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Jan 31, 2023 - 9:21:31 AM
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503 posts since 10/21/2009


Are there any “jam-only” “camps” or get togethers that you know of, where you go jam a lot with others to have fun and can work on improving your skills by playing intensively, like for a long weekend?

By “jam-only” I mean, without formal instruction or pro touring band concerts. I’d like to find somewhere to get better by picking more :) , and meet other pickers to jam with, who aren’t new to jamming.

Maybe they happen all over closer to the center of bluegrass country. Please PM me, if you’d rather.

I’d appreciate your comments!


Jan 31, 2023 - 10:12:07 AM

4271 posts since 10/18/2007

I know of several such camps in Oregon and Washington: Sacajawea Bluegrass festival in Pasco, Washington. Golden Dale festival, Washington, Tygh Valley festival Oregon. There should be at least a couple near your state.

Jan 31, 2023 - 10:57:48 AM



2118 posts since 8/30/2012

Jan 31, 2023 - 10:58:34 AM



503 posts since 10/21/2009

Thanks, I’ll take a look.

Jan 31, 2023 - 11:02:13 AM



2118 posts since 8/30/2012

If you're really ambitious, you could take the Pete Wernick cruise:

Cruise link: Key West / Jamaica / Grand Cayman 2023 – Bluegrass and Blue Water Cruise

More detail from Wernick: Bluegrass Cruise Camp - Wernick Method

Flyer: lk-2023-05-tampa.pdf (

Jan 31, 2023 - 11:16:54 AM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)


28512 posts since 8/3/2003

You might try going to festivals in your area and walking around the campground to see who's jammin' and see if they're friendly to newcomers. Maybe find someone who would be willing to help you learn to jam with others.

Is there a bluegrass club/association in your area? If so, see if they have a weekly or monthly jam and if it has a slow jam or is amenable to newbies. That's how I learned to jam with others: going to a local jam, sitting in the back, vamping along with the group very quietly until I got the hang of it. Then moving up into the group but shaking my head when I got the nod for a break, finally taking that first giant step and trying to do a break. Did I goof up? Sure, but I didn't stop and I got through it to the applause of everyone. Most bluegrassers are nice people.

Jan 31, 2023 - 11:37:47 AM

443 posts since 8/9/2022

We organise picking weekends here. Beautiful location, campsite, musicians. Not huge, but enough people attending so that different sessions form and add variety and sociability. Too big and the night-time session around the campfire would be unmusical and uninteresting.

These days session playing is my (and others I know) only interest. Most of my friends don't want to pay to sit and listen to bands or attend workshops or head to events where most people attending aren't capable session players. That type of event is really a 'musical chairs' circuit for a number of musicians who are vying to make a living out of their music or a name for themselves.

Picking weekends are easy to organise, free and pure fun.

Jan 31, 2023 - 12:15:36 PM



503 posts since 10/21/2009

Hey y'all for the purpose of clarity…

As mentioned, for the purpose of clarity, this forum is for finding get togethers, “camps,” festivals, whatever we want to call them that "don't have formal instruction or pro touring band lineups” but people go only to jam and have a good time.  (Cost, if anything, is a lot less too, obviously.) 

I’m familiar with those camps you mentioned KCJones, they all have formal instruction.

BTW, my "thanks, I'll look" comment was for Cornflake's post but it crossed in the send and posted after KC's.  The first of Cornflake's posted festival anyway fit what I'm trying to find, haven't looked at the rest yet.




Jan 31, 2023 - 1:26:31 PM

149 posts since 6/12/2012

I attended a Wernick Jam “class” at IBMA this past year. Had a good time so I did a local one day Wernick Camp recently. Had just as much fun.
I plan to attend a weekend long camp later this year.
Based on my experiences I’d suggest you try one of the Wernick camps or classes.

Jan 31, 2023 - 3:43:44 PM

3072 posts since 4/5/2006

Colorado Blueggrass Music Society-jams Perhaps not exactly what you had in mind, but then again....Like Sherry, I also learned by jamming at bluegrass festivals, or wherever else I found them.

Many jams can be rather intimidating at first, but hang in there, vamp chords, whatever. They will, at times, play unheard of tunes, leaving you totally clueless how to pick. Watch the guitar player's left hand! Learn to recognize "read" basic guitar chords, how & why guitar & banjo players make use of the capo. After a while, you'll learn to hear chord changes, & recognize common licks. Once you get to the point you can not only recognize chord changes, but hear them coming, you can then start watching the banjo player's left hand. He/she is showing you how they do what they do!

Not to say you will learn every song/tune completely through, the first time around. But with time and practice, the bits & pieces will start falling into place, & things will become a lot easier. When you can play a half way decent break & the picker to your right turns & gives you a nod, go for it!

Between tunes/jams, introduce yourself, get to know the players, on a first name basis. Ask where they get to together. If any of them are in bands, find out where & when they play, & attend their performances, whenever possible. Get in on the "Bluegrass pipeline."

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