Music, dance and Appalachian artistry will soon fill nearly every corner of the Davis & Elkins College campus as the Augusta Heritage Center makes a return to in-person summer sessions, July 10-29. The Augusta Festival in Elkins City Park will cap off the three-week assembly July 30.
Participants in each week’s classes learn from master artists in hands-on, face-to-face creative settings. Evening events – jams, concerts, dances and lectures – during Augusta are open to the public. For a complete schedule, visit augustaartsandculture.org or call the Augusta office at 304-637-1209. Everyone will be asked to mask in the whole-group indoor events including concerts and cultural sessions.
The sessions bring together workshops in music, dance, craft and folklore, plus Folk Arts for Kids, crafts and mini-classes with different themes each week – Cajun & Creole, Classic Country and Swing Week, July 10-15; Bluegrass and Vocal Week, July 17-22; and Blues and Old-Time Week, July 24-29. Week three features Teen Augusta with classes perfect for ages 12-16 who want a taste of everything Augusta has to offer.
“We’re beyond thrilled to bring back Augusta’s live and immersive learning format,” said Augusta Heritage Center Executive Director Seth Young. “Once again, we will gather to celebrate the joy of traditional arts as students and teachers meet face-to-face and knee-to-knee. We hope you too will have a chance to join us, either as a student or at one of our many concerts and dances.”
Concerts with performances by master artists instructing at Augusta take place every Tuesday and Thursday in Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. Dances in the outdoor Augusta Dance Pavilion follow each concert and are included in the admission price. General admission is $18 and tickets to the dance only are $8. Snacks and beverages will be available for purchase. Every Tuesday, Augusta participants and staff sell instruments, recordings, craft items and more at Show & Sell on the Halliehurst porch from 4-6:30 p.m. Each Wednesday from 6-10 p.m., area musicians and spectators gather for Pickin’ in the Park jam sessions in Elkins City Park.
Highlights of some of the many other events scheduled throughout each week are the “Fais Do – Do” gumbo party at 8 p.m. July 13 on Halliehurst porch followed by a Zydeco dance party at 10 p.m. at the Augusta Dance Pavilion and a country jam on the back porch of Halliehurst at 10 p.m.; a student showcase featuring exhibits and demonstrations by arts, crafts and folklore participants at 6 p.m. July 21 in Myles Center for the Arts; and a Blues Week participant showcase with an old-time porch party and flatfoot dance contest at 2:30 p.m. July 29 on Halliehurst porch.
For those who want to learn a new skill but can’t commit to taking classes during the day, an assortment of affordable evening mini-courses are offered each week starting Monday, July 11. Classes run Mondays through Fridays. A complete listing is available at augustaartsandculture.org.
The summer session caps off at a high point. The Augusta Festival and Craft Fair, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 30 in Elkins City Park, features the region’s finest artisans selling their unique creations. In true celebration of Appalachian heritage, visitors will experience live music, dancing, workshops, craft demonstrations and children’s activities. The West Virginia Open Fiddle and Banjo Contest also makes its return offering cash prizes. Admission is free.
To round out the weekend, the Augusta Block Party gets underway at 7 p.m. on Kerens Ave in front of El Gran Sabor, featuring performances by JP Harris, Jesse Milnes and Miss Tess. Admission is $10.
A Center of Excellence for more than 40 years, the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College offers several week-long programs featuring instruction in many traditions of music, dance, craft and folklore. Concerts, dances, a summer festival and other heritage arts events are part of the Augusta experience. The Augusta Heritage Center is also home to significant collections of field recordings, oral histories, photographs, instruments and Appalachian art.
Programs offered by the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College are presented with financial support from the National Endowment for the Arts, West Virginia Humanities Council, Davis & Elkins College and West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History.