Mud City Old-Time Society

Mud City Old-Time Society was incorporated as a nonprofit in 2016. Founded by local enthusiasts, our mission is to promote traditional American old-time music and dance opportunities in the Southern Willamette Valley. Based in Eugene, Oregon, our organization is run entirely by volunteers and presents concerts, workshops, jams and square dances in the community year-round. We also host an annual multi-day music festival, the Willamette Valley Old-Time Social.

Mud City provides opportunities to experience this music and dance tradition that dates back long before the invention of recorded sound. Our hosted jams offer access for community members to play tunes from the traditional repertoire as well as explore new interpretations. Our concerts bring national-level artists from across the country to Eugene to share their take on traditional music. Our dances provide opportunities to come together and enjoy one of the oldest forms of American social dance – the square dance. We continue the legacy of this traditional knowledge to community members of the Willamette Valley with fun and inclusivity!

Woman playing fiddle in old-time music group at night around campfire

What is Old-Time Music?

Old-time is music that folks play for their own enjoyment on front porches and in kitchens with friends, or for community halls for square dances. Old-Time is the precursor to bluegrass music, and many of the tunes are shared between genres, as well as the instrumentation which includes fiddles, acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin, upright bass, to name a few. Since Old-Time is dance music at its core, musicians don’t often take “breaks” or solos, as is common in bluegrass music. Additionally, special tunings are often used for specific keys (like “cross tuning” a fiddle), which means we usually pick a key and stick with it for several tunes in a row.

We welcome new players and dancers of all skill-levels to our jams and square dances, as all of our events provide easy ways for you to come, plug in, and enjoy live music and dance with us!

Concerts and Workshops

We’ve hosted dozens of regional and national artists for concerts and workshops on banjo, guitar, fiddle, voice, square dance calling, and dance. Check the calendar for upcoming events!

Square Dances

Ready to dance? Curious about square dancing? Old-time square dancing is taught by the caller, so you don’t need any experience, special clothes or shoes, or even a partner because there will be lots of great people to dance with! Mud City square dances are inclusive for people of all gender-identities and ages. You can dance with anyone you want! Many dance callers today also use gender-free calls and we generally try to invite these callers to wrangle our dances. 


Like playing music? Looking to play more? We’ve been hosting public jams for years – these events are open to all, but tunes are played up to speed! Feel free to bring a tune or few you’d like to lead, or just come to follow along, as a local artist or band leads selections from their repertoire of traditional fiddle tunes and songs. Come shred with us!

We also host slow jams especially for beginners. New to jamming with others? ​Want to take some extra time to practice starting tunes in a supportive group? Working on a new tune you might need some help with? If playing tunes “up to speed” feels challenging, this is the jam for you as we play tunes more slowly. It’s a great place to meet new people to play with and get comfortable jamming in a low-pressure environment. Feel free (but don’t feel obligated!) to bring snacks and drinks to share. Can’t wait to see you there!

Artists We’ve Hosted

  • Allison DeGroot
  • Betty Vornbrock & Billy Cornette Duo 
  • Breakers Yard
  • Bruce Molsky
  • Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms
  • Che Apalache
  • Clinton Davis
  • Crankset String Band
  • Dan Levenson
  • Erynn Marshall and Carl Jones
  • Feral Chicken Stringband
  • Flat Rock String Band
  • Gabrielle Macrae & Barry Southern
  • Gossamer Strings
  • Hokum Hi-Flyers
  • Howard Rains & Tricia Spencer
  • Ky Burt
  • Lewis & Spence
  • Molsky’s Mountain Drifters
  • Rebecca Stout
  • Red Tail Ring
  • Richie Stearns & Rosie Newton
  • Riley Calcagno & Viv Leva
  • Slippery Slope Stringband
  • Stash Wyslouch
  • Sugar Pine String Band
  • The Bow Weevils
  • The Eugene Barnstormers
  • The Horsenecks
  • The Kirk Sutphin & Bertram Levy Duo
  • The Local Honeys
  • The Onlies
  • The Skeleton Keys
  • W.B. Reid & Bonnie Zahnow
  • Yodelady