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Gardner Winter Music Festival returns after 2-year hiatus

After a two-year hiatus, the Gardner Winter Music Festival will be held in person this year, starting Friday evening and all-day Saturday at South Middle School in Morgantown.

This annual festival has brought traditional Appalachian music, song and dance to the region since 1979 and features music in the auditorium, workshops, informal jam sessions, a swing dance Friday, a square dance Saturday night and food — homemade pepperoni rolls, cookies, snacks, drinks and a food truck (Jack Clutter Farms).

Workshops include lap and hammered dulcimer, fiddle, guitar, tin whistle, autoharp, banjo, spoons, music streaming, dance calling, singing and more. Come to play and dance, or just come to listen.

Admission is $3 Friday, $5 Saturday, with free admission for musicians and children 7 and under, and includes music in the auditorium, workshops, jam sessions, and dances.

Music in the auditorium runs from 7-11 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday in the auditorium and includes the West Virginia Bluegrass Band, Chris Haddox, Mark Tamsula, and many others.

The free workshops on Saturday (11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.) are aimed at all skill levels and include song, dance and many of the old-time instruments.

The Friday swing dance will be held from 7:30-9 p.m. and the Saturday square dance will be held from 8-10 p.m., both in the South Middle School cafeteria.

Informal jam sessions take place throughout the school both days from open to close.

The Gardner Winter Music Festival was started in 1979 by Worley Gardner, a well-known hammered dulcimer player and dance caller, who wanted to break out of the mid-winter blues and to celebrate old-time traditional music. His late wife, Margaret Gardner, ran the festival after Worley’s passing. Now volunteers continue the tradition every year during the last weekend in February.

More information about the Gardner Winter Music Festival (GWMF) and the schedule of workshops and music in the auditorium is available at and on Facebook at

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