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Feb 7, 2023 - 9:10:56 AM
3 posts since 8/28/2022

Hey everybody.

I'm a banjo player that's been playin for a couple years now. I was living in Boone NC, and Asheville before that. Needless to say, great towns for a banjo player.

Now I'm living in The Netherlands, specifically Nijmegen near the German border. Im studying here and its great! Except of course (to nobody's surprise) I can't find much of an old-time/bluegrass scene.

What is a surprise however, is I can't seem to find a folk scene period!

Anyone ever been in a similar situation? Anyone got some tips or advice and how to find the folk music scene or even make one? Dutch folk music is (secretly) really rich and beautiful. I recommend the album " T Male Schip" by Kat yn 't Seil if anyone is curious.

Feb 7, 2023 - 10:13:01 AM
like this

3238 posts since 4/7/2010
Online Now

I have a friend in Essen, Germany that may have ideas of German and dutch 5-string banjo things going on. Send me your email via personal message and I'll have him contact you. He loves meeting new 5-string players.

Bob Smakula

Feb 7, 2023 - 2:31:53 PM



1366 posts since 11/26/2012

In the past, I've had some luck finding an acoustic blues scene in N. Europe. Not that far of a stretch for a banjo picker! I don't know how long you are going to be there, but I would get yourself to the famous North Sea Jazz Festival in July in Rotterdam. It's a huge festival with jazz, blues, gospel, swing. Even if you don't make some connections there, it will be a lot of fun.

I first found out about this festival when I was working in Utrecht years ago. I was flying over and some dude asked me if I would move my backpack I had in the overhead storage compartment so that he could put his intrument case there. I said sure and stuffed my pack under my seat. It turns out he and his whole band were on the plane, going to play at the Jazz fest, and they put me on their guest list, so I got to go free!

Edited by - doryman on 02/07/2023 14:32:41

Feb 7, 2023 - 9:10:39 PM

691 posts since 2/5/2014

I have family in The Netherlands, but mostly in Amsterdam. I can ask around and see if my cousins can give me advice for you.

Feb 8, 2023 - 7:07:34 PM

90 posts since 1/31/2020

Had a fabulous time visiting Amsterdam and would recommend its people, cultural attitudes, attractions, and historical sites to any BHO members who might have the opportunity to visit. Only caveat....don't get hyper stoked, as I did, looking forward to visiting its world famous Banjo Museum. Turned out to be all about some guy named Van Gogh, who apparently never saw, much less painted, a banjo!

That said, still very much worth a visit, even if only virtually via this link:

Have fun!

Feb 8, 2023 - 8:51:46 PM

626 posts since 11/4/2007

You could contact Wouter van Beek, a member here and he should be able to help you. 

Feb 10, 2023 - 9:07:20 AM

2 posts since 3/18/2013

Check out Jelle Shelters on YouTube. He lives near you.

Feb 10, 2023 - 9:10:05 AM

2 posts since 3/18/2013

I meant Jelle Snelders!

Feb 12, 2023 - 6:37:25 PM



68506 posts since 10/5/2013

BHO member Bruno van Hoek is active in Netherlands bluegrass. You could PM him.

Feb 13, 2023 - 4:06:40 AM

305 posts since 12/22/2006

You have to check out what´s going on in Europe.

There is the EBMA that has a website.

Go to the Voorthuizen (NL) festival. Check out the Greven (D) festival.

This is a list that I partly compiled in 2009 or so. I think that some festivals may not exist any more. You have to google them. Covid has upset the applecart somewhat. I have made notes in brackets behind the ones that I would strongly recomend. There are some I missed from Portugal and Spain:
Didmarton Bluegrass Festival United Kingdom (top notch and a must go, Sept)
European World of Bluegrass Lichtenvoorde Netherlands (top notch, must see, in May/June)
Bluegrass Beeg Netherlands
Lonesome Pine Indoor Country Festival Sunne Värmland Sweden Usually held in January.
Bluegrass Outlaw Party Club Heidegger, grote Kerkplein 70, Rotterdam Netherlands Usually held in February.
Gainsborough Old Time Festival Gainsborough United Kingdom Usually held in February.
International Workshop of Acoustic Music Virton Belgium Usually held in April. (I only heard good stuff about Virton)
Sore Fingers Week Kingham United Kingdom (Workshop, pricey but a must go; usually quickly sold out)
Stage Bluegrass en Gascogne 32330 Gondrin France Usually held in April.
Kilkenny Rhythm 'n' Roots Festival Kilkenny Ireland Roots music with an Irish and oldtime flavour
Bordergrass Hopelands in Weobley Herefordshire United Kingdom
Alie Rohling Festival "Pickers against Cancer"[zaal de Loo - Looweg 38 Coevorden Netherlands Beneficial concert, all funds raised go to the Dutch Cancer Foundation.
Venner Folk Frühling Venne Germany accent on folk
Orwell Bluegrass Festival Orwell Crossing United Kingdom
Banjoree European 5-String Banjo Meeting Germany Gathering of banjopickers, also with guitar and mandolin workshops. (highly popular)
International Bühl Bluegrass Festival Bühl Germany[established 2002, city sponsorship (absolute must go)
Bath Americana Festival Bath United Kingdom
Red Wine Bluegrass Party Genova Italy two nights show featuring Red Wine with guest artists from the US (Red Wine is a must see European band, great people)
Boe't n Deure Odoorn Netherlands Bluegrass concerts held in a small cafe
Jamboree Strakonice Czech Republic
Sacrewell Spring Camp (Friends of American Oldtime Music and Dance) Gainsborough United Kingdom
Coastline Bluegrass Music Event Bryn Ffanigl Ganol Farm, Dolwen, Llanddulas, Wales United Kingdom -
Karl May Festival Radebeul Radebeul Germany celebrating bluegrass while celebrating Germany´s wild west author
Hamawé Roots Festival Ethe/Virton Belgium on the Farm Roiseux
GrevenGrass Bluegrassfestival Greven Germany (I cofounded that one; its for free and a must go, not only because of my connection)
FBMA Spring Bluegrass Weekend (Pentecôte) près de Rennes, à la Maison Familiale Rurale Horticole "Les Rabinardières" France
Ruotsinpyhtää Bluegrass Rendezvous Helsinki Finland Finland´s oldest bluegrass festival, first held in 1988
Annual La Grange Rouge Bluegrass and French Folk TRAD EN FETE La Grange Rouge France Usually held in June
Big Bear Festival De Kimme, Zuidlaren Netherlands bluegrass & acoustic country music - European & US bands (was allways super nice and a must go, last info from 2017 on facebook)
Banjo Jamboree Caslav Czech Republic (oldest European bluegrass festival and a definite must go in June)
Festival sur la Route de Tullins Isere France
Birkenried Bluegrass (must go)
Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival Westport, Co. Mayo Ireland Established in 2007; international lineup
Choteborský džem Letna 255, 583 01 Chotebor +420776311290 Czech Republic
East Anglian Bluegrass Festival Steeple Morden United Kingdom Youth performances
Haapavesi Folk Festival Haapavesi Finland
TFF Rudolstadt (roots folk world music) Rudolstadt Germany City organized (internationally aclaimed with some bluegrass at times)
Lida Country Festival Lida Sweden
Åmåls Blues Fest Åmål Sweden Usually held in July.
Torsåker Bluegrass Festival Torsaker Sweden
North Wales Bluegrass Festival Conwy, Wales United Kingdom established 1989
Bluegrass Festival Gunderinseli Thun Switzerland
Athy Bluegrass Festival Athy Ireland Ireland's oldest annual Bluegrass event, established 1991
Americana Festival Newark United Kingdom
UTV Country Fest Aura Complex Letterkenny, Donegal Ireland
Nääsville Bluegrass Festival Frölunda Sweden
Risor Bluegrass Festival Risor Norway music on stage and workshops - with workshops the week preceding the festival
Cerexhe Festival Cerexhe Belgium Country, Established 1985
Totaalfestival Bladel Netherlands
Cambridge Folk Festival Cambridge United Kingdom
Country Rendez-Vous Craponne sur Arzon France
Guildtown Bluegrass Festival Guildtown United Kingdom
Lonesome Pine Festival Canis-Lysvik Sweden -
La Roche International Bluegrass Festival La Roche-sur-Foron France (100 % must go; for free in the French alps in August)
International Bluegrass and Acoustic Music Festival Abaliget Hungary Three days of bluegrass and acoustic music on a lakeside in the Hungarian countryside.
Surrey Mini Bluegrass Festival Mickleham Village Hall United Kingdom
Sacrewell Summer Camp (Friends Of American Oldtime Music And Dance) Gainsborough United Kingdom
Gränna Bluegrass Festival Gränna Sweden 30th anniversary in 2007
Floralia Country Festival Oosterhout Netherlands
Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival Dunmore East Ireland established 1995
Tønder Folk Festival Tønder Denmark international folk and bluegrass acts
Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival Omagh, Northern Ireland United Kingdom held in a historic folk park established 1992 international lineup
Bluegrass Marathon Borovany u Tachova Czech Republic established 1979
Picnic Festival Namur BelgiumBluegrass & Celtic Festival
Int. Bluegrass Meeting Kulturgewächshaus Birkenried Gundelfingen Germany Music in the Greenhouse
Sunny Mountain Bluegrass Festival Stettfurt Switzerland
The Open House Festival Bangor, Northern Ireland United Kingdom Six days of roots music in the centre of Belfast
Gower Bluegrass Festival Parkmill, Gower, Wales United Kingdom
Sweet Sunny South Festival Hastings United Kingdom
Cornish Bluegrass Festival Newquay United Kingdom since 2004
Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival Longford Ireland Irish Traditional, American Bluegrass, and Folk Music
Moniaive Michaelmas Bluegrass Festival Moniaive, Dumfries, Scotland United Kingdom
Bruff Bluegrass Festival Main St, Bruff, Co. Limerick Ireland This event takes place in three venues over three evenings with late night mike sessions. Banjo and guitar workshops and picking gatherings in afternoon on Sunday.
Pick Your Passion Camp Munich Aschau/Chiemgau, n/Munich Germany (great workshop thingy just down the road from ...)
Sore Fingers Weekend Kingham United Kingdom learning music and jamming
Bluegrass Beeg Grevenbicht Sittard-Geleen Netherlands Bluegrass music festival. Autism friendly .
Old Time Country Festival Breitisaal 8185 Winkel Switzerland organized by American folk club Rocking Chair

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