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Common Ground on the Hill celebrates 20 years of Traditions Weeks

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May 30, 2014

Hundreds of people will flock to the Hill this summer for Common Ground on the Hill’s 20th annual Traditions Weeks and Roots Music Festival.

The July 12-13 Festival at the Carroll County Farm Museum will feature headliner Hot Tuna, a trio that spawned from Jefferson Airplane, with New Riders of the Purple Sage and Professor Louie and the Crowmatix. Other performers include Ronstadt Generations, Révellions!, Josh Hisle and many more. For information and tickets, visit

On campus June 29-July 4 and July 6-11 are the two separate weeks of classes, concerts and other activities in the traditional roots-based arts. Classes feature nearly every traditional instrument from guitar and mountain dulcimer to native American flute and tin whistle, filmmaking, nonviolent problem-solving, poetry, storytelling, songwriting, folk dance, yoga, a dugout canoe project and a huge selection of visual arts, ranging from blacksmithing to bowl carving to digital painting. Youth World Village is offered both weeks for children of camp enrollees.

Concerts and dances are offered to the public at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. respectively every night of the Traditions Weeks. Admission for evening programs is $10. Children 12 and under are free. Admission to art lectures and shows at 6:45 p.m. in Rice Gallery is also free.

Common Ground on the Hill celebrates 20 years of Traditions Weeks

Keynote speaker Leo Eaton, will address participants of week one at 8 p.m. June 30 and show excerpts from his six-part PBS documentary series titled “Sacred Journeys,” which follows American pilgrims on some of the world’s greatest journeys of faith. During week two, Jeff Singer will deliver a keynote address titled “Policing and Politicizing the Commons: the Criminalization of Homelessness and the Struggle for Justice” at 8 p.m. July 7. Both lectures are open to the public.

Unique to this year’s program will be a musical tribute to the late Pete Seeger, who was a member of the Common Ground on the Hill (CGOTH) advisory board at its founding in 1994. It will take place both weeks following the keynote address.

“(Seeger) visited us twice during our first 19 years, leading us in song, encouraging and reminding us that small organizations are capable of doing big things,” said Bill Troxler, founding president of CGOTH.

The small organization housed in the basement of Thompson Hall has certainly delivered a far-reaching impact – whether rescuing the Deer Creek Fiddlers Festival from closing down or bringing Common Ground to Seminary Ridge and the U.S.-Mexico – and perhaps none more transformative than its Veterans Initiative.

Now in its third year, the Veterans Initiative will bring 35 military veterans to the Hill on two-week full scholarships. For the first time, veterans who have previously been students in the program will make the transition to teacher, instructing courses in glass artistry, songwriting and theatre, as well as “leading open dialog about the issues they face,” said Walt Michael, founder and executive director of CGOTH.

For tickets and more information, visit or call 410-857-2771.