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Bayou Bedlam, the contra dance weekend in Houston, Texas Bayou Bedlam, the contra dance weekend in Houston, Texas

Bayou Bedlam

About Bayou Bedlam

Bayou Bedlam is the Houston, Texas weekend of contra dancing, food, and friendship. It takes place every February, usually on the second full weekend, and features nationally known, or soon-to-be known, bands and callers.

Every Bayou Bedlam features a Friday night dance, workshops during the day on Saturday, a Saturday buffet lunch, a Saturday night dance, and a fabulous, famous Sunday brunch and dance.

Barb Smith
Bayou Bedlam is the creation of Barb Smith, who organized Houston's first weekend event in 1994. You can see a history of Bayou Bedlam and the other Texas contra festivals on our history page.

The name “Bayou Bedlam” refers to the 22 bayou systems and waterways in the Houston metro area. One of Houston's nicknames is “The Bayou City”.

Bayou Bedlam is produced by the Houston Area Traditional Dance Society. For information about HATDS, the regular contra dances in Houston, or contra dancing in general, see the HATDS website at

Bayou Bedlam is a smoke-free, alcohol-free, and fragrance-free event.

Why attend Bayou Bedlam?

Maria K at Bayou Bedlam
You'll be joining dancers from all over Texas, the United States, and occasionally across the world. Bayou Bedlam is also a great value for your money; in fact, we believe that it is one of the best values in contra dance weekend festivals. Here's why:

  • Unlike many contra dance groups, we are fortunate to have an older hall with a sprung wood floor that was built specifically for dancing.
  • Houston's February weather is normally mild—comfortably cool (60s) and sunny.
  • The food! We include home-cooked lunch on Saturday and brunch on Sunday as well as snacks throughout the weekend.
  • We offer the opportunity for callers in attendance to work with the featured band. In some years, musicians in attendance are able to work with the featured caller.

Please join us!