The Jalopy Theatre and School of Music is a home for music and music-makers: a multi-faceted arts space celebrating traditional folk music through live performances and communal learning. We showcase folk, roots, bluegrass, country, blues and traditional world music at our live concerts, the Brooklyn Folk Festival and other music festivals, and through our record label, Jalopy Records. We also offer classes and performing ensembles for youth, outreach in local schools, and group instruction and workshops for adults. We support folk artists by providing not only a stage for performance, but also employment: folk artists teach our classes, work in the Theatre as sound engineers and bartenders. We also offer learning opportunities to high school and college interns from across New York City who are interested in traditional arts and the music business.
Husband and wife team Geoff and Lynette Wiley founded Jalopy in Red Hook, Brooklyn, in 2006 with the hope of fostering a community around a shared appreciation of traditional roots music. Jalopy Theatre seeks both to support local and traveling artists, and to educate students and audiences new to this music and culture. Jalopy Theatre recently joined forces with Living Traditions, a nonprofit organization, founded in 1994, dedicated to preserving, promoting and perpetuating traditional folk music. For thirty years, Living Traditions produced the wildly successful KlezKamp, a beloved annual Yiddish folk arts gathering in the Catskills. Living Traditions’ own programming ended in 2014, and we are proud to be taking up their mission as our own. Through this relationship, Jalopy Theatre is now able to operate as a nonprofit organization, which offers us new opportunities to connect with our community, strengthen our organization, and continue to evolve as we begin our second decade.
The stage has welcomed scores of notable performers, including Alice Gerrard, Robert Crumb, Spider John Koerner, Wayne Henderson, Happy Traum, Wayne Hancock and Sam Shepard. Some of the greats from the last folk revival, like John Cohen and Baby Gramps, play alongside up-and-coming artists like Alynda Lee, Jerron Paxton, Gill Landry and Dom Flemons, who make up the flourishing young folk scene we have helped foster in New York City.
At Jalopy Theatre we prize the handmade, the analog, the authentic, the face-to-face experience. We offer music experiences that are grass roots, non-corporate, and participatory. We provide opportunities for musical traditions to be transmitted across generations, in a communal learning environment that supports joy in music making for people of all ages and abilities. We seek to be a home for the artists, audiences, and students who form and contribute to our community. We invite you to come on down to the Jalopy Theatre for a concert, to take a class, to make friends, and to share with us your love for traditional roots music.
Read more detailed information on our many services/offerings below.
The Music School at Jalopy
The music school teaches students to play the music that they hear on stage. Classes are taught with a light-hearted, song-based learning style, students can begin learning the music immediately. The group classes provide support, encouragement and friendships to the students learning to play. For adults, classes in banjo, guitar, mandolin, ukulele, fiddle, clog dancing and vocal lessons are offered in five sessions each year. Weekends feature musical workshops covering everything from learning to play the washboard or harmonica, to music theory, to lectures on the history of American string bands, to lectures on specific musical genres, styles and regions. Classes are taught by New York performing artists, workshops are taught by musicians from around the world. Financial Aid is available for all offerings. Please write to Lynette@jalopytheatre.org to inquire.
Jalopy Jr. Folk
Jalopy’s Jr. Folk School features classes taught in the folk tradition. Students work in groups to master their instrument, then play in ensemble classes with all instruments represented. Jalopy Jr. Folk School also includes the Making Music program, a ukulele-based music education program for 6-9 year olds. Our performance schedule includes weekly family entertainment shows, from a variety show, to bands, to a family sing-a-long. Financial Aid is available for all classes, please write to Lynette@jalopytheatre.org to inquire.
Brooklyn Folk Festival
The Jalopy Theatre co-hosts the Brooklyn Folk Festival each year, a three-day festival featuring more than 35 local bands, instrumental and vocal workshops, jam sessions, competitions and games. Each year the festival grows, bringing more people in the tri-city area to hear and play folk music. Festival founder and co-host Eli Smith, of the Down Home Radio Show, notes that while Brooklyn has been the home of legendary folk musicians, this is the first folk festival to be held in the Borough of Brooklyn. For more information, visit www.brooklynfolkfest.com and www.downhomeradioshow.com.
The Jalopy Theatre presents other annual festivals, please join us for
The Jalopy International Music Festival, a two day festival presenting acts that draw from NYC’s diverse wellspring of international talent. Every June!
The Washington Square Park Folk Festival:
The Washington Square Park Folk Festival features the best of local New York and sometimes national talent in the field of folk music - including old time string bands, Blues, jug bands, traditional Mexican and Balkan music, songwriters, New Orleans Jazz, Klezmer music and more! Washington Square Park is a historic site for American folk music in New York City and nationally going back to the 1940’s, through the 50's and 60's and continuing until today. Founded by Eli Smith in 2011, this FREE festival is held every September.
The Roots n Ruckus Festival is an annual celebration of Roots n Ruckus, a weekly music series hosted by Feral Foster. This music extravaganza runs for 4 days, with 2 stages, 30 bands and is FREE. The Roots n Ruckus Festival is held every December.
The Mid-Winter Jug Band Renadezous is a new festival, starting in 2018. The Mid-Winter Jug Band Renadezous will bring string and jug bands from around New York and the country, for two days of music, workshops and film screenings. The festival will be in February each year.
Uncle Shlomo Community Through Music
The Jalopy Theatre runs the Uncle Shlomo Community Through Music Program, a music education run at New York City Public Schools. The program is a weekly music enrichment class incorporating finger plays, call and response songs, dances, partnering games, and songs based on both traditional folk music and original material, allowing for musical exposure, creative expression and fun. Instructors Suzi Shelton and Hilary Kostanowski bring in special guest musicians to play a variety of instruments including the ukulele, banjo, fiddle, guitar, percussion and bass. The program currently runs at PS. 56 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
Jalopy Records is the in-house record label for the Jalopy Theatre and School of Music, located in Redhook, Brooklyn, NY. The Jalopy Theatre is a grassroots community music venue and cultural center dedicated to folk music from the United States and around the world.
Lance and April Ledbetter
Peter Macapia, PhD
Board of Directors