-day entertainment from performers like Colin Beasley, Dona Benkert, Bill Robinson, Katie Mortiz, Diane Ippel, and Tina Bergmann. 

gebhard woods festival

Festival workshops are offered hourly and do not cost anything extra. The workshop schedule for this year should be released sometime soon, with more than 70 workshops are on the menu! Also, get some exercise and have some laughs at the Old-Time Dance on June 11!

There will be a staffed children’s area for kids 3 years and older. Activities like crafts and music will keep the kids occupied and having a good ol’ time. So bring the kiddos!

The festival is outside under tents and pop-ups, so it should still go on come rain or shine.

Gain some experience performing at the new talent stage. There is also a fantastic raffle with musical instruments, accessories, or whatever anybody contributes. This is how the festival is funded and is big. We will be contributing a Finch Chromatic hammered dulcimer.

We will be there vending this year. Stop in and say hi! 

For more info, check out Gebharddulcimer.org

3. Kentucky Music Week

Our recommendation for intensive learning of the dulcimer

kentucky music week class

  • Where: Bardstown, Kentucky
  • When: June 19-24, 2022
  • Admission: Full week adult or teen: $260-$315 (one to five sessions), Kids camp full week: $150, Accompanying non-participant: $50
  • Lodging: Camping (My Old Kentucky Home State Park and White Acres Campground) and a variety of motels in the area. 
  • Grub: The lunch packet is $55. Lunches will be catered each day for those that want to purchase the lunch plan; you can purchase items from the concession stand; area restaurants are a short drive away or bring your own to the school.

Classes take place at North Bullitt High School (approximately 30 minutes from Bardstown), while concerts and jams take place at varying motels and campgrounds in Bardstown. There will be a Mardi Gras lunchtime parade and a finale night party on Friday. 

There are over 150 classes available this year! For hammered dulcimer classes, we have teachers Rick Thum, Karen Ashbrook, Ken Kolodner, Ilace Mears, Anne Lough, Jim Miller, Jess Dickinson, Katie Moritz, Phyllis Brown, Mary Lynn Michal, Mark Alan Wade, and Tina Bergmann. There are also fun classes like music theory, tai chi warm-ups, visual art, clogging, leatherwork, dance, and basketry. 

kentucky music week

There will be open stage opportunities for participants, bonus afternoon workshops, lots of jams, an opportunity to visit area attractions, an old-time cakewalk, a general store, and a campground jam. There is instrument rental if you decide to pick up a new instrument or rent a hammered dulcimer, just $25 for the week. 

Kids camp includes a variety of fun activities like learning mountain dulcimer, ukelele, singing folk songs, baskets, puzzles, games, and outside playtime.

The organizers ask that everyone is vaccinated or have a recent Covid negative test. A mask mandate is in place. 

For more info, check out Kentuckymusicweek.com

4. Original Dulcimer Players Club Funfest

Biggest hammered dulcimer festival

evart performance

  • When: July 14-16, 2022
  • Where: Evart, Michigan
  • Admission: $7 per day or $15 for a full festival pass 
  • Lodging: Full RV and primitive camping available on a first-come-first-served basis. Hotels 30 miles away. 
  • Grub: Food and beverage vendors on-site

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. 

evart jam

Stage shows will be performed every evening. You will see the likes of Mark Alan Wade, The Lady Victoria, Brett Ridgeway, Rick Thum, and many more!

The workshop schedule will be released soon, but they have over 200 classes every year so there will be plenty to choose from.

RV camping is $20 a night and $17 a night for primitive camping. To request a camping spot, you must contact the Osceola County Fairgrounds office at (231) 734-5481. 

We will be hanging out at Evart this year and vending. Stop by and try out our electric hammered dulcimers! 

For more info, check out Evartdulcimerfest.org  

5. Gateway Dulcimer Festival

Get out of the summer heat at this indoor St. Louis area festival

gateway music festival

  • When: August 5-7, 2022
  • Where: Fairview Heights, Illinois
  • Admission: Participant both days: $130 (non-participant $60), Participant one day: $65 (non-participant $30). Children 12 & under both day: $50, one day: $25. Tickets for concert only: $10/evening
  • Lodging: Book a room at the Sheraton, special rate if you book before July 7
  • Grub: Lunch buffet on Friday and Saturday included if you register before July 18gateway music festival

An indoor festival at the Sheraton Conference Center. There will be workshops all day on Friday and Saturday as well as evening concerts. Also featuring vendors, raffles, and of course jamming! Stay for the Sunday hymn sing. 

To register, fill out the registration and send it off to Sharon Hargus before July 18. Participants are paying for 8 workshops, 2 concerts, jams, and a lunch buffet on Friday and Saturday. Non-participants can do all of that except go to workshops. After July 18, lunches will not be included, though you can still register on-site.

All acoustic instruments are welcome. Hammered dulcimer classes are available for beginning, intermediate, and advanced players. Hammered dulcimer teachers this year will be Pam Bowman, Ilace Mears, and Rick Thum, all three of whom will also be performing. 

A nice small festival put on by dedicated people!

For more info, check out Gatewaydulcimer.org

6. Walnut Valley Festival

Biggest and most eclectic bluegrass/folk music festival

walnut valley festival

  • Where: Winfield, Kansas
  • When: September 14-18, 2022  9AM‑12:30AM
  • Admission: $20-$100 if you buy before September 9, after that the full festival is $125. 
  • Lodging: $15 per night for basic camping, $27 per night for camping with electricity. There are other camping alternatives in the area, as well as motels and bed & breakfasts. 
  • Grub: Over 20 food concessions and Farmers Market on the grounds.walnut valley festival concessions

This is the 50th Annual Walnut Valley Festival! Although it is more of a general bluegrass festival than a dulcimer festival. It also features genres like 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. 

Winfield is the home of the National Hammered Dulcimer Championships. Only 40 hammered dulcimers players may compete, so sign up quickly and be there when your name is called! Other contests include mountain dulcimer, autoharp, mandolin, banjo, fingerstyle guitar, and flat-pick guitar. There is a $15 entry fee for all instrument championships. Cash, trophies, and instrument prizes are awarded to the winners. First, second, and third prizes for the hammered dulcimer contest are the choice of a Songbird, Rick Thum, or Masterworks hammered dulcimer.

There are four stages this year. Entertainers include Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, Socks in the Frying Pan, Chris & the Night Drivers, The Steel Wheels, Mark Alan Wade, Bing Futch, and so many more! 

There will be workshops, although they have yet to be announced. For hammered dulcimers, there are typically limited teaching events at the beginning of the festival. 

There are children’s events, so definitely bring ‘em along! There will also be an arts and crafts show with talented artists, crafters, and luthiers coming from over 20 states. 

For campers, there are showers ($5), golf cart rentals, shuttle services, ice, portable toilets, firewood, massage services, wifi cafe, and charging stations. Creative campsites will be awarded prizes of merchandise, hats, posters, and buckles for First, Second, and Third Prizes. 

We will be there in the vending building and will be contributing a really good hammered dulcimer for one of the contest prizes. Stop by and say hi!

For more info, check out Wvfest.com

Or Check Out These Other Summer Music Festivals

Other awesome hammered dulcimer festivals to attend this summer: 

For other yearly festivals, check out our Helpful Links page, or Dulcimer Player’s News Music Festival Directory (this page includes mountain dulcimer festivals).  

Will you be coming out this summer? Let us know in the comments your favorite hammered dulcimer festival, or if we forgot to mention any upcoming fest. We hope to be seeing you this summer!

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: nicolettelady@protonmail.com

Image credits: stage 5  ShintonCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 

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