Oly Old Time Festival

Welcome to 10 years of Oly Old Time!
OLY ARTS provides a complete guide to The Oly Old Time Festival‘s tenth-annual event! In 2018, The Oly Old Time Festival takes place in three locations throughout Olympia, and plans to welcome nearly 1,000 attendees. This year, the Oly Old Time Festival runs Feb. 15-18 with venues at South Sound Grange and in two locations in downtown Olympia — First Christian Church and Arbutus Folk School. Get all the details here, including:

READ OLY ARTS Guide to Oly Old Time Festival 2018

Workshop and Concert Schedule here

A short history, as told to OLY ARTS by The Oly Old Time Festival founders

In 2008, a group of people who enjoyed old-time music—music played with fiddle, banjo and other traditional stringband instruments—began jamming in Olympia homes. At one of the monthly jams, the idea for a local, winter festival was born. The first festival was largely organized by Carolyn Arnold, Billie Burlock, Ardas Hassler, Laura Hurson, Mischa Moren, Callie Jan Mills, Erik Neatherlin, T-Claw and Emily Teachout. The early team also had input from Vince Brown, John Flory, Anthea Lawrence and Ray Leach.

The originators of The Oly Old Time Festival knew many great musicians and square-dance callers. A limited schedule of eight workshops took place at The Evergreen State College. Dancers packed the floor into the wee hours, and there was jamming in every corner. The jamming went on literally all night long. The founders knew they’d created something special and would want to make it an annual event.

Within the first five years, the festival team was able to bring in featured performers from the East Coast and Appalachian-Mountain states. The current planning committee is now a subcommittee of the Arbutus Folk School board of directors and is composed of Julie Bennett, Jerome Cox, Jerrod Davis, Juli Kelen, Tom Murrett, Erik Neatherlin, Jesse Partridge, Shanty Slater and Emily Teachout.

The festival is dedicated to learning, teaching and sharing traditional, old-time music and dance. It’s supported by individual and business sponsorships as well as ticket sales. The event draws an audience from as far away as Alaska, California, Idaho, Utah and British Columbia. The festival’s program of free workshops keeps old-time music and dance accessible, inviting and thriving.

READ a longer comprehensive history of THE OLY OLD TIME FESTIVAL here >>

Features on The Oly Old Time Festival

Old Time Festival: Sabra Guzmán Returns to Her Old Time Roots

by Karen Lunde for OLY ARTS Old-time music is perhaps the oldest form of North American...

Winter 2018 Issue

2018: Oly Old Time Festival Schedule

Concerts, Shows, and DancesSouth Bay Grange​ Thursday Night Kick-off Dance (2/15)...

Old Time Festival: Brograss

by Adam McKinney and Tom Simpson for OLY ARTS Our music has a grand tradition of passing...

Old Time Festival: Hawk Proof Rooster

by Adam McKinney for OLY ARTS Old-time string music, with origins dating back to the late...

Old Time Festival: Spencer & Rains

by Adam McKinney for OLY ARTS When we talk about old-time music, there’s an...

Old Time Festival: Riley Baugus with Clawhammer Banjo and Appalachian Song

by Alec Clayton for OLY ARTS Banjo player and singer Riley Baugus will perform with Sabra...

Oly Old Time Festival: Locations

The Oly Old Time Festival is taking place in three locations around Olympia in 2018....

Old Time Festival: High Waisted Ramblers

by Tom Simpson for OLY ARTS The Oly Old Time Festival is not only a musical showcase for...

Uncle Wiggily

2017: Uncle Wiggily at The Oly Old Time Festival

by Jonah Barrett for OLY ARTS The Oly Old Time festivities on Saturday will include a...

The Bow Weevils are: top row left to right, Hatcher Cox, Ellie Davis, Rizley Cox; bottom row left to right, Ruby Neatherlin and Annie Davis (photo credit: Emily Teachout).

2017: The Bow Weevils at The Oly Old Time Festival

by Kelli Samson for OLY ARTS Olympia’s Bow Weevils are returning to The Oly Old Time...

The Canote Brothers

2017: The Canote Brothers at The Oly Old Time Festival

by Adam McKinney for OLY ARTS Music history is lined with family bands, with qualities...

Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle

2017: Anna and Elizabeth at The Oly Old Time Festival

by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS When they perform at The Oly Old Time Festival, Anna...

Winter 2018 Issue

A Complete History of The Oly Old Time Festival

A longer history, as told to OLY ARTS by festival founders In 2008, a group of people...


2017: Touloulou at The Oly Old Time Festival

by Alec Clayton for OLY ARTS Seattle-based Cajun band Touloulou will play for late-night...

The REDS (River, Eros, Dante and Sage)

2017: The REDS at The Oly Old Time Festival

by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS There’s nothing quite as Pacific Northwestern as...

old-time music

2017: Gimme That Old-Time Music

by Adam McKinney for OLY ARTS (Featured ART: Maybelle Carter by Paula McHugh) As an art...


Old Old Time Festival

(image courtesy of The Oly Old Time Festival)