History of the Rhythm Bones Society

The Society's roots began long before the formal organizational meeting at Bones Fest III in 1999. Dr. Fred Edmund was a rhythm bones enthusiast who sold bones, sent out a monthly newsletter and developed a rhythm bones instruction course titled "Bones Unlimited" which is now on our website.


One of the people who Fred found was Everett Cowett, and he talked Ev into hosting an event in his back yard that is now known as Bones Fest I. Eleven people showed up including Fred. Ev's daughter, Martha, gave her dad a website named Rhythm Bones Central (see below) which has been central to the development of the society.


The next year Ev hosted Bones Fest II at a local park and 15 people showed up including Steve Wixson. After the Fest, Steve went home and using his computer experience, did an exhaustive Internet search for rhythm bones and related terms and found about 100 websites and lots of other rhythm bones players.


Bones Fest III was hosted by Russ and Wilma Myers and 34 people attended. In final event of the day, the group (shown above) met and formed the society using by-laws patterned after those of the Jew's Harp Guild. The new members elected Officers and Board Members who met and approved the creation of the Rhythm Bones Player newsletter with Steve Wixson as Editor. Ev Cowett was the first Executive Director, Russ Myers was the first Assistant Director and Steve Wixson Secretary/Treasurer.  Other Board Members who are not still serving are Sky Bartlett, Sally Carroll, Jonathan Danforth, Gil Hibben, Dr. Mel Mercier, Jerry Mescher (deceased), Russ Myers (deceased), and Tim Reilly.


Bones Fest IV was hosted by Steve and Janet Wixson and was a 2 and one-half event which has continue over the years. Click the links at the top or bottom to read summaries of all of the Bones Fests.  Steve Brown introduced t-shirts and a program booklet at Bones Fest V, and this has continued over the years.

History of this Website


This website started as a gift from Martha Cowett to her dad, Ev Cowett. Martha had said, "What do you give a father who doesn't want anything." Her answer was a rhythm bones website, and so Rhythm Bones Central, now with the URL rhythmbones.org was born. The Cowett family started the tradition of Bones Fests (three of which they've hosted), and have been instrumental in the formation of the Rhythm Bones Society. The website has been instrumental in all of these activities. Martha maintained this website from 1997 to 2002, when she passed the job on to Jonathan Danforth. We've kept her original homepage, because it's a good reminder of where we came from, and a good reminder of that family feeling. In 2010, Steve Wixson using Adobe Dreamweaver added new navigation and features including video. Note that the hands in the Rhythm Bones Society logo are those of Ev Cowett. Click HERE to see that original homepage

Bones Fests Through the Years



In the history of bones playing, it seems to have been pretty rare that a lot of bones players gathered together for the sole purpose of playing rhythm bones. But we do just that, every year. This wonderful tradition was started by the Cowett family, and has grown every year since then. Although recently the Bones Fests have included many more people and been slightly more formal, we try to keep the feel of a family reunion when we get together.


Click the links below for short summaries of our Bones Fests.  More detailed information can be found by clicking the inside of the text boxes. More photographs can be seen by clicking the photograph thumbnail.