Oly Old Time Festival

OLY ARTS provides a complete guide to The Oly Old Time Festival‘s ninth-annual event. In 2017, The Oly Old Time Festival takes place in three locations throughout Olympia, and plans to welcome nearly 1,000 attendees. Get all the details here, including:

old-time music

(ART: Paula McHugh, painting of Maybelle Carter)

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 >>

READ OLY ARTS Guide to Oly Old Time Festival 2017

Features on The Oly Old Time Festival

Uncle Wiggily

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).

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

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

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...

The Oly Old Time Festival

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...


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)

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

Gimme That Old-Time Music

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

Oly Old Time Festival Schedule

Concert and Dance Schedule Thursday Night Kick-off Dance (2/16) 7pm – 10pm...

Oly Old Time Locations

The Oly Old Time Festival is taking place in three locations around Olympia in 2017....

(image courtesy of The Oly Old Time Festival)