FAQs for Attendees – 2020


Q: What is the registration timeline?
A: For 2020 it is as follows:

December 1, 2019 – The Swannanoa Gathering pre-registration opens when the newsletter is mailed to everyone on our mailing list. Online pre-registration opens December 1st. To find out what it means to pre-register, read “What is pre-registration and how can it help me get the classes I want?” below.

February 7, 2020 – Pre-registration closes at 5:00 pm EST (no exceptions)

Early Registration – Pre-registrants will receive emails, catalogs and cover letters with class registration information.  Early registration opens February 29th, 2020 at 11am EST.  Pre-registrants must sign up for classes before General Registration opens in March, in order to get an early chance at class selections.

Early March – The mass mailing of the catalog will go out via the USPS to the general mailing list.

March 16th, 2020 11am EDT– Catalog appears on the website and General Registration opens online.

May 31st– Final payments are due.

Q: When does registration for the following summer begin?
A: Pre-registration for the 2021 workshops begins late November/Early December, 2020 and runs through February (TBA), 2021 at 5:00 pm EST. General registration opens on March (TBA), 2021.

Q: When will online registration be available?
A: Early registration for those who pre-registered starts February 29th, 2020.

Q: What is pre-registration and how can it help me get the classes I want?
A: Pre-registration begins when our Fall Newsletter is published. The newsletter lists the staff that have confirmed to teach for the summer. Once the newsletter arrives, you can fill out the pre-registration form online by paying a $100 deposit and letting us know which week you wish to attend. Once pre-registration ends, all pre-registrants have access to Early Registration. You receive a digital copy of the catalog and have first dibs at getting the classes you want. While it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get all the classes you want, pre-registration definitely gives you the best chance at doing so. The bulk mailing of the catalog will go into the US Postal system in early March, so during this ‘grace period’ you have a head start on registering for classes.

Q: I’ll be registering for classes and want to bring my partner/spouse. What are the rates and what kind of activities are available?
A: Non-students can pay a $185 activity fee to gain access to all of the Gathering events except classes. This includes concerts, dances, jams, student showcases, etc. During the day while the students are at classes, they have access to the Warren Wilson College gym, pool (TBA- currently under construction), library, trails and student center. Some weeks also offer massage, meditation or yoga classes in the mornings. If you and your partner/spouse choose to live on campus, each of you would pay the shared room fee of $470. This includes a double room and full meal plan. You can read more about Non-student activities on the Non-student Activities page.

Q: I’d like to make this a family vacation. What kinds of activities do you have that might be appropriate for my children?
A: For children 6-12, we offer a Children’s Program during our Traditional Song, Celtic, and Old-Time Weeks. You can read more about the Children’s Program here. For older children, our classes do not have age limits, so we recommend enrolling your child in a class or two but we require that all students, especially minors, be sincerely interested in the class subject and not a distraction to others.



Q: How are the classes scheduled and how many classes can I take?
A: Each class is a five-day course of study. The classes run Monday-Friday and are held at the same time each day. So if you choose to take a 9:00 AM Fiddle class, you will meet with the class Monday-Friday at 9:00 AM in the same room. Our program’s ‘open’ format encourages students to take several courses a day. For example, a fiddle player may take a class in her instrument in the morning, then, after lunch, a dance class that uses tunes from her fiddle class, and a folklore class in the afternoon describing the cultural context in which both tunes and dances developed. How many classes you take is an individual decision. You can take from 1 to 3 or 4, depending on the week.

Q: How long are the classes?
A: Classes are usually an hour and 15 minutes and are schedules from 9:00 in the morning to 4:00 or 5:00 in the evening, depending on the week you choose.

Q: How large are the classes? Do you have waiting lists?
A: Classes limits are typically 15, but most weeks offer a few unlimited enrollment classes as well. Once a class fills, we begin a waiting list based on a first-come, first-served policy. The earlier you get on the waiting list, the better your odds of getting off. Once a student makes a class change or cancels their registration, we offer their slot to the next person on the waitlist. Some of our busier weeks tend to fill very quickly, so we recommend registering early.

Q: Are there age limits for class participants?
A: We welcome and encourage students of all ages to attend our classes. We do not have an age limit for class participants and just ask that the student be sincerely interested in the subject and not a distraction to others. Participants under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Q: How/where can/do I register for classes?
A: Anyone can register for classes by filling out the registration form on our website or by mailing in the registration form at the back of the catalog. We are unable to take registrations over the phone.

Q: How do I know which skill level to register for?
A: Our students come from all backgrounds and skill levels, from complete beginners to serious hobbyists to professional musicians. Some class descriptions define required skills in detail, but when the following terms appear, Beginner refers to those with no experience at all, or those who play some but are not yet comfortable with the basics. Intermediate students should have mastered basic skills, and be able to tune their instruments, keep time, play the principal chords and scales cleanly, and know how to play a few tunes with confidence (dancers should know basic steps and figures, and how to lead and/or follow). Advanced students should be very comfortable with their instruments and able to focus on style, arrangement and ornamentation.

Q: Can I get credit for the classes I take?
A: The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has allowed three hours of Teaching Certificate Renewal Credit for each week of the Swannanoa Gathering. Interested teachers should contact their local school board for prior approval.

Q: Will there be down time to practice and/or relax?
A: Students may choose to take a class during each of the offered class periods, but concentration on a few classes is strongly recommended. You can use open class period for practice or to schedule a massage with the massage therapist, take a walk on the campus trails, take a nap, enjoy a yoga class, head to the gym or the pool or just sit and enjoy a new friend. Your schedule is entirely up to you!



Q: How much is tuition?
A: Tuition is $590 for 2020. You can read more about our fees here.

Q: Is there a deposit required for registration?
A: Yes – there is a $100 deposit for students, $50 deposit for non-students and $25 deposit for the Children’s Program.

Q: Are there work study/volunteer positions available?
A: Yes – click here to read more about our Work Exchange Program

Q:What is the total amount to attend a week of camp – I can’t seem to find the total cost on your website?
A: Your total cost will depend on whether or not you are staying on campus and if you so, whether you are paying for a shared or single room.
Tuition is $590 to take classes, Shared Housing/Meals is $470 and Single Housing/Meals is $670.
If you are not staying on campus, you can purchase a meal ticket separately or purchase meals individually.
Your total could be:
Tuition Only (not staying on campus): $590
Tuition + Shared Housing/Meals: $1060
Tuition + Single Housing/Meals: $1260



Q: What kinds of housing accommodations are available?
A: Click here to read more about housing.

Q: Are there private rooms?
A: We do have a limited number of single rooms available at an additional fee of $200 for a total of $670.

Q: I need air conditioning!
A: There are a limited number of air conditioned rooms. Our Housing Coordinator does their best to accommodate, especially for medical conditions (doctor’s notes), but there is no way to guarantee an air conditioned room to all who request one. If you need an absolute guarantee, we recommend you look into staying off campus. There are several airbnb options in the area, searching for “Swannanoa, NC”.

Q: I have a specific building request for housing.
A: We cannot guarantee building requests, but please feel free to mention your request in your full registration.

Q: I want to room with a specific roommate.
A: During full registration, there will be a space to list a roommate request. Folks should list each other on their registrations. You do not request roommates, buildings, or air conditioning during pre-registration. This is done during full registration (either early or general). During pre-registration, you are just indicating whether you want a single room (extra fee), shared room, or that you don’t need housing at all.

Q: Is it possible to camp on the campus? Are there alternatives to staying in the residence halls?
A: We do not allow camping on the campus, but there are campsites nearby. Airbnb is a great resource, as well. Search for “Swannanoa, NC”Click here for a list of local off-campus options.

Q: Can you tell me about the individual meals vs. full meal plan?
A: Anyone choosing to live on campus is given a full meal plan as part of his or her housing fee. Those living off-campus can choose to either purchase individual meals as needed, or purchase the full meal plan. Individual meals for adults are $7.85 breakfast, $9.35 lunch and $10.85 supper.  For children age 6-12 individually purchased meals cost $6.00 breakfast, $6.65 lunch and $8.25 supper. The cost of buying all meals individually is $1.05 cheaper than buying a meal plan.

Q: I have special dietary requirements, can you accommodate them?
A: The College is catered by Sodexo (828-298-1041), and low-sodium, gluten free, vegetarian and vegan meals are available upon request. Please let us know in writing what your diet consists of and we will communicate with the kitchen staff before your arrival.

Q: I can find a cheaper flight if I arrive Saturday instead of Sunday, can I check in a day early?
A: Due to the rapid turnover of the residence halls each week, we do not allow early arrivals. Please contact our office for a list of nearby hotels or hotels close to the airport.

Q: Are RVs allowed on campus?
A: No, RVs are not allowed on campus. Warren Wilson College’s policy states: “Due to limited parking on campus, no vehicle over 8400lbs. GVW (gross vehicle weight) will be permitted to park on college property. The exceptions to this will be visiting school buses for athletic events and tour buses.”



Q: I may have to cancel my registration. Can I get a refund?
A: The deposits are required for registration and are processing fees credited toward tuition and not student funds held in escrow, and are thus non-refundable and non-transferable. Should an enrolled student need to cancel, we can refund all monies collected other than deposits, if notified four weeks before his/her classes beginNo refunds other than the cost of meals ($160 for adults, $120 for children) can be made within four weeks of the event.



Q: Will there be vendors on site?
A: We will have several vendors on hand, including:

  • Michael Ginsburg (Tune Town), offering recordings and other staff items. Contact Michael via email here.
  • Acoustic Corner (www.acoustic-corner.com), offering instruments, rentals, accessories, books, and musical supplies. Those wishing to rent instruments or special order items should contact Acoustic Corner in advance.
  • Jeff Sims, LMT, a massage therapist and teacher will be offering massage and movement therapy on campus on the Health Center porch. He specializes in the treatment of chronic pain and orthopedic rehabilitation, as well as helping musicians, vocalists, dancers and athletes at all levels — from novice to world class professionals —  and can also provide a more general relaxation massage for rejuvenation. He has been practicing and teaching nationally and internationally since 2002. He’s happy to answer your questions and wants to help make your Gathering experience the very best. JeffSimsLMT@GMail.Com.