French Woods Festival

Hancock, New York    

Lantern Review of French Woods Festival

It seems fitting that French Woods Festival Camp calls an old rural French settlement home. A legacy and international reputation of one of the country’s preeminent performing arts programs seems to embrace an almost Parisian Left Bank mentality. Yes, the creative kids from all walks of life find kindred spirits here, but so do athletes and explorers. Instead of being immersed in hollow performance halls or sterile recital rooms, the girls and boys of French Woods are fully immersed in a traditional overnight camp. Think of it as a concert by night and waterskiing by day.

Inspiration can be found in many ways and French Woods believes that an outdoor setting will help produce new inspiration. The day after the campers arrive, they are encouraged to audition for performance in a range of arts, from jazz band to symphony. The process is inclusive, meaning that each camper who auditions will find a role to play. Not all campers audition, however, and even those that don’t will feel at home at this camp.

Six daily periods are separated into three majors and three minors. The three majors are chosen among performance arts, waterfront activities, sports programs or any other of the myriad of interesting choices. By selecting a major, the campers are choosing to immerse themselves into those activities for the full session length, providing ample time to practice and master each activity. This format also reinforces a “stick-to-itiveness” that’s refreshing in this day and age. The minor activities are completely elective and chosen each morning after breakfast, helping keep the daily program fresh.

Yes, the performing arts are what this camp is known for, but the wide-range of other traditional camp and sport activities is an important part of the culture. All are welcome here, from artist to athlete, and the camp’s creative bent has endowed it with an accepting, encouraging culture.

Fast Facts

  • COED
  • 750 Campers per Session
  • 3-week
  • Founded in 1970
  • $$$$

Director's Message

French Woods is a place where your dreams are important. Counselors and adult staff utilize our facilities to make those dreams possible. Our non-competitive programs give you a choice over which activities you take part in and the opportunity to excel. Our staff will encourage campers to try new things and be challenged in an environment that supports success. We find performing in a theater, circus, dance or music program builds personal confidence and teaches teamwork.

Program Highlights

  • 90 Activities
  • Team Sports
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Mountains
  • Individual Activities
  • Drama
  • Waterfront
  • Academic
  • Forest
  • Rural
  • Remote

Top 5 Activities

  • Theater
  • Dance
  • Circus
  • Music
  • Magic

Travel Information

We pick up by bus from Newark and JFK airports, and from 6 other locations for campers not flying to camp


French Woods Festival

(954) 346-7455

(800) 634-1703

Michael Knauf