John C. Campbell Folk School

Visitors to the Smoky Mountains will terrific Appalachian hospitality at the John C. Campbell Folk School’s day-classes in crafts, art, music, dance, cooking, gardening, nature studies, photography and writing.

Launched in 1925 in scenic Brasstown, North Carolina, the Folk School offered noncompetitive (no credits, no grades) to the area Appalachian community as a means to provide an educational opportunities.

At the turn of the century, the Southern Appalachian region was viewed as a fertile field for educational and social missions. With his new bride, John C. Campbell undertook a fact-finding survey of social conditions in the mountains in 1908-1909. The Campbells outfitted a wagon as a traveling home and studied mountain life from Georgia to West Virginia. While John interviewed farmers about their agricultural practices, his wife Olive collected ancient Appalachian ballads and handicrafts, which they both aspired to preserve and share with the rest of the world.

Today, the Folk School offers a unique combination of rich history, beautiful mountain surroundings, and an atmosphere of living and learning together. Guests can find a supportive, hands-on learning environment at the Folk School in more 800 classes including blacksmithing, early American hardware, calligraphy, mixed media, drawing, clay, music, spinning, beginning fiddle, quilting, watercolors, woodworking, writing, and more.
Free concerts are held most Friday nights and feature some of the finest regional and national acts performing old-time, bluegrass, folk, gospel and Celtic music. The School also offers free classes in contra, square and circle dances to live music on most Tuesday evenings.

The school’s annual Music and Dance Festival occurs for one week each July and features dancing lessons, slow-tune jams, ensemble playing, instructor presentations, tutorials, and discussions on Appalachian art and music. Instructors and students play for nightly public dances and performances are oriented toward those who can play (or accompany) and who are familiar with contra dance music.