National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
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36th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
January 27 - February 1, 2020
The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is an annual celebration of the ranching and rural West and of lifestyles that are deeply connected to the earth and its bounty. Through poetry, music, and stories, ranch people express the beauty and challenges of that life. Each year during the heart of winter thousands travel to rural Elko, Nevada—to listen, learn, and share at what’s been called the most honest and open-hearted festival in America.
With hands-on gearmaking, cooking, dancing, and writing workshops; live poetry and music performances; exhibitions, talks, films, and storytelling sessions; and plenty of socializing between shows at the historic Pioneer Saloon or at one of the many dances, there’s something for everyone at “the Gathering.” And make sure to check out the open mics this year — or even participate yourself — because at the end of the week we’ll host a show featuring open mic highlights. So, whether it’s your first or thirty-sixth Gathering, this is not one you’re going to want to miss.
And we offer benefits to our Western Folklife Center members that include early purchase of National Cowboy Poetry Gathering tickets. Join Now!
People of all backgrounds identify with the beauty and challenges of the cowboy lifestyle, from the Mississippi Delta bayou to Buckaroo country, Oklahoma rodeo grounds to the streets of Oakland and Los Angeles. This year the Gathering will feature men and women from these ranching and horseback communities to explore and celebrate the often under-represented historic contributions and contemporary culture of Black cowboys, from bull-doggin' to blue-yodellin'.
Meet some of our special guests in talks, storytelling sessions, performances, exhibitions, films, and more. Join us for a whirlwind week as we honor the significant and lasting influence Black cowboys have on what it means to be a cowboy.
36th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Playlist