Our office is currently staffed Mon-Fri for phone & email support.
Open Office Hours: Tuesdays 10am-1pm
The Arbutus Folk School is providing this page as a resource for the traditional music community in the Olympia area.
Coordinator(s): Jordan Bell at BellJa6@hotmail.com
Schedule: 3rd Sundays
Location: Traditions Cafe & World Folk Art 300 5th Ave. SW Olympia
From Tradition’s website: “This monthly acoustic jam is geared towards intermediate & advanced musicians, and jammers of all skill levels are welcome to participate as comfortable. We mostly play traditional bluegrass tunes, or songs from other genres (old-time, folk, Irish, country, etc.) played in the bluegrass rhythmic style, and instrumental breaks are passed clockwise from player to player. A list of our frequently performed tunes as well as chord charts & song lyrics are provided at the jam. Instrumentation typically comprises vocals, fiddle, guitar, banjo, mandolin, dobro, upright bass and the occasional harmonica, autoharp, accordion, or dulcimer. We ensure that our jam is FUN for all by following common jamming etiquette guidelines (www.bluegrassjamming.com) and especially by maintaining respect & love for one another.”
Visit www.OlySessions.com for the latest information on Irish jam sessions in Olympia. They include the Cooper Point Hooley, O’Blarney’s Irish Jam and Tug Boat Annie’s Irish Jam, each described below. The website includes a the comprehensive Olympia Irish Session Book, (https://olysession.com/sessionbook/) a collection of music frequently played at the Olympia Irish jams.
Coordinators: Tom Murrett (360-943-1831)
Schedule: Every Third Thursday
Location: Cooper Point Public House 3002 Harrison Ave NW Olympia
O’Blarney’s Irish Jam
Coordinators: Sarah Kellington (firstname.lastname@example.org, 360-359-2971) and Tom Murrett (360-943-1831)
Schedule: every Tuesday evening
Time: 7pm-ish to 10pm-ish
Location: O’Blarney’s Irish Pub, 4411 Martin Way E, Olympia
We play in the restaurant side, not the bar side. There’s often a dinner crowd, and it can be noisy. Things tend to quiet down when the dinner crowd leaves, so if the session seems really rough, wait a bit — it’s easier to play when you can hear each other.
Donation: none. The house provides three pitchers of beer; if you want something else, you buy. It’s polite to show up early for dinner occasionally or order something just so you can tip the waitstaff.
Sign-up: Just show up!
Jam dynamic: You should be able to play a few tunes at speed. If you’re not sure if you can, just sit farther back (it helps everyone to keep a strong core to follow in the middle).We do make sure the beer gets out to the people in the back ;0). There’s no leader, and anyone can start a tune. The person who started it can also tack on more tunes on the fly. If you chose the last one, please give other people a chance.This is a fast jam, and people play by ear (not with sheet music). If you’re not sure if you’ll fit in or you don’t know if you have the repertoire, come for dinner and listen!
Repertory: Repertory is primarily Irish, but the occasional Scottish, contra, or Quebecois tune is fine. This is a 99% instrumental session. Every once in a great while, if the crowd has thinned out and it’s quiet, someone will sing.
Instrumentation: All instruments generally used in current Irish music are welcome. All acoustic, please.
If you play a rhythm instrument (bodhran, guitar), please be mindful of the balance of melody players to rhythm. This is melody-lead music; if rhythm overwhelms it, things fall apart. If there are as many guitars as fiddles/whistles/concertinas, please take turns or play quietly.
Schedule: 2nd Thursdays
Time: 7pm – 9pm
Location: Tug Boat Annie’s 2100 Westbay Drive, Olympia
Coordinator: Juli Kelen, email@example.com
Schedule: second Thursday of the month
Time: 7pm-9pm-ish; okay to arrive a little late
Location: rotating homes of jammers
Instrumentation: all instruments welcome!
Repertory: We do have all-time faves, and it is highly recommended to purchase a copy of The Compleat Klezmer by Henry Sapoznik (which contains a delightful discussion of Klezmer music and its history and development). Another useful book is Mel Bay’s Klezmer Collection by Stacy Phillips. Photocopies of the charts we use are readily available.
Level, age: All playing levels are welcome; basic ability to read music is helpful, not essential. Players new to Klezmer are most welcome.
Jam Dynamics: We do work from charts; a player with a good ear and memory could learn this music entirely by ear.
What to Bring: yourself, instrument, recording device, snacks and beverages to share are part of the fun. Sometimes Jewish cultural foods are offered, with a little culinary anthropology background.
Coordinator: John Flory – email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: (360)790-6184 (text, VM)
Schedule: usually once a month on Sundays monthly October through April or May. I have no set Sunday but trying to schedule later in the month so not to compete with 2nd Sunday Olympia OT jam @ Octapas coordinated by Donald Palardy.
Time: 1pm until 5:30pm-ish
Location: Flory house in SW Olympia
Donation: For those that feel inclined, up to $5 donation accepted BUT absolutely not necessary for attendance. I’d rather have you here jamming and smiling.
What to Bring: yourself, instrument, recording device; it is fairly common for people to bring snacks., and totally up to the individual.
Sign up: I send jam notification via email, so best if person wishes to be added to my “jam list,” is to email me a request. Tubaphone09@comcast.net
Jam dynamic: We start at 1pm with a “learn-a-tune” session. Have a designated fiddler lead and teach this portion. This is ALL AURAL teaching and playing. Eventually, the session morphs into a regular jam. The lead fiddler may start/suggest a tune or two, but anyone is welcome to do so. We can blame the banjos as we tend to stay in one key for quite some time, but you will find many a fiddle tuning as well, e.g. cross-tuning, high bass, calico, GDAD, DDAD, ADAD…I enjoy fiddlers that tune! (makes banjo players look good).
Level, Age: We are first and foremost a social event, non-exclusionary as we welcome all. Players, non-players, folks with ears, folks without ears…whatever, come on by. The only rule is peace and cooperation with other attendees. You are welcome here.
Repertory: Most tunes are instrumental tunes, but lyrics/singing is welcomed.
The Flory jam has been ongoing since 1989 or 90, but really “took off” after Y2K.
Coordinator: Donald Palardy email@example.com
Schedule: Every second Sunday of the month
Time: 4pm to 8pm
Location: Octapas Cafe, 414 4th Ave, Olympia, WA
Instrumentation: banjos, fiddles, mandolins, guitars, basses (or whatever, except drums)
Donation: None. It’s polite to buy something to eat or drink so you can tip the waitstaff.
Jam dynamic: folks play by ear and everyone is welcome to lead a tune, no rockstars, please
Level, Age: all ages, all levels
Sign-up: Just show up!
What to Bring: yourself, instrument, recording device
Coordinator: Ruby Re-Usable [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Schedule: every Wednesday
Time: 6pm – 9pm
Location: Olympia Center (STARS room) 222 Columbia St NW, Olympia, WA
We share our love for ukulele music, especially Hawaiian songs. Ukulele players of all levels are welcome to join us. Free, BYOU (bring your own ukulele).
Schedule: 3rd Monday
Time: 6:30 – 8:30
Location: Traditions Cafe & World Folk Art 300 5th Ave. SW Olympia
A song circle for ukulele players and singers. Ukulele players of all levels are welcome to join us (we do not offer instruction). Bring your own ukulele (BYOU). The Ukolympians use The Daily Ukulele as our main song book. (Also, check out The Daily Ukulele: Leap Year Edition) Bring your ukuleles, your singing voices, your music stands, your Daily Ukulele book, and your friends!
OPEN MIC PROGRAM CURRENTLY ON HIATUS
Our Open Mic Night happened every 2nd Monday from 7-9pm with arrival between 6-6:45 to sign up to perform. Meetings took place at Arbutus Folk School 610 4th Ave E, Olympia, WA. The M.C. and organizer of the event was Mark and Jess Iler. Mark started and ran the open mic for Victory Music in Seattle for over 20 years (Victory music organizes the open mics at Elliot Bay Books, Antique Sandwich Company in Tacoma and many more in the Puget Sound region). Our goal is to support acoustic musicians on their journey of exploration and growth and we look forward to resuming this event whenever we can safely do so. A small donation to Arbutus is suggested by non-performing audience ($2-$5). Donations are important to keep this event going!
Schedule: every Sunday
Time: 4 – 7pm
Location: 4419 Harrison Ave NW #108, Olympia
A platform for acoustic performance artists to share their sounds.
Time: 6-9:00 PM
Location: O’Malley’s Lounge 2200 Garfield Ave NW Ste 1, Olympia (adjacent to Westside Lanes bowling)
Location: 300 5th Avenue SW, Olympia
Dates: 7/21 – 7/27, 2019
Dates: JULY 15-19, 2019
Dates: Feb 14 – 17, 2019
Location: Olympia WA
Dates: May 17 – 19, 2019
Location: Shelton, WA
Dates: May 31-June 1, 2019
Location: Olympia, WA
Country dances at the Olympia Elks Lodge, 1818 4th Ave East.
6:30-7:30 Dance Lesson
7:30-8:30 open dancing
Cost: $3.00 for members and $5.00 for non-members
Weekly square dance opportunities in Olympia. Check the organization calendar at http://www.olympiasquaredance.com/calendar.html for the schedule.
The dances take place at Lac-A-Do Hall, located at 1721 46th Ave NE in Olympia.
Contra dances with callers and great live bands at the
South Bay Grange
3918 Sleater Kinney Rd NE, Olympia, WA
Dances On The First, Second And Fourth Saturdays Of Every Month
7:30 pm to 10:30 pm
Beginner’s Orientation at 7:00 pm
Admission: Sliding Scale $9-15; $7 For Students And Seniors (65 And Older)
“Samba Olywa (based in OLYmpia, WAshington) is an amateur percussion and dance group dedicated to building community through the learning and sharing of Samba and other rhythms.”
Most Sundays, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
The Eagles Ballroom, 4th and Plum, Olympia
All are welcome! A $5 – $10 donation for each session is requested.