Music Resources

Music Community Resources

The Arbutus Folk School is providing this page as a resource for the traditional music community in the Olympia area.

Music Community Resources



Tradition’s Bluegrass Jam

Coordinator(s): Jordan Bell at

Schedule: 3rd Sundays

Time: 2-4:30pm

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 ( and especially by maintaining respect & love for one another.”


Irish Jams

Visit 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, ( a collection of music frequently played at the Olympia Irish jams.

Cooper Point Hooley

Coordinators: Tom Murrett (360-943-1831)

Schedule: Every Third Thursday

Time: 7:00PM–9:30PM

Location: Cooper Point Public House 3002 Harrison Ave NW Olympia

O’Blarney’s Irish Jam

Coordinators: Sarah Kellington (, 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.


Tug Boat Annie’s Irish Jam

Schedule: 2nd Thursdays

Time: 7pm – 9pm

Location: Tug Boat Annie’s 2100 Westbay Drive, Olympia


Klezmer Jam

Coordinator: Juli Kelen,

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.

Old-Timey Jams

Flory Jam

Coordinator:  John Flory – email:, 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.

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.

Olympia Old Time Jam

Coordinator: Donald Palardy

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


Olympia Aloha Ukulele Pu’ukani Jam

Coordinator: Ruby Re-Usable []

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).   

Donation: Free



Schedule: 3rd Monday

Time: 6:30 – 8:30

Location: Traditions Cafe & World Folk Art 300 5th Ave. SW Olympia

Donation: Free

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 Mics

Arbutus Folk School


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!

Blue Heron Bakery – Sunday Sounds Open Mic

Schedule: every Sunday

Time: 4 – 7pm

Location: 4419 Harrison Ave NW #108, Olympia

A platform for acoustic performance artists to share their sounds.


Smokin’ Blues Jam (Open Mic)

Schedule: Sundays

Time:  6-9:00 PM

Location: O’Malley’s Lounge  2200 Garfield Ave NW Ste 1, Olympia (adjacent to Westside Lanes bowling)



New Traditions

Location: 300 5th Avenue SW, Olympia
Phone: 360-705-2819



Cascadia Irish Music Week – The Evergreen State College

Dates: 7/21 – 7/27, 2019


Olympia Kids Fiddle and Arts Camp

Dates: JULY 15-19, 2019


Oly Old-Time Festival

Dates: Feb 14 – 17, 2019

Location: Olympia WA


Bluegrass from the Forest

Dates: May 17 – 19, 2019

Location: Shelton, WA


Steamboat Jamboree

Dates: May 31-June 1, 2019

Location: Olympia, WA




Evergreen Country Dancers

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


Olympia Area Square Dancers

Weekly square dance opportunities in Olympia. Check the organization calendar at for the schedule.

The dances take place at Lac-A-Do Hall, located at 1721 46th Ave NE in Olympia.


Olympia Contra Dance Community

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

“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.