The three-day Olympia Old-Time Music Festival concluded Sunday by welcoming musicians of all ages to the Arbutus Folk School — the setting for open mic-style performances on guitar, fiddle, mandolin, washboard and more.
And what better place to wrap up the festival than at the school? The downtown Olympia nonprofit, which has hosted the final day of the old-time music festival for three years, teaches a variety of crafts, including woodworking and music.
But the backdrop of the crafts school on Sunday gave way to the craft of old-time music.
Old-time is a genre of folk music that gave birth to bluegrass, said Juli Kelen, a member of this year’s festival organizing committee. Kelen said she’s been playing the music her whole life and counts the guitar, banjo, ukelele, mandolin and glockenspiel among the instruments she plays. She brought her guitar with her Sunday.
“It is so pretty,” she said about the music, adding that she also appreciates the inclusive and do-it-yourself quality of the music, where a bunch of musicians might sit around and jam on the same tune.
About 50 people were in attendance for the 3 p.m. start, although as many as 100 were expected, said Stacey Waterman-Hoey, executive director of Arbutus Folk School.
It also kicked off in all-ages style as the two opening acts included children on guitar, fiddle and mandolin. The second act — a trio of girls called the Sassafras Sisters — also charmed the audience with their singing.
This was the eighth year of the festival, which started Friday. It typically attracts 600 to 800 people, Waterman-Hoey said.
Don’t feel bad if you missed the festival. Arbutus Folk School also has an open-mic event on the second Monday of each month and an open jam session on the third Tuesday of each month. The school also teaches fiber arts and blacksmithing.