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Bear Hug Mountain Festival 2024
Contra Dance & Music Camp
September 6 - 8, 2024
On the Shores of Beautiful Flathead Lake, Montana
Flathead Lake 1.jpg

Download a Bear Hug 2024 flyer for your dances and friends!

Get ready to contradance, sing, swim, canoe, and play music at the 2024 Bear Hug Mountain Festival weekend on the shores of Montana's Flathead Lake!  The bands, Contra Sutra and Swiftcurrent, will be providing the music to the calling of Susan Petrick and Christa Torrens Singles, couples, families, and all ages are welcome! Entertainment, meals, and lodging (shared cabins) are provided.  You can also tent or RV.  Hope to see ya!

Contra Sutra

Dave Bartley, on guitar, mandolin and cittern, combines a broad musical background with the rhythm sense of a drummer, providing an exciting and musical whirlwind of sound. He has played with the groundbreaking trio, KGB, for 30 years, and many other bands.  He has also written almost 400 contra, English and couple dance tunes!

Ben Schreiber, a fiddler and tune writer rooted in the contra dance scene, brings a diverse musical palette influenced by years in the San Francisco Bay Area. While best known for his contributions to contra dance bands like Uncle Farmer, the Dam Beavers, Offbeats, and Potent Brew, he also performs with the chamber-folk trio, Long Story Short.

Marni Rachmiel has been playing for contra and English country dances since 1990. Bringing soaring harmonies and funky groove on the flute & sax -- and matching tunes to dances for maximal dance ecstasy -- is her happy place.  Her improvisational CD, “Violet” with Reverie, is available on Bandcamp

Rich Scher, percussionist, has incredible musical depth: keyboard
player and percussionist for contra and English; songwriter/producer for
well-known recording artists; composer of contemporary classical music; K-8 music educator; and workshop clinician for classroom and music teachers.


Come and enjoy wild and scenic music from Swiftcurrent, an innovative and energetic band of accomplished musicians from the Flathead Valley and the Pacific Northwest.  

Barbara Calm, an early member of Flathead favorite Tra le Gael, brings hammered dulcimer, bouzouki and the occasional trombone to the band’s eclectic mix of instruments.  

Ed Boggs finds inspiration in almost every kind of music, from playing in reggae and rock bands, to founding the Tropical Montana Marimba Ensemble and playing in the Kalispell Irish Session and TLG.  He is a fiddler at heart, adding a solid rhythm guitar and bass to this ensemble.

Jason Foy anchors the group with proficiency on whistles, flutes and winds, bringing complexity, variety and playfulness to this band as well as TLG and every Irish session he can manage to find.

Julie Bennett is a Drummer and Percussionist from Olympia, WA, and has been playing Contra dances since 2009.  Drawing upon various styles of music, she adds a tasteful blend of instruments with the bands Contra Quartet, Olympia Volunteer String Band, Hot Seat, and many others.  Julie is also part of the Vashon Sessions recording project and an Irish Session instigator. 

Together they are Swiftcurrent, overflowing the boundaries of traditional Celtic music to lift your spirits as well as your feet!

Susan Petrick

An avid dancer for many years, Susan Petrick started calling for contra dances in 2000, and teaching couple dances, including waltz, cross-step waltz, and hambo, shortly thereafter. Susan lives in Redwood City, CA and has become a regional treasure with national prominence, calling for dance weekends and festivals throughout the country. She is known for her clear teaching, efficient guidance, and expert pacing, making even complex dances accessible to all. Recently retired, Susan is a cognitive psychologist who managed teams of User Experience researchers at Google.

Christa Torrens is an upbeat, engaging caller known for her stage presence, clear, concise teaching, and short walkthroughs. She found her way onto a festival dance floor in 2001 and has been an avid contra and English Country dancer ever since. Dance calling is a way to share her joy of dance with others, and she loves to get folks of all experience levels out on the floor and having fun. Christa has been calling contras since 2011 and English Country dances since 2020, and her dance selection and smooth voice have delighted dancers across the country. When she’s not calling or dancing, you can find her at work confronting ecological models with data or at play in the beautiful Mountain West.    

Christa Torrens.jpg
Christa Torrens
At Camp
At Camp

Camp opens at 4:00 PM on Friday. Upon reaching camp --

1)  Check in at the Dining Hall directly after parking your vehicle.

2)  Ask for a Camp Map which will show cabin layouts, number/types of rooms and beds and whether there's a same sex cabin, e.g. All Women's Cabin.

3)  Tour the camp to select your preferred cabin (note the cabin name!) and bunk. You might leave a jacket, personal item or note on the bunk to claim it.

4)  Note the name of the cabin and return to the Dining Hall to reserve the space.  (Or indicate tent/RV site.)

5)  After registering, you can drive to your cabin (or tent/RV site) to unload.

6)  Re-park your vehicle in the main lot above the Dining Hall.


You can choose bunks in more than a dozen rustic cabins of various sizes, or set up a tent along the shore or in an open field.  Other facilities include: dining hall; restroom and shower facilities; dock, swimming area and canoes; basketball and volleyball courts; ping pong pavilion; tenting and RV space.


Stove and refrigerator; living room and porch.  Bath and shower facilities are a short walk from the cabins.

Dining Hall



Local dancers will provide a potluck dinner on Friday night, 6:00 to 7:00 PM.  The camp provides three meals on Saturday, and breakfast and lunch on Sunday.  The kitchen staff will try to accommodate those with special dietary needs.  (Use comment line on registration form.)

What To Bring
  • smooth sole dance shoes

  • dance clothes

  • pillow

  • bedding (blankets, sheets, and/or sleeping bag)

  • warm clothing

  • rain gear

  • swim suit

  • towel

  • personal drink mug

  • musical instruments

  • cash for CDs 

  • toiletries

  • towel

  • ear plugs

NO dogs

NO alcohol or recreational drugs

NO indoor smoking

Park only in designated areas

  • smiles, humor & savoire faire

More Info
More Info

Friday evening begins with a potluck at 6:00 PM, supplied by local dancers, followed by a dance at 7:45 PM. 


The full weekend schedule will be available at registration or possibly here as a download later. 

Camp ends with lunch at 12:45 PM on Sunday. 


Cell reception may be spotty. Emergency phone messages can be left at (406) 844-3483.  There is Wi-Fi at the dining hall.


Dancing shoes should be without black rubber soles/heels -- with smooth leather soles -- to protect the dance floor from black marks. No outdoor shoes, please.

COVID Policy: Masks are optional and vaccinations are recommended but not required.

Directions to Camp
Directions to camp

Bear Hug is held at the Flathead Lake United Methodist Camp (FLUMC) located off Highway 93 on the western shore of the lake, between Polson and Somers.


Coming from the south on Highway 93, the Bear Hug ''turn here'' sign stands about three-quarters of a mile north of the Rollins Store, on the Right.


Coming from the north on Highway 93, look for the sign on your left at mile marker 89, about nine miles south of Lakeside. Turn east (left) onto Rollins Lakeshore Drive and follow the Bear Hug and Methodist camp signs, keeping to the middle fork at the Fire Hall.


Park in the lot above camp and walk to the dining hall to register,  You might bring a small personal item (i.e. pillow) you can put on a bed to claim it.


Once you decide on a cabin you can drive there to unload.

Click the map for a Google map!

Registration and Fees
Registration & Fees
Registration is limited to 110, so sign up early!  Enrollment is on a first-come, first served basis but we must receive your payment in order to reserve your spot.
Sliding Scale Fees
In order to make Bear Hug more affordable for some, we have instituted a sliding schedule for adult registration fees.  The break-even amount of $255 pays for the dance and music programming, and room and board costs.  Those who pay more than the break-even amount help to fund those who are unable to pay that much.
  • Adults (sliding scale):  $240 | $255 (break-even) | $275 | $295  |

  • Students:  $130  

  • Children 10 & under: $80  

  • Worker Bears: $130  We offer a limited number of work scholarships.   Check the box on the registration form below.

How To Register in 3 Steps
Note: On step #3 below, clicking on "PAYPAL" or "CHECK" will take you to the appropriate section.)
  1. FIRST, fill out the registration below for each and all registrants.  This means everyone in your group.   (If the form "freezes" up, please call Sky Cova at (406) 459-1811 to register.)

  2.  . . . and then click  SUBMIT on the registration form.

  3. Pay with PAYPAL (see section below) or mail us a CHECK (address below.)  If using PayPal (or by check), you can pay for yourself or your group.  Click either an individual button (Adult, Student, or Child) or click the PayPal Group button.

Registration Form & Questions


Questions about registration or the festival?  Please contact Sky Cova.  Please fill out the Registration Form FIRST before paying with PayPal or Check. 

Sky's phone: (406) 459-1811
Sky's email:
Bear Hug 2024 Registration Form
  • You MUST complete and SUBMIT this form for yourself and for EACH person in your group.
  • You are not considered registered until we receive your payment. Register first using this form, and then pay by PayPal or Check back on the main Bear Hug webpage (below this form.)
  • No email? Please use a friend's email or type ""
  • * = Required answer (must answer or submission won't work!)
Registrant Type

If you have more than one person in your group, you can pay for all of them with one payment using PayPal or with a check. 

Sliding Scale Fees explanation

In order to make Bear Hug more affordable for some, we have instituted a sliding scale for adult registration fees.  The break-even amount of $255 pays for the dance and music programming, and room and board costs.  Those who pay more than the break-even amount help to fund those who are unable to pay that much. 

Payment grid (sliding scale)*

(Age 10 & under)

Participant's List
Dietary Preferences
Email me info on ordering a 40th anniversay Bear Hug t-shirt!
Payment Type

Thanks for registering. See you there! 
Please don't forget to pay by PayPal or Check, right below this form.

Sliding Scale Fees (PayPal and Check)
In order to make Bear Hug more affordable for some, we have instituted a sliding schedule for adult registration fees.  The break-even amount of $255 pays for the dance and music programming, and room and board costs.  Those who pay more than the break-even amount help to fund those who are unable to pay that much. 
Individual Payment (link) Click the appropriate "Buy Now" box below under Individual Sliding Scale.  Or click pay by check.

Group Payment (link):  Total the fees for each camper using the Group Payment Grid and click "Buy Now."  Enter the total in PayPal.  Or click pay by check.

<<<----------------------------------------Individual Sliding Scale (Adult)---------------------------------------->>>

Adult ($240)

PayPal ButtonPayPal Button

Adult ($255)

PayPal ButtonPayPal Button

Adult ($275)

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Adult ($295)

PayPal ButtonPayPal Button

Child ($80) 10 & under

PayPal ButtonPayPal Button

Student ($130)

PayPal ButtonPayPal Button

Worker Bear ($130)

PayPal ButtonPayPal Button

Group Payment Grid (Group / Couple / Family)

Total up fees for all group members and pay one amount


Camper 1     $240     $255*     $275     $295          $130 (Student)     $80 (Child)     $130 (Worker Bear)

Camper 2     $240     $255*     $275     $295          $130 (Student)     $80 (Child)     $130 (Worker Bear)

Camper 3     $240     $255*     $275     $295          $130 (Student)     $80 (Child)     $130 (Worker Bear)

Camper 4     $240     $255*     $275     $295          $130 (Student)     $80 (Child)     $130 (Worker Bear)

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1. Make payment to:

Missoula Folklore Society

2. Please mail to:

Bear Hug

c/o Missoula Folklore Society

PO Box 9296

Missoula, MT 59807

3.  On your check, please note if you're paying as a Group (family).  If a Group (family), please indicate your Group (family) name on your check in the comment field.

Cancellation Policy
For cancellations received before August 20th, $40 will be retained. For cancellations after August 20, no refund will be made.  For cancellations due to health reasons at any time, please contact Sky Cova.  Phone: (406) 459-1811.  Email:
Looking forward to dancing with you!

Last updated May 14, 2024

The 2024 Bear Hug Committee: Marty Albini, Georgia Cobbs, Sky Cova, and Julie Kahl.
The Bear Hug Mountain Festival was founded in 1984 by Robert Logan, Lael Diehm, Michelle "Sunni" (Stolpa) Bradshaw, Carla Majernik, Tamara (Blank) Gatchell, Rex Blazer, Gary Morris, and Teri (Vehrs) Vore.  Since 1984, many MFS members have stepped up to organize, shape, and run the festival.  It was the first contra dance weekend festival in Montana and helped spawn the [re]birth of the Missoula Folklore Society under the guidance of Mike Sweet, Rick Ryan, John Joyner, "Sunni," and several others.  - Robert Logan
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