Our Mission

Statement of Purpose:

A culture’s identity is embodied in its folk music. Communities have invested their genius in this music for generations, across the centuries, and its vitality is our legacy and its perpetuation our responsibility.

Our Mission:

We are engaged in the transmission of culture. Our mission is to preserve, promote and pass on the traditions that will insure the future of our priceless folk heritage.


Founded in 1991 by Warren Wilson College President Emeritus Douglas M. Orr, Jr., under the leadership of Director Jim MagillThe Swannanoa Gathering is an educational program of the college, consisting of a series of week-long workshops in various folk arts held in July and August on the campus of Warren Wilson College just east of Asheville in the heart of North Carolina’s beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

With a limited enrollment and an ‘open’ format which allows each student to select their own curriculum from a variety of courses, we offer an intimate, supportive community experience for students of all abilities, featuring a staff of some of the finest performers and teachers in the world. For a more detailed account of our history see Our First 20 Years.