Folk Project Fall Festival
October 17-19, 1997, Northwestern New Jersey
By Ryan Thomson
This weekend is billed as having: "concerts, dances, pickup jams, and more." I attended
primarily for a couple of special workshops that I was interested in, and found myself also
enjoying many of the other activities. All events are of high quality since the organizers
bring in experienced performers and teachers in a wide variety of musical styles including:
song writing, French Canadian music, contra dancing, and more.
There is an emphasis on participatory workshops for those of all experience levels. They go
out of their way to encourage newcomers, and even make welcome non-dancers and non-
musicians. Families also attend, and I spent an enjoyable hour exchanging clogging steps
with some small children who seemed to learn at a faster rate than most of the adults! The
dancing was good, and I enjoyed several good music jams with other participants.
Lodging is dormitory style since the camp takes place at a well maintained YMCA camp.
Some folks also tented or slept in campers. The prepared food is simple fare, probably the
same camp food that the YMCA kids get. I was satisfied since it included fresh fruit and
vegetables. There were also tables of snack food set out periodically that included the
largest variety I've ever seen at any music and dance camp. I usually don't go on much
about food, but there were probably 25 different choices of cookies, pretzels, crackers,
bread, dips, spreads, etc.
There is a lake front and some people took advantage of water activities including boating.
The site was beautiful and good for music making and socializing. Visit their web site for
more information on Fall Festival and a number of other activities and camps throughout
Written by Ryan Thomson, 1997