About the Program

2019 Mountain Folk Festival special guest caller!

Phil Jameson

Phil Jamison is nationally known as a dance caller, old-time musician, flatfoot dancer, and scholar of traditional Appalachian dance. He has called dances, performed, and taught at music festivals and dance events throughout the U.S. and overseas since the early 1970s, including close to forty years as a member of the Green Grass Cloggers. His flatfoot dancing was featured in the film, Songcatcher, for which he also served as Traditional Dance consultant. Over the last thirty years, Jamison has done extensive research in the area of Appalachian dance, and his book Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance (University of Illinois Press, 2015) tells the story behind the square dances, step dances, reels, and other forms of dance practiced in southern Appalachia. A 2017 inductee to the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame, Phil teaches Appalachian music and dance at Warren Wilson College, in Asheville, North Carolina, where for twenty-five years, he served as coordinator of the Old-Time Music and Dance Week at the Swannanoa Gathering.

2019 Mountain Folk Festival: March 28-30

A weekend of folk dancing and music for middle and high school youth dance groups to gather and share. Groups prepare in advance by learning the festival dances on their own, then we fine-tune and practice the dances together. It’s a great opportunity to meet other young folks who love traditional music and dance, supported by skilled dance leaders and fabulous musicians. In the evenings, the larger community is invited to dance with them and enjoy their performances!


Young Dancers from 4th grade through high school who come in dance groups from their school or other organization, having practiced and learned the required dances, accompanied by their dance leader/teacher and chaperones.


Group of Mountain Folk Festival Participants


  • The Festival starts on Thursday evening, March 28, with a community folk dance sponsored by Berea College’s Country Dancers and held on Main Street, weather permitting, or inside if necessary.
  • Friday morning we begin with the Festival Dances, reviewed and called by our dance leaders, such as Chrissy Davis-Camp, David Macemon, and Jennifer Escobar, with youth dancing throughout the daytime and a community dance held in the evening.
  • Saturday continues youth dancing during the day, including specialized workshops on such things as drawing, Morris dancing, Kentucky set running, or English country dancing. Saturday evening’s community dance begins with a gala processional with flowering branches, and ends with an informal after party once the dance ends at 9:30 pm.
  • Dance classes and practices last all day, with breaks for meals.
  • The whole festival registration costs $30 per dancer.
  • T-shirts are available at an additional cost and by pre-order. There is also an optional spaghetti supper available on Friday evening to raise funds for the local teen dance group, Berea Festival Dancers, which tours nationally and internationally.
  • Groups stay in local motels which they arrange themselves with our assistance.


Most activities are held in Seabury Center or close by, on the Berea College campus, in Berea, Kentucky.

Line of dancers during the Mountain Folk Festival


Thursday, March 28, from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Friday March 29, from 8:00 am – 9:00 pm and Saturday, March 30, from 8:00 am – 11:00 pm.


Folk dance is a joyful and healthy way to celebrate life, create community, learn and practice social skills and courtesy, share fun and movement with friends and peers, experience and add to beautiful live music through choreographed movement. When you are on the dance floor, you are experiencing and enacting creativity, peace, sharing, and smiles. All of these reasons are why we still love to carry on this decades-long tradition!

How to learn these dances?

Leaders may order dance instructions, and links to files that include instructional videos and audio files of music to use for practicing the dances. The electronic “packet” may be ordered for $35 and may be furnished in hard copy for an additional fee.
Call Deborah Thompson at 859-985-3142 or email at thompsonde@berea.edu