Private Sales
News, Notifications, & Mailing Lists
COVID-19 Policy


What do I need to do to sign up?
The registration form and instructions are here. Registration will open on May 15, at which time the form can be downloaded.

Can I pay by credit card?
You can use PayPal (preferred) or mail us a check. When we confirm your housing, we will also send a link to our PayPal account and provide the mailing address for a check. Your place will not be held until we receive payment. Please complete your registration as soon as possible. You’ll be notified when your registration is complete.

Why is there an "early bird" discount period?
The event is entirely run by volunteers, many of whom have day jobs. The sooner we can get people signed up, the easier it is to do all of the behind-the-scenes paperwork and database management. We want to avoid a last minute avalanche. The discount is intended to motivate you to commit early.

Is admission to the weekend a separate charge in addition to the room cost?
No. Admission is included in either option: staying in a room or staying off-site.

What if I register and then am unable to come?
There is a cancellation and refund policy published on our registration page.


What is Wisdom House like?
There is a description and a link to photos here. Although we usually go to a more rustic venue that is, typically, also a children’s summer camp, Wisdom House looked like the best choice for this year. The number of available venues is still limited because of staffing shortages and other pandemic-related issues. It came highly recommended by several people who have been there for other events.

I’m coming alone. Do I still need to share my room?
There are a limited number of 1-person rooms available. Some have a private (ensuite) bath and some have a shared bath on the same floor. See the registration page for rates and descriptions.

Can I bring my RV?
Wisdom House does not allow camping of any kind. There are a couple of campsites nearby, but you would probably have a better time if you signed up for a room.

Can I bring my pet?
Sorry, but the answer is no. There are local boarding kennels if you want to bring your dog along for the ride – check the internet for possibilities.

Can I bring fireworks and things that go bang?
Definitely not. You can’t bring fireworks, firearms, air rifles, tactical nukes, or weapons of mass destruction (other than free-reed instruments).


Do I have to sign up for meals?
Yes. The rates for accommodation include all meals from Friday dinner through Sunday lunch (six meals in all). If you don’t want to stay on-site, you can choose the weekend day-tripper package that includes all six meals from Friday dinner through Sunday lunch and all of the activities, including the Saturday night concert.

I’m allergic to [peanuts, shellfish, etc.]. Will I be able to eat the meals?
There is a wide variety of food served at each meal: salads, fresh fruit, bread, and vegetarian/vegan entrees as well as ones for carnivores. Most people can find plenty to enjoy. Be sure to note any food allergies or other serious dietary restrictions on your registration form so we can alert the kitchen staff. If they think they can’t meet your dietary needs, we’ll let you know.


What workshops are offered?
This is a free-form gathering that evolves throughout the weekend. People post workshop offerings on the Big Board located in the registration room. People also post requests for things they hope someone else might agree to lead. Some “workshops” are really tune swaps, often focused on a particular genre, such as Morris tunes or Scandinavian waltzes. Some are for specific instruments, such as Hayden duet concertinas. Sometimes there is a “slow jam” for people who are just learning the tunes or their instrument. There is usually one that is a rehearsal for the pick-up band that plays for Saturday night’s contra dance, and that may happen just for fun even if we don’t have a dance. If you have a request or if you want to find out if there is interest in a workshop you’d like to offer, you can post it on Si-Talk ahead of the weekend.

Do I have to go to the workshops?
Definitely not. Some people never go to any and just join in the many jam sessions that spring up in every available corner. This is a weekend for fun and camaraderie, and nothing is required except your presence.

I’m a first-timer. Can I offer a workshop?
Of course. All you have to do is post it on the Big Board in the registration room. Write a brief description on a post-it (provided on the table) and put it in an available location and time slot on the schedule on the bulletin board. You don’t necessarily need to be a teacher – you might just want to be a facilitator for something that interests you, such as an Irish tune seisiún. Post it, and they will probably come.

There's something I'd like to learn; will there be a workshop for that?
If what you want is not listed on the Big Board, you can post a request there. It’s quite possible that someone will decide to lead such a workshop or offer to give you some one-on-one help. You could also post a request ahead of time on Si-Talk.

I don’t play a free-reed instrument yet, but I’m interested in starting. Will there be anything for me to do?
Absolutely. First, you’ll be able to hear, see, and try out everything from big piano accordions down to a 20-key Anglo concertina. You’ll be able to find people who will talk with you about what they play and why. You’ll hear all kinds of music being played on free-reed instruments and consider which ones seem to relate best to your own musical interests. You might be able to find a teacher who lives in your area. Some workshops are quite suitable for absolute beginners. This is an excellent way to take the first steps toward becoming a player.

I have a free-reed instrument that needs to be fixed. Is there someone there that can help?
You can ask around -- many attendees are quite knowledgeable about instrument repair.

My partner plays the fiddle (guitar, ocarina, nose flute, etc.) – can they take part?
For workshops, it would be good manners to ask the workshop leader. Generally, there will be no objection as long as your partner is aware that the activity is primarily for the free-reeders and is probably not the time to ask for advice on bowing technique. Finding a jam session to join is often a better option. All instruments are welcome in those, and they happen just about continuously.

Should my non-playing partner/spouse come along?
If your partner likes music, there is a lot to listen to, and some non-players decide to take up an instrument after a weekend of free-reed saturation. There are lovely grounds for walking onsite, and Topsmead State Forest is about a mile away.


I’d like to sell my old concertina, tune books, brother-in-law, whatever. How does that work?
There will be one or more tables set up for private sales. You place your item on the table with a description, selling price, and contact information. Some people who are selling such things as CDs and tunebooks choose to put a box out for payment on the honor system. We can’t be responsible for things that disappear, but nothing has vanished yet, as far as we know. Professional instrument makers and dealers are welcome to bring samples (not for sale) and business cards.


Is there any internet service available?
There is free Wi-Fi available indoors everywhere.

What about television?

What about telephones?
There are no telephones in any of the rooms. Cell phones generally work at this location.


How can I get notified about any changes, get the registration form by email, learn more about possible workshops, etc.?
There are 2 things you should do – get your name and email added to our contact list and join Si-Talk. All of that is explained here.


By the time registration closes on August 10, 2022, all participants must be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination as defined by the CDC. We strongly recommend home testing no more than 1 day before September 16, 2022. If the test yields a positive result, the participant's registration must be cancelled and a full refund will be issued on request. Our COVID-19 policy is in compliance with the recommendations of the CDC and the State of Connecticut. Our policy is subject to change if those recommendations are revised. If a change in our requirements makes you ineligible to participate in the event, we will issue a full refund if it is requested no more than 5 days after we publish those changes. (This is an important reason to sign up for our contact list.)