Not only can you listen to great music from many different cultures at the Great Lakes Folk Festival, you can also make your own music or dance the day away in audience participation activities, including an Old Time JamCommunity Sing, Ukulele Strum, and Dance Instruction.

Ukulele Strum with Ben Hassenger and The Ukulele Kings, featuring Beatles songs, download the songbook here!
Friday, August 11, 6:30 – 8:00pm at the City Hall Stage

Community Sing with Elizabeth LaPrelle, Sally Potter, Matt Watroba
Saturday, August 12, 2:30 – 4:00pm at the City Hall Stage

Polka Dance Instruction
Saturday, August 12, 2:25 – 2:45pm at the Dance Stage

Balkan and Gypsy Dance Instruction
Saturday, August 12, 5:45 – 6:00pm at the Dance Stage

Cajun Dance Instruction
Saturday, August 12, 9:30 – 9:45pm at the Dance Stage

The Jam Tent offers opportunities for audience participation at the festival, The Jam Tent located near the corner of Albert Ave. and Abbot Rd. has scheduled music jams hosted by talented Michigan musicians. Jams are centered on genres of traditional music, including Appalachian Old-time, Irish, and Cajun. Music jams are a great way to learn about traditional music and are open invitation, so anyone can play, listen, and dance. No prior experience necessary. Bring your instrument, your dancing shoes, or just yourself! There is not electricity at the tent, so all jams are acoustic.



Irish Session hosted by Cara Lieurance, Dave Marlatt, and Steve Rohs

Traditional Irish Music
Charlotte and Kalamazoo, Michigan
Dave Marlatt (top left), Steve Rohs (bottom left), Cara Lieurance (right)

Cara Lieurance is a flutist and button accordionist who has been playing Irish traditional music for nearly 20 years. A resident of Kalamazoo, she and long-time playing partner, fiddler Dave Marlatt, are the co-hosts of a weekly Irish music session, a weekly Celtic radio show on WMUK, and a concert series that brings fine Irish instrumentalists to west Michigan.

Dave Marlatt is one of the co-leaders along with Cara Lieurance of the weekly Kalamazoo Irish Session held each Sunday at The Boatyard Brewing Company.

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Folk Song Jam with the Bath Market Minstrels

Folk, Country, and Old Time Music
Bath, Michigan

The Bath Market Minstrels have been providing music for the Bath Township Farmer’s Market every Thursday since the market started in 2010. Originally Mike Ross and Jake Goodwin, both Bath residents, alternated performances at every other market, however they joined forces to play together every Thursday and began inviting musicians from all over the Lansing-area to join. The Bath Market Minstrels play a mix of acoustic music, ranging from traditional ballads, sea shanties,

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Cajun Jam with Sel de Terre

Cajun and Creole Music
Mid and Southeast Michigan

Sel de Terre (“Salt of the Earth”) plays Cajun and Creole music: driving 2 steps, beautiful waltzes, all sung in Cajun french. It is the music of the dancehalls and traditional house dances of Louisiana. This group is the sound of twin fiddles, rhythm guitar & tee-fer (cajun triangle), upright bass and an accordion. Ça va d’être Bon, je promis ça Sha! 

Join us for the Cajun Jam Saturday, August 12,

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Old Time Jam with the Pretty Shaky String Band

Old Time Music
East Lansing, Michigan

The Pretty Shaky String Band is an East Lansing institution. Shakies have been meeting each Wednesday night for nearly forty years. Many of Michigan’s finest folk musicians are Shaky alumni. Primarily an old time folk music jam, the Shakies also perform at various farmer’s markets and events in the area.

The Shakies are a friendly and laid back group. Musicians of all levels are welcome. A round robin format is followed,

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Slow Jam with Mike Ross, Mary Ross, and John Suppnick

Fiddle music
Bath, Michigan

Mike and Mary Ross have taught fiddle tune workshops at Elderly Instruments to musicians of all skill level. Mike has played fiddle and harmonica for around 30 years and is also an accomplished guitar and banjo player. He plays regularly with the Scarlet Runner String Band. Mary and John Suppnick are accomplished multi-instrumentalists and great teachers who both play in the band, Askin’ For Trouble.

The Slow Jam will feature a set list of tunes in a variety of keys.

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Dulcimer Jam hosted by Judi and Glen Morningstar Jr.

Oakland County, MI

Judi Morningstar has been playing hammered dulcimer since 1978. She plays piano & hammered dulcimer for traditional American Historical Dances, English Country Dance and Contra & Square Dances both locally & throughout the U.S. With husband Glen, they established The Old Michigan RUFFWATER STRINGBAND now in its 39th year. She has taught hammered dulcimer since 1981. She teaches workshops at several festivals.

She fronts a trio, Aunt Lu & the Oakland County All Stars (dulcimer,

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Klezmer 101 hosted by Heartland Klezmorim


Heartland Klezmorim plays Yiddish Folk Music, Klezmer, and lots of fun dance music.

On August 13 at the Great Lakes Folk Festival, members of Heartland Klezmorim will be presenting a workshop on the basics of playing Klezmer. The workshop, entitled KLEZMER 101, will start at 12 noon and will be presented in the Jam Tent.

All instrumentalists playing any instrument, are encouraged to participate.

Please join Heartland Klezmorim On Sunday Aug.

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Ben Hassenger – Uke Strum Leader

Uke Strum
Haslett, Michigan

The ukulele, a small guitar-like instrument typically with four strings, originated in Hawaii in the 19th century. Its name derives from the Hawaiian words uku (the gift that came from here) and lele (to come). With support from royalty like Queen Liliʻuokalani and King Kalākaua, the instrument became extremely popular in Hawaii. Visitors to Hawaii and Hawaiian performers who traveled then spread a love for the instrument throughout the world.

Although its popularity declined in the early 20th century,

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Sally Potter – Community Sing Leader

Community Sing
Lansing, Michigan

Dedicating a stage session at the Great Lakes Folk Festival to participatory singing began in the summer of 2010. Sally Potter, local musician, producer, and educator, started the Mid-Winter Singing Festival in 2003. Since that time, Potter strongly encouraged the Great Lakes Folk Festival to add a community singing component.  Singing was given a trial run in 2010 and was a rousing, tent-filling success.  The Great Lakes Folk Festival recognized the power of many voices joining in song and so continues to offer visitors a chance to participate in a session of singing at the City Hall stage.

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