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Get Out and Boogie

Old Songs Festival of Traditional Music and Dance

This intimate gathering—on the 1890’s Altamont Fairgrounds, just west of Albany, with a mountain backdrop—aims to inspire the next generation of fiddlers, pickers, singers, and contra-dancers. Altamont, New York; June 21–24; 518/765-2815; oldsongs.org; adult day passes from $30, children under 13 free.

The Sounds

Folk, old-time, Celtic (and Celtic dance), and international acts.

The Digs

People pitch tents in fields full of nonstop music; families generally opt for the designated "quiet at night" campgrounds. Others crash in B&B’s and hotels in Albany and Schenectady.

Calling All Kids

Roger the Jester is a fixture in the children’s area. School-age string and wind players join the Great Groove Band for a performance on the big stage.

It Happened Here

In 2001, rain fell so hard that the outdoor evening concert by a U.K. band had to move indoors—into a sheep barn.

Vancouver Folk Music Festival

Folk designation notwithstanding, this is one of the North America’s most adventurous showcases of international music. It’s held at Jericho Beach Park on Point Grey Peninsula, surrounded by blue water, city skyline, and snowy peaks. Vancouver, British Columbia;July 13–15; 800/883-3655; thefestival.bc.ca; adult day passes from $34, kids’ day passes from $9.

The Sounds

Expect music you’ve never heard before.

The Digs

The University of British Columbia (ubcconferences.com; doubles from $120), on the tip of the peninsula, rents kitchen-equipped rooms. Downtown hotels, including the Sandman Suites (1160 Davie St.; 800/726-3626; sandmanhotels.com; doubles from $235), are an easy drive away.

Calling All Kids

In the Little Folks area, kids can mess with paint and sand. The lineup often has young performers, like a group of trad fiddlers ages 7 to 12.

It Happened Here

Anglo-Indian siren Najma, folk revivalists the New Lost City Ramblers, and Maori singer-dancer Mihirangi perform simultaneously. Didn’t we say these fests were for everyone?

Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers writes a music blog at wordsandmusic.info.

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