The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local Scene

March 27, 2014

Pickin' Time: 13th Old Time Music & Dulcimer Festival begins today



The organizers are expecting about 300 musicians from across the country to attend the festival.

“We have people all over the United States coming. There are a lot of people in the dulcimer and old-time music world that simply hear the word 'Palestine' and they know we are referring to this festival,” Margaret Wright said. “We don't even advertise anymore — the festival grows just from word of mouth now.”

Part of the charm — and draw — of the festival is its location at the historic museum.

“The museum is perfect for what we do. The acoustics are so great — the wood floors and the 10-foot ceilings when you have a room full of musicians is just amazing. Having the old music in the old building, it all goes hand in hand wonderfully. That's the whole enticement,” Margaret Wright said. “It would totally change the festival's atmosphere to have it somewhere else.”'

Museum Director Dan Dyer is expecting the annual festival to be a boost to the Palestine economy — especially to local hotels and restaurants..

“It brings a lot of people here. Last year we had people from 27 different stages plus all over Texas — Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and as far as El Paso,” Dyer said. “It's a great boost to the Palestine economy.”

The Wright family got the dulcimer and old time music bug after a family vacation where they passed through Missouri and Arkansas in 1994, hearing the old time music coming from the Appalachian Mountains.

Over the years, their skill increased. Their son Lloyd Wright became the National Mountain Dulcimer Champion in 2000. The family traveled to many festivals over the years, and both Margaret Wright and Lloyd Wright hold workshops at many of the festivals. Margaret Wright also produces the popular Twelve Tune Song Book, which includes old time sheet music for the mountain dulcimer, and teaches sacred harp singing.

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