Heart of the Arts Festival starts today in Titusville

TITUSVILLE – HOTAfest or Heart of the Arts Folk Festival is underway this weekend in Titusville. The festival features hands-on workshops that celebrate bluegrass, Irish Celtic, gospel, Scottish, Civil War, folk and mountain music genres. There will also be visual arts and crafts.

hotaIt begins today and continues through Sunday at the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville. This year marks the fifth time that Titusville Council on the Arts has hosted the festival in Titusville.

“Every year, visitors from Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and Canada come to Titusville to experience HOTAfest. In addition to sharing a love of music, art and dance, they also come for the opportunity to experience the history, beauty and hospitality of Titusville,” said Ashley Eichhorn-Thompson, executive director of Titusville Council on the Arts. “We are thrilled to have the beautiful campus of University of Pittsburgh at Titusville partner with us to host this festival and enjoy watching it grow and evolve with each passing year.”

Pre-registration costs $65 for unlimited workshops. Individual workshops are $20 each. Concerts today and Saturday and the contra dance on Saturday are free and open to the public.-

Highlights of this year’s HOTAfest include performances by John McCutcheon, Rachel Eddy and the Great Groove Band.

McCutcheon is described as folk music’s Renaissance man. He is a master instrumentalist, Grammy nominated singer/songwriter, storyteller, activist and author. McCutcheon will present a workshop on songwriting Saturday during the festival and perform a free concert at 8 p.m. Saturday. He has written hundreds of songs and garnered more than his share of accolades. His eclectic catalog of ballads, historical songs, children’s songs, love songs, topical satire, fiddle and hammer dulcimer instruments, and even symphonic works are among the broadest in American folk music. His 36 albums have earned six Grammy nominations. His song writing has been hailed by critics around the world. His song “Christmas in the Trenches” is considered a classic and was named one of the 100 Essential Folk Songs.

Eddy will bring to the stage her fiddle, guitar, banjo and song along with stories of American music from around the world. She will be performing a free concert at 8 p.m. today and hosting the contra dance at 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

Eddy grew up in the hills of West Virginia where she was steeped in Appalachian music and dance from a very young age. She has traveled and taught old-time music throughout Europe where she has lived for the last many years

“We are delighted to welcome her back to the U.S. and to her first HOTAfest,” Eichhorn-Thompson said.

A new addition to HOTAfest this year is the Great Groove Band for Young Musicians. They will have two workshops for students ages 6 to 18 years old who play an instrument and/or sing. The workshops are scheduled from 9:30 to 11 a.m. today and from 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday. The students will then get to perform on stage at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Cost is $20 per student and includes both workshops. Registration can be made by calling (814) 827-2381 or emailing tca@zoominternet.net.

More information is available online at www.HOTAfest.com.

The Titusville Council on the Arts is an organization dedicated to keeping arts alive and growing in Titusville. Programming for Titusville Council on the Arts includes Concerts in the Park, Youth Theater & Theater Camp, Fine Art Exhibit & Chalk Walk, HOTAfest and more.


Noon – Check in begins

4 to 5:30 p.m. – Presenter meet and greet

5:30 to 7 p.m. – Dinner

7 to 8 p.m. – Jam session

8 to 9 p.m. – Free outdoor concert with Rachel Eddy

9 to 10 p.m. – Jam session


7:30 to 8:30 a.m. – Breakfast

8:45 to 10:15 a.m. – Workshop session

10:30 a.m. to noon – Workshop session

12:15 to 1:15 p.m. – Lunch

1:30 to 3 p.m. – Workshop session

3:15 to 4:45 p.m. – Workshop session

5 to 6 p.m. -Dinner

6:30 to 7:45 p.m. – Talent showcase with Great Groove Band

8 to 9:15 p.m. – Free outdoor concert with John McCutcheon

9:30 to 10:30 p.m. – Contra dance


7:30 to 8:30 a.m. – Breakfast

8:45 to 10:15 a.m. – Hymn sing and workshop session

10:30 a.m. to noon – Jam session/goodbye