Last Update:  Tuesday July 22, 2014

Email Jerry Wright at  

The _th Annual

Palestine Old Time Music and  Dulcimer Festival

Concertinas are also included in the festival.  The concertina folks will have their own headliner/instructor/performer.

You are going to get more entertainment for each dollar you spend at this festival.

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Palestine, Texas

March 26, 27, 28



Thursday, Friday and Saturday






Workshop, lodging and registration information can be found by scrolling down the page.

The festival is held in the Museum for East Texas Culture (the old John H. Reagan High School) located at 400 Micheaux  Palestine, Texas.  It is inside the Loop right off of Hwy 19/287 and just south of the courthouse.  

You can't miss it.  The old, multi-story school building is red brick and sits back on the far side of Reagan Park.  


NOTICE:  WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE A MOTEL ROOM?  Let me know and I will post it.




Ye ol fine print - chairs will be at the festival but sometimes it is nice to bring you own.  So if you are flying in or something like that - you can count of chair being available.


This is really a great opportunity to see many really great musicians in one place.  I invite musicians that I like.  They are good at what they do, they are friendly and they are folks that you like to be around.  The bottom line here is that I put this festival together.  There is a reason that many of them have been back year after year.  COME AND CHECK IT OUT AND TELL YOUR FRIENDS.  This is a festival with a laid back attitude but with really great music. 

This schedule is subject to change to accommodate all of the musicians.

Friday and Saturday Schedule.  
9 to 10:15 Workshop/Jams               
10:45 – 12:00 noon Workshop/Jams      
12 Noon to 1:15 PM Break for Lunch         
1:30 to 2:30 PM Day Concerts            
2:45 to 4PM Workshop/Jams                
4 to 6:45PM Free Time & Dinner                   
6:45 to 10:05 PM Evening Concerts        
10:05 PM till…. Jamming
     Please don't leave right when the concert is over.  This festival only comes around once a year.  Stick around for awhile.  The jams will start and you will be so glad that you stayed.


The headliners will fill in the names of their workshops when they arrive.  I have none of that information right now.

Martha and Earl are standing in front of the schedules.

You don't have to pre-register - just show up.

 The schedule is very hard to put together since there are so many great musicians and the stage time is so short.  I have to take into consideration that a three hour concert is pushing the limit for the audience. 

The above schedule is for Friday and Saturday.  Thursdays are always different.  There are many reasons for Thursday being different.  First of all many of the headliners are coming in on Thursday and many don't arrive until later in the afternoon or evening.  Folks who show up on Thursday visit and jam.  There are always a few workshops since there are folks there who want them.  We always manage to find someone to fill the needs.  In other words, if you show up with a mountain dulcimer and need some beginner instruction we will do our best to provide you with it.  I never know exactly what will happen on Thursday but in the past folks start showing up early.   We will have posters on the walls showing the workshop or event, what time it starts and what room it is in.    

I never know the names of the workshops until the headliners arrive.  They fill in the blanks when they arrive.   We also encourage anyone who has something to teach that may be interesting to sign up to teach a workshops.   There is a lot of talent out there and there are a lot of folks who have a lot to offer.    I have had folks fuss at me in the past for not posting the complete schedule before the festival.   That is just more work for me to get all of that information, arrange it and post it.   It is just something that I have chosen not to do.   It has worked so far.  Just remember this, if you have a special need - bring it to my attention and I will try my best to help you.  I have on the spur of the moment arranged private workshops that folks are still talking about.   I guess the festival takes on my personality.   I am there to have a good time and hope you do too.  I want the headliners to have a good time also.  I want them to come back.

Jerry and Margaret,

As always the festival was one of the highlights of my year.  I really appreciate all you do to produce this wonderful event.  I enjoyed all the headliners and performances, but, I wanted to especially commend Hem and Haw for their beautiful music and personalities.  I sat in the bluegrass mandolin workshop and felt it to be one of the most informative, practical, and useful workshops I have ever been to.  Maybe it was just what I needed in this stage of my bluegrass mandolin playing.  As I talked with several others attending the workshop with me, they expressed the same satisfaction I had.  I will really be looking forward to seeing them and all the others at the Mill Fest Festival in November.

Thank you again for making it possible for so many of us from all over the country to experience a short timeout from this crazy world and just enjoy music and genuine fellowship.  May God Bless you and your family.

John Curbo, Palestine, Tx.




We've been to many, many festivals around the country at this point in our lives, and I have to say, yours will always stand out in our minds as one of the most fun and relaxed and nurturing events we've ever attended.  And all of your performers were so good --- we love your family's music, of course, and you couldn't choose better old-time tune-mongers than Don Pedi and Rafe.  And we loved the concertina sounds, blending right in with the fiddles, dulcimers, guitars and banjos.  What fun we had.  The fest was great, the motel was perfect, and loved the jamming. And unlike a good many festivals, we actually had real time to visit with fellow performers, and with festival attendees. 


I attended Friday night's concert and was amazed at the glorious music.  I had never heard of this festival before as I recently moved to Texas from Illinois.  I was attending a training session at Lakeview Methodist Conference Center when one of the other attendees asked if I wanted to come to the concert.  I am so very thankful they invited me.  Now that I know about the festival, I am planning on being there during the whole festival next year and bringing my guitar.  Thank you so much for giving all the musicians a wonderful venue to meet and pass on their love of music to others.

Margaret and Jerry, Just wanted to tell you again how very much I enjoyed the festival .I am so glad I was able to go this year.  The concerts were great.  Eulberg and Carpenter were good teachers and prepared for their workshops. Thanks for all your work to make such a good festival. 


The festival was jam-packed with special memories for me:  My first time to meet Wayne Henderson, seeing Alice and Don and Cathy and Dave, and Mark Gilston, David & Dana...  Meeting Earl, great workshops, great jamming, fun concerts, thoughtful and cheerful people...everything I always hope for when we get together to share music.  This festival is a fine reflection on its leaders and many excellent volunteers!  Well done, good and faithful servants!!
I know it is common to say that "this was the best festival" every year....But what I think really happens is that each year the festival lives up to and usually exceeds our expectations and we just forget how great the previous years were. The fun lingers and we take it with us and the "high" lasts for a while...I enjoyed every minute of it, visiting with you and all my friends...cant thank you and your family and all those that made it possible enough....


Bring something to sit on for the jams and workshops.  There are chairs there but don't count on them.  Then there is an issue of hauling chairs up and down the stairs.  Just be prepared.

There are plenty of places to eat within a short driving distance.

Margaret and Lloyd will take special request for dulcimer workshops.   

You can email Margaret at  

Concertinas are welcome; email for more information on that.

This is a festival within a festival.  The concertinas contribute a lot to Old Pal.

Check out this site for motels and RV parks around Palestine.    

Come expecting to have a good time.

NOTE TO BEGINNER PLAYERS:  If you are a beginner, whether mountain dulcimer or any other instrument, get in a jam session.  Get as close as you can to someone playing the type instrument you are playing.  Get close enough to see and hear them if possible.  Now there is such a thing as jam etiquette - don't get into a situation where you are annoying to other players.   But watch, listen and learn.  Don't just sit there and do nothing.  Listen to the song.  Try to memorize it in part or whole.  Study the jam and imagine how you could fit in.  

The main thing is do something and take it upon yourself to get something out of it.  This is a wonderful opportunity.  This is why Margaret and I go to the trouble to have this festival.  We want you to learn.  We want you to be happy.  We would like to see you in the middle of a jam some day.

Just know this, what I have said is how I started.  No one taught me how to play the pickin' stick.  But people did teach me the tunes.  They didn't teach them to me individually - they taught them to me in the jam.  In fact, they didn't even know they were teaching them to me.

In all probability you will not learn to play your particular instrument in one weekend - but this weekend can take you a long way down the road.

This is also an opportunity to meet and visit with folks who are masters at the instruments they play.  Make it a point to meet them.  If you are a little shy, come get me and I will introduce you to them.  There will be a lot of folks at the festival with a lot of needs but I have time for you - I will make time for you.  Even if it is 5 minutes - if you are serious (which you must be to have paid what you did to get in) you can learn a lot in 5 minutes.  

Don't miss an opportunity!

The schedule will be a little loose on Thursday.  Most of the headliners will be arriving on Thursday afternoon or evening.  We will have some jamming, a few workshops and some type of concert in the evening and maybe even in the afternoon..  


Check at the front desk for information concerning workshops and jams. Keep informed, the schedule may change as opportunities arise.

I am very much aware of the fact that there are festivals based on student/teacher relationships.  I also realize that there are people who attend the Palestine Old Time Music and Dulcimer who come wanting to learn to play an instruments.  In other words, they are basically beginners.  There are also people who just want to learn more or maybe a new style or a new tune.  

In and around East Texas we play with a lot of people who really don't need to attend workshops.  They just want to play.  For example, right here in my family - Margaret, Hollis and Lloyd hardly ever attend workshops.  

I want this festival to be open for everyone.  If you need some instruction we want to have it available for you.  If you want to sit and play, we want you to do that.  If you just want to walk around and talk to people, that is fine too.  

I hope that we have organized this festival in such a way that everyone has a good time.  

VENDORS - Vendors (music and crafts) will be welcome for free on a first come, first serve deal.  Of course if a vendor does well financially, the festival will accept a donation. Vendors need to provide their one table and supplies.   (Food vendors will set up outside and need to check with the museum staff.)

HANDICAP INFORMATION:       The museum is not handicapped friendly.  There are a lot of steps.  The building was built around 1915.  The main activities take place on the first floor which is almost like the second floor.  From the ground you have to walk up a pretty good set of steps.  If you have some handicap needs and not sure about the building just listen up for a minute.  If you are handicapped, I will let you in for free.  If you don't like it, you will only be out the trip.  If you do like it, you can give me as much or as little of a donation as you wish.  In 2003 a person came under those conditions.  A few of us carried her and her scooter up the steps.  She stayed on the first floor all day and had a big time.  A few weeks after the festival I received a nice check and note from her.  The mountain dulcimer classes are held on the second floor which is up another set of stairs.  THE BUILDING DOES NOT HAVE AN ELEVATOR!

WORKSHOPS:     I will have a sign-up list for all those who would like to teach a workshop.  This list will apply to everyone - headliners as well as festival attendees.  So if you would like to teach a song or a technique - just sign up for a class time and we will find you a place.  

Workshops will be posted so you will have to keep abreast of what workshops will be held when.  There will be a large poster on the wall in the hall on the first floor listing all of the workshops.  

If you are concerned about the workshop schedule, just know that most all of the instruments will be covered on both days.  Then if there is something you would like and don't see it, just ask.  That is the beauty of not having a schedule before hand.

After doing the schedule the first year, I now admire other festivals that schedule every hour in the day.  It is a laborious effort.

JAMS:   This festival is jamming oriented - it is not centered around workshops.  There will be workshops in the morning but the afternoons are free for jamming.  If you just want to listen, the jams are in the different rooms all over the building.  You may find one room full of Autoharps, another will be old time fiddlers while another may be a slow mountain dulcimer jam for beginners.  

CONCERTS:   There are afternoon and evening concerts.  Then there is more jamming after the evening concert.  Music is in the building from early morning until late at night.  

CHAIRS:  Chairs are always an issue.  If you can, bring your own stool or chair.  There are chairs in the building but they aren't the best for mountain dulcimer players.  

WEATHER:  We can go on with the festival no matter the weather conditions.  In 2002 there was rain and a tornado nearby.  If the weather is nice, there are great areas outside around the museum for jamming.

LODGING:  There are plenty of motels in the area.  There is also a campground or two.  

FOOD:  There are plenty of places to eat within a short drive.

I want the Palestine Old Time Music and Dulcimer Festival to be a great festival.   I want everyone to have a good time.  On the other hand, I don't want to spend a lot of time worrying over schedules and details.  I would like for the festival to be able to get to a place where all we have to do is open the door.  I don't want to have to micro-manage every little detail.  I know a lot of folks in East Texas who love the music and love to play.  I am of the opinion that all I have to do is make the opportunity happen and the rest will take care of itself. 


* Promote good music  * Learning experience for everyone  * Fun for the participants   * Fun for the headliners  * Financially rewarding for the headliners   * Financially rewarding for the museum  



Email Jerry and Margaret Wright at 

Jerry Wright  P.O. 46  Kennard, TX  75847

(936) 655-2945




A man went to the local church and asked to Join.
  The preacher said, "OK, but you have to pass a small bible test first."  The first question is 'Where was Jesus born?"   The man answered "Longview".    The preacher said " can't join our church."  Soooooo....he  went to another church and asked to join.   The preacher said "We would love to have you but you have to pass a bible test first. "Where was Jesus born?"   The man said "Tyler".   The preacher said " can't join our church.  Soooo....he goes to another church and asked to join.   The preacher said "That's great we welcome you with open arms."   The man said "I don't have to pass no Bible test first?"   The preacher said "No."   The man said "Can I ask you a question?"   The preacher said "Sure."   The man said "Where was Jesus born?"   The preacher said "Palestine."   The man mumbled to himself "I knew it was in East Texas somewhere."