French Creek Music Retreat2014

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September 16-18, 2016 (Check back for updates)

We had a wonderful weekend of jams and workshops in 2015! Check back in summer 2016 for festival updates.

Philadelphia Area Traditional Music and Dance (PATMAD) is sponsoring an annual acoustic folk music weekend at French Creek state park near Elverson, PA. The park is about an hour from Philly. French Creek Music Retreat is a resurrection of a family folk music festival of old.

We meet in Group Camp 1, which has a large lodge and cabins available that sleep 2 or 4. The camp is reserved for the weekend of Sept. 18-20, 2015 for this event that focuses on acoustic instrumentalists and singers. We can have some great jams with workshops throughout the day and a dance in the evening! The registration fee includes a bed in a 2 or 4 person rustic cabin (See photo at right) with old metal bed frames (See photo bottom of page). An air mattress or foam pad, good flashlight, and bug spray are recommended.

This event begins at 5:00 Friday evening, and we need to be cleaned up and out of the lodge by noon on Sunday. There will be a pot luck dinner on Saturday night and continental breakfasts on Sat. and Sun. mornings (bring your own dishes & utensils). Please enough food for yourself (and family) and extra to share. Please bring your own folding chairs for outdoor jams and workshops.

There will be a pick up band for the dance, jam sessions, and workshops (see schedule below). You can go hiking, boating, playing frisbee golf, badminton, enjoy campfire circles, etc.  You can become friends on facebook to see photos of the camp at

For the kids, there will be face painting and their own rhythm band.


The cost is only $25 per person for this all-volunteer weekend, Saturday only is $15, Saturday- Sunday is $20, and Friday only is $5.00 (children 17 and under are free). Everyone will be assigned a small job to help run the camp smoothly.

On Friday night there will be a $5 spaghetti dinner. Please indicate your interest on the registration form.

Click HERE to register!

French Creek


Schedule 2015 so far


Staff Cabin or Picnic Tables

Porch/Fire Circle

Unit 3 cabin or alternate*/outdoors


Arrival, Supper,       ~5:00
Open Jam       7:00
Clogging workshop ~ Renee & Clare      


(Clogging if no one shows up at 10)
Otherwise a jam session (French?)
Hammered dulcimer workshop – Cliff Cole Mountain Dulcimer workshop, Bonnie Leigh  




Original tunes/songs jam ~ Renee Arner Bodhran workshop - Rob Yoder Autoharp workshop ~ WalterBader  

12:45 2:00

Contra dance music workshop, primarily be aimed at dulcimer players (MD and HD) but all instruments are welcome. ~  Norm Williams & Cliff Cole

  Setup, tune-up, and building dulcimers. Discussion and sharing, Build a cardboard dulcimer ~ David Lawrence Other jams


Shape note song work-shop ~ Ted Stokes & Clare Maher (can be continued outside)   Storytelling / singing' workshops Other jams


Open jamOpen jam or hammered dulcimer workshop, Cliff Cole

English Concertina Workshop, Rob Yoder (workshop time is negotiable)

Other jams

Other jams


Evening Program

DINNER PREP, set tables




CLEANUP, wash dishes, move tables, set up sound


English & Waltz jam Sing/jam


Campfire: Sing/Jam, drum circle 



DANCE and/or JAM.   Sing/jam Campfire: Sing/Jam, drum circle    8:30
Sunday Morning

CLEAN UP CAMP! - everyone




Sunday 9:00 am

Round robin and/or hymn sing







Music: Download a PDF file of some of the weekend's dance tunes HERE!

AND click HERE to download additional tunes with notes, chords, and mountain dulcimer TAB.

French Creek 2012


French Creek

French Creek

French Creek

French Creek

French Creek

The Music Retreat will be held in Group Camp #1 (stop in the park office for directions if you don't know where it is). The following info is on the park website:  
French Creek State Park is in Berks and Chester counties. You may reach the park from PA 345 south of Birdsboro, north of PA 23, and from the Morgantown exits (1A and 1 B) of the PA Turnpike.

French Creek State Park
843 Park Road
Elverson, PA 19520-9523

Manager: Eric Brown


Other Questions?

Contact Clare at

Cabin interior

Old metal frame bed in rustic cabin

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