Instructional Workshops

Flatfooting Dance Workshop with Rodney Sutton, Friday 4:30pm

Recipient of SouthArts/NC Arts Council’s Folk & Traditional Master Artist Fellowship Award, Rodney Clay Sutton teaches traditional flatfoot dancing in this relaxed-atmosphere workshop. Having learned Appalachian flatfoot dance from mentor Willard Watson over fifty years ago, Rodney brings this wealth of experience, plus his continued education afforded to him by the fellowship in Sean Nos` dance – the Irish step-dance equivalent to flat-footing. Though you can wear any kind of footwear for this intro class, smooth soled shoes with a low heel are the best shoes for this workshop. Located in the Dance Tent.

Two Rare Fiddle Gems with Joseph Decosimo, Saturday 4pm

Joseph Decosimo plays fiddle in the blue ribbon winning stringband, the Bucking Mules and has been obsessed with old-time music since he was a teenager. In this workshop, we’ll unearth and work through two rare, unrecorded gems from the repertoire of a great Tennessee/Cumberland Plateau player John Sharp. While some of John Sharp’s fiddling was recorded, including a session in which WWI hero Alvin York cut several discs of Sharp’s fiddling, we will learn two delightful tunes that escaped the discs and were carried through his family’s memory.  Because Joseph is also a folklorist, we’ll set these in the context of the incredible musical ecosystem along the Tennessee and Kentucky line on the Cumberland Plateau (the world of Clyde Davenport, Cuje Bertram, and Burnett and Rutherford). We’ll get a better sense of the music traditions in the region, a sense of Sharp’s powerful approach to fiddling, and two special tunes that you won’t hear anywhere else. Fiddlers of all levels will find something useful in this workshop. Located at the Coffee Barn.

Playing Old-Time on a 4-String Banjo with Cary Moskovitz, Friday 5:30pm

Cary Moskovitz of Chapel Hill has developed his own style of four-string, old-time banjo drawing on influences from both four and five string players. Cary will demonstrate his style and share some of his techniques, using DGBE tuning, so if you’d like to play along, bring a four-string banjo (or tenor guitar) in that tuning—or bring a 5-string banjo tuned in G (with the 1st string tuned up to an E). You can hear Cary’s melodic playing intertwined with the clawhammer banjo of Mark Olitsky on the CD Duets—available at the merchandise shack. Located at the Coffee Barn.

Clogging with The Green Grass Cloggers, Saturday 12:30pm

Inspired by traditional mountain-style clogging teams, but more influenced by older flatfoot and buck dancers, North Carolina’s premier clogging group, The Green Grass Cloggers, has been kicking up their collective heels for FIFTY years now! Together they have developed an original, eclectic style. Unlike the traditional “big-set” mountain square dance figures, they use choreography based on four-couple western square dance figures in short energetic routines. Stop by and learn some basic clogging steps, as well as more advanced moves from these intergenerational dance pioneers. Located in the Dance Tent.

“Tasty Bass Runs” with John Schwab, Saturday 12pm

John is literally the guy who wrote the book on old-time backup guitar (Old-Time Backup Guitar: Learn from the Masters). He’s been the guitar player with two-time Clifftop winners, The Hoover Uprights, the Mostly Mountain Boys (with Paul Brown and Terri McMurray), and the Sunny Mountain Serenaders (with Mark Campbell and Mac Traynam).

This workshop will focus on bass runs. We’ll learn from one of John’s biggest guitar heroes, Roy Harvey, who played guitar with Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers. Listening to and mimicking Roy Harvey was how John learned to use tasteful bass runs to spice up his own backup guitar playing. Located at the Coffee Barn.

Upright Bass with Zack Mondry, Saturday 2pm

Zack Mondry hails from Burlington, NC, and plays bass, as well as other instruments, in Old Time, Bluegrass, Honky Tonk, and Americana styles. He’s performed with local favorites Mark Weems and Julee Glaub; Chris Mankoff; Tim Wells; the Rye Mountain Boys; Cliff Hale and The Grand Ole Ospreys; Hooverville; and the late, great Tommy Edwards. He loves the sound and feel of open strings and walking bass lines supporting tunes and songs, and is excited to bring these and other ideas for workshop participants. Located at the Coffee Bar

Children’s Harmonica with Cary Moskovitz, Saturday 3pm

Harmonicas are a fun and melodic instrument for all ages — they are inexpensive and easy to carry—so you can always have one with you. In this workshop, Cary Moskovitz will teach participants how to play a couple of simple old-time tunes and how to play simple accompaniment. Bring your harmonica in the key of C if you have one, but if not, we’ll have an extra 10 harmonicas to share. Workshop is for ages 8 and up, and parents are welcome to participate, too! Cary’s new instructional book, Old-Time Fiddle Tunes on Harmonica (available with a harmonica!) will be on sale at the merchandise shack. Located at the Coffee Barn.

Children’s Clogging with Katy Shoemaker, Saturday 11am

Katy has been dancing since she was born! A former kindergarten teacher at at Durham’s Triangle Day School, Katy perfected her clogging style in her years dancing with the Cane Creek Cloggers. This workshop is recommended for ages 5 and up, and will teach circle dances and simple clogging steps. Located in the Dance Tent.


Thank you to our WONDERFUL sponsors! We couldn’t do it without these folks:

Scroll to top