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Bear Hug Mountain Festival 2023
Contra Dance & Music Camp
September 6 - 8, 2023
On the Shores of Beautiful Flathead Lake, Montana
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Get ready to contradance, sing, swim, canoe, and play music at the 2023 Bear Hug Mountain Festival weekend on the shores of Montana's Flathead Lake! The bands, Bandáge à Trois and Toss the Possum, will be providing the music to the calling of Cis Hinkle and Brenda Goodwin. 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!


Bandáge à Trois (David Combs, piano accordion; Tom Goodwin, bass; Kristi Austin, flute) has been playing an eclectic mix of danceable tunes from the British Isles, France, northern Europe, French Canada, and the United States, since 2007. They delight in finding interesting tunes and combining them into sets that will work perfectly with the dance and propel the dancers in a smooth but exciting manner to each dance’s finish.


Long-time dancers themselves, they understand that the music should assist the dancers by providing a strong, steady beat and interesting but understandable melodies that aid the caller in providing a successful experience for the dancers. Bándage à Trois carefully chooses sets of tunes that provide a canvas with which the caller and dancers can create an exciting and satisfying work of art. The band delights in seeing the dancers have a whopping great time on the dance floor.

Rob Zisette is an incredibly versatile player. His great sense of humor comes through his fiddling and singing. He can emote lyricism, take on the high energy of Klezmer styling, create hauntingly beautiful Celtic sounds, and tear it up on a driving southern fiddle tune. Rob adds other colors to the band with his beat-boxing and his varied toys (including a trumpet kazoo!)

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Laura Zisette (sometimes dubbed “Mama Possum”) is a classically trained pianist. She never wanted to play contra piano but broke her toe in the first 15 minutes of a dance camp.  What to do?  Answer: work with Bob McQuillen who was on staff and became her mentor.  When she started her family band, she obsessed over clever arrangements, which her kids grudgingly learned and then, at the gig, played whatever they wanted!  Over time, she learned to let go of her expectations for perfection.  From her kids she learned that spontaneity is more fun and can create magical moments!

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Cis Hinkle

Cis Hinkle is a "facilitator of fun" who has delighted dancers for decades with her skilled teaching, welcoming manner, playful enthusiasm, and masterful selection of dances. She’s in great demand at music and dance festivals all over the US, England, Denmark, and beyond. When not on the road, Cis teaches Tai Chi classes in her native Atlanta, Georgia.

Brenda Goodwin has been calling for more than 20 years and is one of the main callers and organizers in Salt Lake City. She has called all over the Western United States for both weekends and community dances. She is passionate about providing a fun and interesting dance program that is explained with efficiency and personality. You will delight in smooth, flowy favorites and new dances that you may not have seen before. Get ready for fun!

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Brenda Goodwin

Sore back, legs, or arms from dancing or just need to relax?  We're pleased to announce there will be a licensed massage therapist at camp, maybe two!  You'll be able to book an appointment in a private setting. Ahhhh...

At Camp

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

At Camp

Camp opens at 4:30 PM on Friday.  Upon reaching camp --

1) Check in at the Dining Hall 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 and bunk. You might leave a jacket, personal item or note on the bunk to claim it.

4) Note the name of the cabin.

5) Return to the Dining Hall and reserve the space.

6) After registering, you can drive to your cabin to unload.

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.


Local dancers will provide a potluck dinner on Friday night, 6:00 to 8:00 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.)

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What To Bring
  • smooth sole dance shoes

  • dance clothes

  • pillow

  • warm sleeping bag

  • warm clothing

  • rain gear

  • toiletries

  • towel

  • ear plugs

  • swim suit

  • towel

  • personal drink mug

  • musical instruments

  • cash for CDs and/or massages...

  • optional: tent

NO dogs

NO alcohol or recreational drugs

NO indoor smoking

Park only in designated areas

More Info
More Info

The Friday evening dance is at 8:00 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.

Massages!  For 2023, we're pleased to announce there will be a licensed massage therapist at camp, Bring money to pay for massages.


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

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 & 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.
Fees (For early bears!)
  • Adults:  $259

  • Students:  $145  

  • Children 10 & under: $70  

  • Plush Bear (for generous donors...thank you!):  $299  (Includes CD + Bear Hug logo tote bag)

  • Scholarships: We offer a limited number of Work Scholarships .  Contact: Sky Cova at 406-459-1811 or email

How To Register
3 Steps  (On step #3, 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. Click SUBMIT for each registrant.

  3. Pay with PAYPAL (see form below) or mail us a CHECK (address below.)  If using PayPal, you must pay for each individual in your group separately.  (Sorry for the inconvenience.)   You can write a single check.

Registration Form


Questions about registration or the festival? 
Please contact Sky Cova.  Otherwise, please proceed!

Sky's phone: (406) 459-1811
Sky's email:
 Bear Hug Registration 2023
  • You MUST complete this form for each person in your group.
  • You are not considered registered until we receive your payment.
  • No email? Please type in the Email field.
  • * = Required answer*
Participants' List ? (Distributed at camp)
Special Discounted Pricing (limited availability)
Payment type

Thanks for registering for our event. To secure your spot, be sure to pay through PayPal or by mailing us a check. See you there!

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:
(Please use a desktop or laptop with PayPal.  Save your smart phone for bear videos. :)

Adult ($259)

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Student ($145)

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Plush Bear ($299)

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Includes CD & Bear Hug Logo tote bag

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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

Donate (optional)

A small donation ($5 or more) will help offset electronic processing fees and further our mission. 

Thank You!

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The Missoula Folklore Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and all donations are used to support dances, concerts, and dance festivals such as The Bear Hug Mountain Festival.

Last updated April 21, 2023

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