Gardner Winter Music Festival

Please join us at the Gardner Winter Music Festival
Fri. & Sat., Feb. 26 and 27, 2016!

Shake off those winter blues and come to play or just listen at South Middle School in Morgantown, West Virginia. This festival showcases traditional Appalachian music with continuous on-stage performances, workshops, informal jam sessions, and socializing. GWMF gives traditional Appalachian music lovers a place to play, listen, dance, and learn in the cold dark of winter. Everyone is welcome and musicians get in free with their instruments! Please join us Friday evening 6 pm to 11 pm and all day Saturday 9 am to 11 pm, February 26 and 27, 2016. Don't miss the Square Dance in the cafeteria from 8 to 10 pm.

This year we will have a Tribute to the late Elmer Rich on Saturday afternoon, and Logantown will play an extended set Saturday evening.

General Admission: $3 Friday, $5 Saturday, and musicians with instrument and children under 7 get in free. We ask all musicians to please stop by the registration table to sign in both days so we have an accurate count (for potential grants) and to get contact information for next year.

Food will be available both days: pepperoni rolls Friday night, sausage gravy and biscuits Saturday morning, cream chicken and biscuits Saturday afternoon/evening. Drinks (coffee, water, soft drinks), snacks, candy, and home-made cookies will be available all day long both days.

Vendors please Contact Us if you would like to have a table at the festival. Items for sale must be music related.

Tribute to Elmer Rich

Elmer photo

Elmer Rich on stage at GWMF in 2014 (Photo by Eb Werner)

The great West Virginia fiddler, Elmer Rich, left us last year on June 20, 2015, at the age of 95. It is fitting that he passed on West Virginia Day, as Elmer was a true West Virginia treasure. Elmer played every year at the Gardner Winter Music Festival; age didn't slow him down. This year the Festival will hold a tribute to Elmer Rich on Saturday afternoon in the auditorium.

Many articles and blog posts have been written about Elmer, including this one by Mark Crabtree for Goldenseal Magazine, this post by West Virginia Public Broadcasting, and this story from West Virginia Uncovered.

Here is a video of 16-year old Elmer playing mandolin in the so-called ''hillbilly band,'' as described by the announcer, while First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt dances at Arthurdale.

History of the Gardner Winter Music Festival

Worley Gardner started this festival in 1978 and his late wife Margaret continued it after his passing. A group of traditional-music-loving volunteers keeps it going today. Festival sponsors include PattyFest, Inc. and South Middle School.

Dulcimer Pamphlet and 35th Anniversary Memory Booklet


Worley & Margaret Gardner

To mark the 35th anniversary of GWMF in 2013, Jeff Fedan put together a special "memory booklet" where festival participants have shared special photos, thoughts, and memories of their GWMF weekends. A pdf (2.8 MB) of the booklet is here.

Revival of the Hammered Dulcimer by the Gardner Brothers (Worley and Asel Gardner) is a pamphlet briefly describing the history, tuning, and playing of the hammered dulcimer. A pdf is here.