SALEM, W.Va. – The Fort New Salem Dulcimer Festival is being held from Aug. 12 through Aug. 14 hosting dulcimer workshops all weekend.
Fort New Salem is an Appalachian Living History Museum representative of a frontier log house settlement of the nineteenth century. There will be workshops on the mountain and hammered dulcimer as well as other folk instruments such as autoharp, bowed psaltry and Native American flute. There will be concerts on both Friday and Saturday evenings. Because of COVID-19, there have been no public gatherings at the fort until now.
“This is our first actual public event in nearly three years. It’s been a lot of work to get back to the point of where we were because we had to shut down and do maintenance. And at the same time, we are expanding the facility because we know there is a future and the growth is part of that” said Dr. Joseph Audia, board chairperson of the Fort New Salem Foundation. “Everyone loves the music and it’s just a great experience to have it out and the people that have been doing this for years they’ve become like family. They’re just like the cabins, they’re not quite as old as the cabins but they’ve been around for a long time.”
Dr. Audia said that the music from the dulcimer is a pure simplistic tune with a lot of storytelling that goes along with it including history. He said that even times back in the Civil War people would pause and that music was shared among both the north and the south.
“There are two types of dulcimers, mountain dulcimer, and hammer dulcimers, and we have workshops on both of those. The workshops start at 9 a.m. on Saturday and run through about 5 p.m. on Saturday. We also have several workshop spots on Sunday,” said Linda Sigismondi, program director of Fort New Salem Dulcimer Festival. “It really nice to be in an environment where the dulcimer originated. So, it kind of gets back to the roots. And we are preserving the history, some of the workshops are on traditional tunes, but we are also expanding it into modern times. We do some Celtic music, um, there is quite a variety of different music that people on both instruments.”
Daily general admission for visitors touring but not participating in the music workshops is $7 and children ten and under are able to attend for free.