Cascade Contras on the River 2023

Cascade Contras on the River is an urban contra dance weekend in a lovely venue beside a park and the Willamette River in Springfield, Oregon. You will enjoy 14 hours of terrific contra music by two outstanding bands.

The Dam Beavers are Ben Schreiber and Scotty Leach, who will be joined by special guest Christa Burch! Bozzy MaCoo is Jeff Spero, Audrey Leigh Jaber and Sam Bartlett. We’ll have two great callers, Susan Petrick and Michael Karcher. It will be a terrific weekend!

The Eugene Folklore Society values equality and mutual respect. We appreciate the diversity of gender, age, race, ethnicity, national origin, range of abilities, sexual orientation, gender identity. and gender expression. We actively cultivate a climate of purposeful inclusion of all. Gender neutral calling will be used for all dances.

As in other urban dance camps, dancers will need to arrange their own lodging and meals for the weekend.. When you register you’ll get a link to the camp roster listing dancers’ who are interested in sharing rides or lodging.. We’ve also posted discount hotel information below.

Questions about camp? Send an email to the Cascade Contras Committee.


The Dam Beavers are Ben Schreiber on fiddle and Scotty Leach on keyboard. They will be joined by special guest Christa Burch on bodhrán and vocals.

Ben Schreiber is a young “Fiddling Phenom” who has been taking the country by storm. He’s played with The WhootsUncle FarmerThe Offbeats and Potent Brew, as well as the more newly established chamber-folk trio, Long Story Short. Ben is a voracious sight-reader, is fluent in several musical genres, and has been known to write a dozen tunes in an afternoon before the evening dance, much to the dancers’ delight. 

Scotty Leach, who also plays with the Retrospectacles, is a formidable multi-instrumentalist whose infectious piano playing and zany energy have propelled many a contra dancer across the dance floor..

Christa Burch‘s powerful bodhrán playing cracks and thunders into the hearts of dancers with a pulse that carries the band. And her expressive voice emerges like a rainbow after the storm. Christa tours and teaches primarily with ‘chamber folk’ band, the Syncopaths, and has sung and drummed with keepers of the tradition such as Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser, Irish supergroup The David Munnelly Band, nouveau-Celtic band Blackwaterside, and acoustic Celtic trio Molly’s Revenge. 

BOZZY MACOO (name change from Force for Nature)

Audrey Leigh Jaber

Bozzy MaCoo consists of Audrey Leigh Jaber on fiddle, Sam Bartlett on banjo, mandolin and guitar, and Jeff Spero on keyboard.

You know Audrey is performing if the room is buzzing at a higher level. Her fiddling, featured in bands including The Free Raisins, The Gaslight Tinkers, Audacious (with Larry Unger), and Wake Up Robin, has electrified dance and concert halls across the US and Europe. Hailing from Honolulu and now living in California, she cut her folk teeth in the Boston area, attending Berklee College of Music and spending years exploring the thriving New England folk scene. Audrey’s fiddle playing is rhythmically lively and spontaneous; she’s guaranteed to get you up and dancing. She specializes in English dance, New England, Celtic, and Old Time tunes, and did we mention she’s also an audio engineer?! For more on Audrey, visit her at

Jeff Spero

Jeff Spero has been playing piano and singing since he was five years old. At a young age, he discovered an affinity for popular music and developed his style emulating musicians like James Taylor, Elton John, and Bruce Hornsby. In his 30s, he brought his rhythmic style to American and Celtic folk and dance music and now travels around the country playing dances, concerts and festivals with bands such as Syncopaths and Rhythm Raptors.

Sam Bartlett with mandolin

Sam Bartlett is a traditional musician known throughout the United States for his mandolin, banjo, and guitar playing as well as his original music. His compositions have been profiled on NPR’s All Things Considered, aired on the Thistle & Shamrock, and his playing has been featured in two Ken Burns documentaries, Prohibition and The Dust Bowl.  Sam has performed and taught traditional dance music to communities throughout the country and beyond for the past 35 years, from venues as diverse as Wolf Trap and Jacob’s Pillow, to the Skopje International Festival in Macedonia, the National Theater of Taiwan, and the Alaska Folk Festival. A solid member of the touring contra dance circuit for more than half his life, Sam has also recorded with a virtual who’s who of American old-time musicians, among them: Brad Leftwich, Linda Higginbotham, Abby Ladin, Garry Harrison, Paul Brown, Rafe Stefanini, Pete Sutherland, Dirk Powell, Rodney Miller, and Rick Good. Most recently, Sam was recognized by Traditional Arts Indiana as a Master Artist of the Irish style tenor banjo.

John Oorthuys

Photo of John Oorthuys
John Oorthuys

A great contra dance needs a great sound engineer, and we have one! John Oorthuys has handled the sound board for many, many dances, balls, camps, and special events across the Northwest. Highly regarded by dancers, musicians, and callers for his high-quality sound work, John will apply his skills at Cascade Contras on the River and his wizardry will make the sound fantastic.

Susan Petrick

Susan Petrick

Susan lives in Mountain View, CA and has become a regional treasure with national prominence. She is well-known for her clear teaching, efficient guidance, and expert pacing, making even complex dances accessible to all. She has been calling all over the country for more than a decade. Her gracious manner along with her clarity and confidence on stage have made her one of the most sought after callers in the Pacific Northwest. As a dancer herself, she knows what makes dancers happy and as a caller, she is always conscious of what is happening on the dance floor. Susan brings with her a diverse collection of dances featuring many flowing and flirty contras that will please your feet and satisfy your soul!

Photo of Michael Karcher
Michael Karcher

Michael Karcher

We loved Michael’s calling for Cascade Contras in 2022 and we will have him back for 2023! Michael has been having the time of his life calling dances and weekends around the North America since 2011. He has trained with Lisa Greenleaf and Niles Fredland and has honed a warm and concise style of teaching and calling, to the delight of dancers across the continent. 

We have set registration fees for 2023 Cascade Contras on the River to recover camp costs while providing discounts to encourage young adults and teens to come dance to our nationally-known bands and callers.

Adult 30+ year – $170

Adult 18 to 29 years – $120

Youth 13 to 17 – Free

Children under 13 – Free

Cascade Contras on the River brings dancers together from many areas across the US and Canada. Because the risks of COVID infection varies from one area to another, we will be applying the following health safety protocols to reduce the chance of COVID exposure.

MASKS –Masks will NOT be required and will be optional at the choice of the individual dancer. 

VACCINATION – You must prove you have had at least one COVID bivalent booster vaccination by showing your vaccination card or a digital image of your vaccination record. If you have had either a bivalent booster since it was released in September 2022or you receive the updated COVID vaccine scheduled for release in September, that will satisfy this vaccine requirement.

COVID TESTS – Test strip or dated photo of same-day home rapid COVID test showing negative results will be required upon arrival.

THIS POLICY MAY CHANGE BETWEEN NOW AND THE EVENT DATE. If this policy is changed after you register for Cascade Contras, you will be able to cancel and receive a refund if you are not willing or able to comply with the revised policy.

Refunds may be requested for any reason prior to September 1. In this case $25 will be retained and the balance of the fee paid will be refunded.

After September 1, fees paid cannot be refunded except as described below. In these cases $25 will be retained and the balance of the fee paid will be refunded.

>> ILLNESS – Anyone who is ill or has COVID symptoms, or has a person in their household who is ill or has COVID symptoms, and so is unable to attend the event, will be provided a refund.

>> POSITIVE COVID TEST – A refund will be provided if at the time of the event a registered dancer or a member of their household has a positive COVID test.

>> CHANGE IN COVID POLICY – If the Cascade Contras COVID policy is changed after a dancer is registered, and the dancer will not agree to comply with the changed policy, a refund will be provided.

>> EVENT CANCELLATION – If Cascade Contras on the River is entirely cancelled, all registered dancers will be provided a refund.

REGISTRATION LIMIT & WAITLIST– We are limiting the number of registered dancers to 135 to prevent overcrowding on the dance floor. Once this limit is reached a waitlist will be maintained and waitlisted dancers will be notified when a cancellation occurs.

COVID TESTS – Please do your same-day home rapid COVID test prior to initial arrival and be prepared to show your negative results at check in. It is a good idea to have extra tests on hand during the event.

BADGES – Cascade Contras will provide a badge for each registrant with your first name and city.. Prefered pronouns can be included on badge if the dancer indicates this on the registration form.

SNACKS – We will provide simple snacks at Cascade Contras. Dancers may also bring their own snacks but refrigeration will be limited.

SHOE & CLOTHING EXCHANGE – We’ll provide an area to display dancing shoes and clothing that you may bring for sale or exchange.

Willamalane Adult Activity Center

Located in downtown Springfield alongside a wonderful park and the Willamette River, the Willamalane Adult Activity Center is a beautiful, modern facility featuring a comfortable lounge area and outdoor patio overlooking the river and Island Park. The center’s lovely setting, spacious interior, stage, and dance floor are ideal for our contra dancing weekend and can accommodate up to 200 people. Ample parking is available at the Center and on adjacent streets.

We will be dancing in the McKenzie Room, a 2,300-square-foot multi-purpose room suitable for large gatherings and special events. Key features include an excellent wood floor and performance stage. This room connects to the Cascade Room, an 800 square foot room that will be our cloakroom and provide social and relaxation space. During most of the weekend, we will also have full use of the large, comfortable lounge area and patio for socializing and relaxing.

The property is operated by the Willamalane Park and Recreation District. Terms of rental do not allow alcohol, tobacco and marijuana in any form on the Activity Center property. Dogs and other pets are also not allowed in the Activity Center.

Simple snacks will be provided, but dancers will be responsible for their own meals. There will be breaks for lunch and dinner on Saturday, and a lunch break on Sunday.

Photo of downtown Springfield
Main Street, Springfield Oregon

If you want to purchase a meal, there are multiple pubs and restaurants in Springfield’s historic downtown within a few minutes walk of the dance venue. Additional eating options are within a 5-10 minute drive. You could also pack a lunch or dinner and eat at the Activity Center or in scenic Island Park along the river.

Cascade Contras is an urban dance camp and dancers will be responsible for their own lodging plans. There are abundant Airbnb, Vrbo and motel options in Eugene-Springfield. We encourage dancers to use the camp roster (to be distributed beginning in August) to contact other dancers to make shared lodging arrangements to reduce costs.

We’ve arranged for blocks of rooms to be available at the Hayward Inn and at The Maverick Hotel at discounted rates. Both these hotels are located a short drive from the dance venue and are near several restaurants.

HAYWARD INN at 1759 Franklin Blvd., Eugene OR – Double Queen rooms will be $149 while King rooms will be $144 per night. This applies to reservations for Friday September 29 and Saturday September 30. To reserve at these discounted rates call 541-485-2727 for reservations and ask for the Cascade Contras discount. You will have until September 15 to secure reservations at the discounted rate.

The MAVERICK HOTEL at 1859 Franklin Blvd., Eugene OR – Double Queen rooms will be $119 and King rooms will be $109 per night. This applies to reservations for Friday September 29 and Saturday September 30. To reserve at these discounted rates call the Maverick Hotel at  (541) 342-6383 and ask for the Cascade Contras discount. You will have until September 15 to secure reservations at the discounted rate.