Dancing, Music & Events

Join us year round as we host concerts, dancing lessons and dances, music jams, workshops, and other events celebrating the expressive arts of the West at the Western Folklife Center, 501 Railroad Street, Elko, Nevada.

See event descriptions below. For current dates, see our event calendar »


The Western Folklife Center and Great Basin College are pleased to announce a Writing Workshop and a Concert of music and poetry with Alaska's Fiddlin' Poet, Ken Waldman, on June 24. Get more info and make a day of it! Come for the workshop and stay for the concert. Our Gift Shop and the Wiegand Gallery will be open that afternoon, and dinner choices abound within walking distance downtown.

In addition to being a fiddler (with nine CDs), Ken Waldman is a former college professor with an MFA in Creative Writing with seven full-length poetry collections, a memoir (about his life as a touring artist) and a children's book. Over 400 of his stories, poems, and essays have appeared in well-known journals.


Jam On!

Every Second Wednesday, 6:00pm 8:00pm
Pioneer Saloon at the Western Folklife Center

Join us for Jam On! a monthly jam session every 2nd Wednesday of the month, from 6:00-8:00pm. All musicians and spectators welcome: invite a friend who might be looking for a group to jam with or someone who likes to enjoy live music! Jam On! features a mix of old-time fiddle tunes, folk songs, country tunes and ballads:  you can lead a song for the group or join in on tunes introducted by others. There's room to dance and the bar is open. Facilitated by members of Southwind and other community musicians. Bring your fiddle, mandolin, washboard, banjo, guitar, accordion, or other instrument of choice. Admission is free.


Let's Dance!

Every 2nd and 4th Thursday, 6:00-9:00pm
Western Folklife Center's G Three Bar Theater

Join us at 501 Railroad Street, Elko, for a fun evening at Let's Dance! every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month (except November, December and January): the evening begins with dance lessons, which include a variety of interesting steps in a featured style at 6:00pm, followed by open dancing at 7:00pm. Cost is $5, adults and teens are welcome and no experience is necessary. For more information, check our Event Calendar, follow Elko Let's Dance on Facebook or contact: wfcdance@gmail.com.


Southwind at the Western Folklife Center

Every 3rd Wednesday, 6:00-8:00pm
Pioneer Saloon at the Western Folklife Center

 Southwind plays Celtic and traditional Americana music every 3rd Wednesday of the month in the historic Pioneer Saloon.  Enjoy music and libations from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, and there's always room to dance! Southwind is Carolyn Steninger, Susan Lawrence and Ken Harriman:  follow them on Facebook!


Calisto Laucirica (1891-1975) - Basque settler, Elko county rancher. Photo c. 1920s, courtesy of Northeastern Nevada Museum.

Calisto Laucirica (1891-1975) - Basque settler, Elko county rancher.
Photo c. 1920s, courtesy of Northeastern Nevada Museum.

34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Join us for the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, January 29-February 3, 2018!

The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is an annual celebration of the ranching and rural West. Through poetry, music and stories, ranch people express the beauty and challenges of a life deeply connected to the earth and its bounty. Every year, thousands travel to rural Elko, Nevada, in the heart of winter, to learn and share. It's been called the most honest and open-hearted festival in America, but it is also a darned good time! At the Gathering, you can discover cowboy cultures from around the world, learn a traditional skill, dance the two-step, plan for the West's future with ranchers and conservationists, watch home-made films of rural life, meet new friends over a Buckaroo Brew, enjoy Basque food, listen to tall tales, dispel myths, build bridges and be inspired. It's an experience you will not soon forget!

www.nationalcowboypoetrygathering.org