Bringing music to a new generation

To give back to the community and reach a new generation, we run a music education program in the form of square dance workshops in local schools, featuring a band and a square dance caller. Through movement and music, children are able to participate in old-time Appalachian-style dance music with many exposed to acoustic stringband music for the first time.

The festival has been offering these workshops for 17 years going back to our previous incarnation as the Sooke River Bluegrass Festival. During that period, we returned more than $100,000 to the local community in festival tickets and reached almost 2,000 students. We continued this tradition when we moved to Laketown Ranch Music Park in 2019.

This year’s school program is hosted by Paul Silveria, with music by Toronto international touring artists The Lonesome Ace Stringband. The workshops feature movement and dance suitable for Elementary K–7 and
Secondary 8–12. Done in the tradition of old-time Appalachian square dances with fiddle, banjo and upright bass, students are taught fun, basic square dances on the spot, and learn about a form of acoustic music they may have never experienced.

Since 2002, Paul Silveria has been calling traditional square dances at festivals, community centres, schools and other West Coast venues. His calls are energetic and clear, ranging from simple to elaborate — a perfect match for any age from six to sixty.

The kudos for the Lonesome Ace Stringband are worldwide:
“21st century acoustic music at its stripped-down, sharply-rendered best!” – Songlines Magazine (UK)
“Three of the most accomplished Old-Time musicians on the planet, the Lonesome Ace Stringband does a masterful job melding their talents”
– Brad Kolodner (WAMU Washington, DC)

“Three powerful musicians playing and singing some powerful music”
– Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine.

If your school is interested in participating, contact us at info@cowichanbluegrass.com