Since 1977 the West Coast edition of the EEFC’s Balkan Music & Dance Workshop has been gathering amidst the towering redwoods of the Northern California coast. Each year we welcome new friends along with old, as musicians and dancers and those who love them come together with our extraordinary teaching staff for a memorable week. Our rustic setting makes for a true getaway. Our programming offers numerous opportunities to learn, and our welcoming and warm atmosphere creates a friendly setting for your week at camp.
The Mendocino Woodlands is located in a beautiful redwood forest near the Northern California coast, 175 miles north of San Francisco. A half an hour inland from the scenic town of Mendocino, our camp has three clusters of rustic (no electricity), four-person enclosed cabins on somewhat hilly terrain with stone fireplaces and balconies, a spacious dance hall, and plenty of tenting sites. Each cluster has its own bathhouse with lights and hot showers. Between classes you can hike in the forest or take a dip in the swimming hole in the nearby river.
The Mendocino Workshop runs from Saturday evening to the next Saturday morning. Classes begin Sunday morning, and are held each day through Friday. Following a review session Friday morning, participants have the option to perform in a student concert. The week closes on Friday with a Balkan-style lamb roast and the last of the week’s great evening parties. We have part-time attendance and evening party-only options available.
A broad array of instrumental, vocal, ensemble, and dance classes at all levels are offered across five daily 75-minute class slots. We provide an instrument-lending program to enable new students to get started on harder-to-find village instruments. In the early evenings the program includes folklore presentations and panel discussions, group sings with musical accompaniment, and our fun, community-building auction. Live-music dance parties featuring our world-class staff musicians will rock your socks in the dance hall, and the party continues late into the night in our more intimate cafe-bar, the kafana, featuring a variety of staff and camper musical sets, from the sublime to the floor-stomping. See a sample daily schedule.
The workshop features three delicious meals a day and an evening snack, with selections to please both omnivore and vegetarian tastes.
We welcome families! The Mendocino workshop features a youth band and kids’ dance class; and children are also welcome and encouraged to take adult classes, according to their capabilities. Find more info on Kids at Camp.
A few partial-tuition-waiver work exchanges may be available for full-week participants. The deadline to apply is May 1st. However, if you are reading this after May 1st, don’t panic just yet, but please send us an email ASAP. Contact the Mendocino Workshop Site Manager if you are interested.
You may attend just the evening parties, which usually begin at 9 p.m. The cost is $35 per person. Admission includes the evening dance party and late-night Kafana activities until 2:30 a.m. (no overnight accommodations). Please register for evening parties with the EEFC Office before June 21. Tell us what night you plan to attend and the names of others in your party. We cannot accept drop-in partygoers. Registered partygoers may check in and pay at the Kafana when you arrive on site (no earlier than 7:30 p.m.). Click on the Evening Parties tab to see the schedule of evening parties, culture corners and group sings.
Online registration is open (see red “Register Now” button above). Workshop updates are announced through our E-newsletter (sign-up if you haven’t already), the EEFC listserv discussion group, and on our Facebook page.
Staff, class, and class level listings are subject to update and change.
Mendocino Woodlands Camp One is in Jackson State Forest about 175 miles north of San Francisco, roughly 12 miles inland from the coastal town of Mendocino.
From the south, take Hwy 101 North to Cloverdale. Highway 101 bypasses Cloverdale, so take the Hwy 128 Fort Bragg/Mendocino exit (after a couple of Cloverdale exits). Some 60 miles later (twisty road, but gorgeous vineyard, redwood, and coastal scenery), take Hwy 1 North to Mendocino.
From the north (Oregon), take I-5 South to Grants Pass, then Hwy 199 to Crescent City. From there, take Hwy 101 South to Leggett. From there take Hwy 1 South (insanely twisty road to the coast, with the reward of breathtaking ocean views) to Mendocino.
From Mendocino, go east on Little Lake Road (Co. Rd. 408) from Hwy 1
(at stoplight) for 5.6 miles, then turn right on Co. Rd. 700 (winding dirt road). Drive for 4 miles to Camp One. Please drive slowly and carefully on this dusty road!
If you’ve never been to the Woodlands, plan to arrive before dark. Registration will be located just outside the dining hall.
Come for early evening activities, the dance party and the late night kafana. Then spend the night and enjoy breakfast before you hit the road!
Here’s how it works:
6:00 p.m.: Arrive at our lovely redwoods site (see Directions tab above). Check in at the Kafana and set up your bunk. Join us for a delicious dinner, starting at 6:30.
Then take in a folklore presentation, singalong, or join in our auction. Dancing to live music begins in the main hall generally around 9:00.
Our Kafana in the woods is a bar and a club, and a place where much music and merriment happens into the wee hours. Stay as long as you like!
Sleep in a bunk with the bedding you brought from home.
Roll out of bed, have breakfast by 9:30 a.m., and hit the trail by 10.
All this can be yours for $135. A cheap hotel in Ft. Bragg (forget the town of Mendocino), easily runs twice as much and provides no options for gajda, rakija, čočeks, or çiftetelli!
Use our online form to register for the Bed & Breakfast option. See the red “Register Now” button above.
Culture Corners and Group Sings begin at 7:45 p.m. Dance parties, unless noted, begin at 9:00 p.m. Please see the Workshop Details tab for information on how to sign up to attend our evening activities.
Note: Schedule is subject to change
A Balkan Sampler!
Greek Zourna—Eleni, Christos & Bobby Govetas
Bulgarian-Tzvetanka & Ivan Varimezovi
Pontic—Adam Good, Ari Langer, Jerry Kisslinger, Paul Brown
Macedonian Romani—Melez (Benji Rifati, Eleni Govetas, Bobby Govetas & Mik Bewsky)
Special Dance Workshop (7:45-8:45): Dance for Musicians with Michael Ginsburg
Lunchtime Culture Corner: “May It Fill Your Soul” a documentary by Tim Rice featuring the Varimezov family
Group Sing—Croatian & Yugoslav: John Morovich
Greek Brass—Catherine Foster & Michael Ginsburg
Macedonian Village—Mark Levy & Jerry Kisslinger
Albanian—Raif Hyseni & Merita Halili
Auction Night (dance party begins around 10:00 p.m.)
Culture Corner: Our Cultural Relationships with Balkan Folklore: a conversation with Carol Silverman & Alex Marković
Bulgarian—Valeri Georgiev, Stoyan Kostov, Angel Dobrev
Greek Zourna—Eleni, Christos & Bobby Govetas
Turkish Roman & more—Tano Brock & Greg Jenkins
Group Sing—Macedonian & Bulgarian: Michele Simon
Rhodope Sing-Along—Mark Levy & Gajda Mafia
Brass/Romani—Michael Ginsburg, Benji Rifati, Carol Silverman
Student Ensembles play for your dancing pleasure (dance party begins at 8:00 p.m.)