Spend a weekend away from the toil and cares of everyday life, with nothing to do but learn about the 5-string banjo from world-famous teachers, play in jams, eat delicious food, and possibly even sleep!
The American Banjo Camp takes place on the first weekend after Labor Day each year at a spectacularly scenic converted fort on the Puget Sound.. ABC is a camp for adults of all ages (students under 18 may attend if accompanied by a parent). There you can study old-time or bluegrass banjo with world-class instructors. Or you can study bluegrass or old-time guitar, or old-time fiddle, stand-up bass, or mandolin.. The full schedule is packed with hands-on classes and demonstrations as well as a faculty concert and dozens of jamming opportunities.
The selection of instructors and accompanists for the next ABC is in progress.
AMERICAN BANJO CAMP 2014 TEACHERS
Photos and some biographic information will be found on the ABC bios page.
Quotes, Reviews, & Testimonials from previous years: Our attendees are not shy about saying what they liked and didn't like (let's face it, they're banjo players). We have both short flattering comments about American Banjo Camp and longer flattering testimonials about American Banjo Camp .
|Visit us on Facebook here (misc. page) or here (for recent pictures)|
Info and/or pictures from the early years:
ABC 2012 - September 7-9, 2012
ABC 2011 - September 9-11, 2011
ABC 2010 - September 10-12, 2010
ABC 2009 - September 11-13, 2009
ABC 2008 - September 5-7, 2008
ABC 2007 - September 7-9, 2007
ABC 2006 - September 8-10, 2006
ABC 2005 - September 9-11, 2005
ABC 2004 - September 10-12, 2004
ABC 2004 - September 5-7, 2003
Our Program: In the tradition of the Tennessee Banjo Institute and the Maryland Banjo Academy, our camp is committed to offering highly specialized classes tailored to the expertise of our faculty. Our classes can be divided into hands-on classes and demonstrations. For a detailed example of our program, here is our class schedule.
Hands-On: In hands-on classes the students bring their instruments and receive active playing instruction under the watchful eye of a world-class instructor. Here are examples of hands-on classes that have been taught at the American Banjo Camp:
· Fundamentals of Round Peak clawhammer|
· The styles of J.D. Crowe & Sonny Osborne
· Triplets and grace notes in clawhammer style
· Getting Rolling -- an introduction to bluegrass picking
· Fiddle tunes of Edden Hammons, melodic clawhammer style
· What would Earl do?|
· Kentucky fiddle tunes for old-time banjo
· Arranging banjo accompaniment for vocals
· Finding your way around the neck with chord shapes
· The thumb lead two-finger style of Carroll Co., Virginia
Demonstrations: Demos are featured during our Extra Day Program. Demonstrations are round robin events akin to folk and bluegrass festival workshops, where several artists offer samples of their playing and address a common theme. Here are some examples:
· Old-time finger picking styles|
· Traditional tunings
· Fretless banjo
· Banjo-fiddle duets
· Bluegrass Back-up
· Tuners & Techniques|
· Three-finger Single-string style
· Scruggs style Singing with the Banjo
· Fiddle Tunes on Banjo
Jamming: We provide areas for slow, intermediate, and up-to-speed jams in both bluegrass and old time genres, and faculty members will be assigned to help these "official" jams get started on the right track. Of course, the tunes played will be whatever the jammers want to play, but to help newcomers get started, we've compiled a list of tunes that, in our experience, have come up often at jams. Here's our list of common jam tunes, but remember, your mileage may vary! To make these jams even more satisfying, we've taken pains to ensure that there will be fiddlers, guitarists, and players of other instruments on hand to join in.
We also schedule specialty jams such as vocal jams, crossover jams (mixing bluegrass and old-time enthusiasts), progressive bluegrass jams, Celtic music jams, and so on.
Levels: We offer banjo classes at four levels from beginner through lower and upper intermediate to advanced. While some classes have a broad topical focus and a very specific level ("Basic Fiddle Tune Back-up" or "Advanced Chromatic Soloing") other classes address a specific aspect of banjo playing useful at all levels of play ("Tuning the Banjo -- Theory & Practice" or "Learning Tunes by Ear"). The attendee's answers to the questions on the registration form about playing level, jamming experience, and so forth, are used to help plan the number and levels of classes. This means that the earlier you register the more the program will be tweaked to suit your needs.
Note: Your responses on the registration form are primarily to assist us in planning the event. At Camp you are free to study at any level and to take any combination of classes that you wish.
Novice Level: We feature a series of classes and jam sessions specifically designed for newcomers to the instrument, taught by our regular instructors and by our beginners' specialists in both Old-Time and Bluegrass. We also firmly believe that merely having the opportunity to hear and observe world-renowned masters at close quarters provides sufficient inspiration to keep beginners firmly committed to progressing on the instrument for months or even years to come!
Lower Intermediate: Our lower intermediate track is for students who are beyond the novice stage but still need a lot of technical help on a variety of fronts -- such as efficient left hand and right hand techniques, building up speed and power, achieving good timing, basic song and tune arranging, and so on. Estimated playing experience required: 6 months to 2 years.
Upper Intermediate: The upper intermediate track is for students who can play pretty well at a basic level, but are looking to expand their horizons and increase their repertoires and playing efficiency. It is also designed to help your playing sound more "authentic" and professional. Estimated playing experience required: 18 months to 3 years.
Advanced: The advanced track is for those who can already play up to (or close to) speed, but who are looking to grow further as musicians through learning from some of the world's best players. Estimated playing experience required: 3-4 years and up.
Schedule: For the regular camp we'll have classes Friday afternoon, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning. In addition, we'll have short faculty concerts on both Friday and Saturday nights, followed by faculty-led jams, a light snack (for energy), and opportunities for more jamming. See below for information about the "Extra Day" Schedule.
|Who says banjo players have an attitude?|
The Extra Day: The Extra Day program gives students and staff an opportunity to arrive at camp and get settled before the intense class schedule starts. The Extra Day starts Thursday afternoon and includes Thursday dinner, Friday breakfast, and Friday lunch. It also gives students a chance to get to know each other and the staff, and to ease their way into the regular Camp, with an extra day of student activities in a relaxed atmosphere. As part of the Extra Day program students can sign up for an individual slot for an open mic program and/or put their names in a hat for a "band scramble" (assignment to either a bluegrass or old-time ensemble). Each band will have an opportunity to rehearse with an instructor serving as mentor and advisor.
Extra Day: Thursday Program Check-in begins at 3:00 You will be able to sign up for the student open mic and the band scramble at check-in. "Early Bird" jams will follow check-in.
Dinner will be at 5:45, followed by a Mini-Orientation / Meet-The-Teachers session and the Announcement of band scramble assignments. There will be some time for the band scramble bands to rehearse before the open-mic and band scramble concert.
The evening's next organized activity will be hosted jams guided by the camp faculty. Of course you can organize your own jams at any time on Thursday.
Extra Day: Friday Program
Friday breakfast will be at 8:00, followed at 9:30 by a set of staff demos:
For example, the staff demos in 2012 were:
- Singing with the Banjo: Cathy Barton Para & Laura Smith
- Fiddle-Banjo Duets: Greg & Jere Canote, Ken Perlman, & Tom Sauber
- Tribute to Earl: Bill Evans, Alan O’Bryant, Mike Stahlman
- Progressive Bluegrass: Alan Munde, Bill Keith, & Peter Langston.
At 11:30 lunch will be served for the Extra Day participants. At noon the regular camp students will begn to arrive and by 12:30 we will transition to the regular camp schedule.
For more information on camp beginning and ending times see the Travel Timing section below.
Fiddle Track: ABC offers a full-time fiddle program, led by renowned old-time fiddler Alan Jabbour and supported by old-time fiddlers Paul Brown and Bras Leftwich, and by bluegrass fiddler Paul Elliott. For classes offered this year check our online class schedule. Fiddlers are also warmly welcomed in our jams and jamming classes.
Guitar classes: ABC continues to offer a strong guitar program with classes taught by three renowned guitarists: old-time guitarist David Cahn and bluegrass guitarists Peter Langston and Molly Tuttle. For classes offered this year check our class schedule. Guitarists are also warmly welcomed in our jams and jamming classes.
Bass classes: ABC now offers bass classes taught by guest bass instructor Mick Nicholson. For classes offered this year check our class schedule. Bass players are also warmly welcomed in our jams and jamming classes.
Mandolin classes: ABC offers a mandolin class for the first time this year, taught by multi-instrumentalist Patrick Sauber. Check our class schedule. Mandolinists are also warmly welcomed in our jams and jamming classes.
Location: We're located at Fort Flagler, a beautiful setting right on Puget Sound near Port Townsend, Washington. Early September is often blessed with glorious weather in the northwest, and classes can be held indoors or outdoors, depending on weather conditions. We're only 40 miles across the Sound from downtown Seattle, but the environs here on the Olympic Peninsula are quite sylvan and picturesque. See "Travel logistics" (below) for directions. Click here for general information on Fort Flagler State Park.
Various maps of the area are available (you may have to zoom in or out to
get a convenient scale):
· Yahoo Map of Fort Flagler, WA
· Google Map of Fort Flagler, WA
· Sattelite Image Map of Fort Flagler, WA
· Topographic Map of Fort Flagler, WA
Accommodations: Lodging is right on site in dormitories converted from military barracks. The dorms have electricity and indoor plumbing, but privacy is limited and beds are not up to hotel standards. Students may elect to stay at a nearby camping area (see below) or at area hotels/motels, but be aware that we are not able to offer discounts to commuters (we are assessed the same fee regardless of whether participants sleep on site). Please note that all attendees are enrolled on the meal plan regardless of sleeping arrangements (you'll be glad to be enrolled -- the food is terrific).
ABC can not offer a lodging discount to attendees who stay off-site.
Camping: Camping is not possible right at the ABC site (e.g. in the parking lot), but tent, trailer, and RV camping is available at Fort Flagler, and at other local Washington State Parks, such as Fort Worden and Old Fort Townsend. The 2008 price was $19 per night without electrical hookups, and $25 per night with hookups. Up to eight people are allowed per campsite at that price. Reservations may be made up to nine months ahead at any Washington state park by calling 1-888-CAMPOUT. A complete list of parks is available at www.parks.wa.gov. All these campsites fill up fast so it is recommended that you place reservations as early as possible. There are also other camping options in the area; this search will give you information on many of them.
RV Camping: If you want to bring your RV and the regular campgrounds at Fort Flagler are already booked (call 1-888-CAMPOUT to check), there are a number of RV parks in the area. For instance, Smitty's RV Park, just down the road from us, has hookups; they tell us that for weekends after Labor Day they don't tend to fill up until the last couple of weeks. The 2008 price was $25 per night including tax. Their phone number is 360-385-2165. For a list of neighboring RV parks you might try this search.
Motels/Hotels/Bed-and-Breakfast: There are motels in nearby Hadlock, and quaint Port Townsend (15 minutes to the north) has numerous bed-and-breakfast establishments as well as hotels and motels. This search will show many of them.
Students intending to stay offsite should be aware that there is a major
regional event on our weekend in Port Townsend called the Wooden Boat Show.
It may be difficult to find available rooms and campsites unless you book
Note: Because we are assessed a flat fee regardless of how many participants sleep on site we cannot offer discounts to people who elect to stay elsewhere.
Meals: Our caterer is Judith Weinstock, past owner of the Kingston Hotel Cafe and the Streamliner Diner, cookbook author, and member of the culinary arts faculty at West Sound Academy. She provides a varied, tasty, and exciting cuisine that is certain to become one of your treasured memories of Camp life. Judith provides both vegetarian and omnivore meals in our dining hall. The standard tuition package includes dinner on Friday through breakfast and lunch on Sunday. Adding the Extra Day adds dinner on Thursday and breakfast and lunch on Friday.
Special Needs Meals: We may be able to accommodate people with special allergies and other concerns with sufficient notice, so be sure to let us know about them in the dietary issues section of your registration form. That way, we can check with Judith and let you know ahead of time whether your needs can be met. In any event, those with special food requirements may want to have a backup plan (such as coming to Camp supplied with plenty of snacks).
Handicap Accessibility: Our site is only partly wheelchair accessible. The worst stumbing block is that many of the classroom buildings have a single step going from the outside to the inside. The various buildings (classrooms, dorms, theater, dining hall, etc.) are not very spread out; in the worst case two classes might be as much as 300 yards apart over grass or paved walks.
Washington state provides an Accessible Outdoor Recreation Guide available here that at least tells you who may be able to answer accessibility questions in more detail.
Facebook: Are you on Facebook? If you are, why not visit our Facebook group page at www.facebook.com/groups/154138727938481/ or our page at www.facebook.com/pages/American-Banjo-Camp/148199325220696 and connect with us?
Fort Flagler State Park is located eight miles northeast of Hadlock
(Port Hadlock), Wash., on the northern tip of Marrowstone Island.
The nearest placename likely to be recognized by on-line mapping programs is
Nordland, WA (about 1/4 mile south of Ft. Flagler).
The latitude and longitude of the camp is: 48.09796N, 122.69368W (useful
for some mapping programs).
+ Most WWW map services also provide step-by-step driving directions between any two points. For instance, see the Yahoo and Google map links given above under Maps.
Here's a link to
American Banjo Camp driving directions.
Routes are given from:
+ Mt. Vernon, Bellingham, Vancouver, BC, and points North
+ Port Townsend
+ Edmonds and North Seattle
+ SeaTac Airport
+ Tacoma and South Seattle
+ the Hood Canal Bridge
+ Olympia, Portland, and points south
Our site coordinator can help arrange rides and carpooling from the airport.
Please let us know if you you would like to
carpool or if you live near the airport and could give another attendee a ride.
If you're planning on renting a car at the airport, you
might consider defraying the expense by taking a few banjo picking riders...
Limo Service: As a last resort, there's a limo service that can go from SeaTac right to the Fort, (Jefferson Transit).
Thursday: Attendees coming for the Extra Day can arrive anytime after 3:00 p.m. on Thursday. If you're driving from Seattle you should leave about two and a half hours for the drive; leaving between 12:30 and 3:00 p.m. ought to get you to camp before dinner. If you're flying, you should plan on arriving at SeaTac airport by 2:00 p.m. at the latest.
Friday: Registration starts at 12:00 noon on Friday (not before!),
student orientation will be c. 2:00 p.m., and
the first class is scheduled at 3:00, so you should try to arrive at Camp
between noon and 1:30 p.m. to register, get set up in your dorm space, and be
ready for the start of events. If you're flying, plan on arriving
at SeaTac airport by 10:00 a.m. on Friday at the latest.
Sunday: Lunch ends at 1:15 p.m. on Sunday and camp ends officially at 2:00. If you're flying and don't want to miss lunch, (and need to allow 90 minutes for getting through SeaTac check-in and security), make sure to schedule your return flight for no earlier than 4:45 p.m. People returning on Sunday who need to take ferries should be aware that Sunday crossings can be crowded and waiting times for automobiles can often be an hour or more.
Co-director Peter Langston also directs both the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop and the California Bluegrass Association's Summer Music Camp at Grass Valley, CA. Peter grew up in the urban "folk scare" of the 50s and 60s and has played bluegrass and old-time music on a range of instruments for more than 50 years. He is a frequent teacher/musician at traditional music and dance camps. You can find a complete biography for him with the ABC bios: Peter Langston bio.
Co-director Ken Perlman has served as music director for several banjo teaching festivals, including the Maryland Banjo Academy, Banjo Camp North, the Bath Banjo Festival, Midwest Banjo Camp, and Swannee Banjo Camp. He is also on the old-time staff for the American Banjo Camp, specializing in melodic clawhammer banjo. You can find a complete biography for Ken with the instructor and accompanist bios: Ken Perlman bio.
On-site Coordinator Janet Peterson lives in Bellingham, Washington, and is a sign language interpreter for the deaf and deaf/blind. She is a founding member of the band Motherlode in which she sings and plays cello and guitar, (but never the banjo). Janet is a year-round Coordinator for the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop and Co-Director of the California Bluegrass Association's Summer Music Camp at Grass Valley as well as being the on-site coordinator for the American Banjo Camp.
Important Info for Attendees: Shortly before camp each year we send out email messages to all attendees with invaluable information about camp ranging from travel tips to reminders about essential items to bring (e.g. a banjo, a flashlight, bedding, etc.) to explanations of the class schedule.. Click HERE to see information culled from recent messages on what to bring, where to go, when to arrive, how to read the schedule, and so forth.
Ages: American Banjo Camp is designed for adults, and we know that adults come in a wide range of ages. Youngsters under 18 who are serious banjo players may attend ABC if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Contact us by email to make arrangements.
|The registration form is not yet available.|
To attend the American Banjo Camp you must preregister.
Space is allotted on a first-come, first-served basis.
To register, print out the registration form,
fill it in, and send it with payment to the address indicated.
Alternatively, you can use a text editor to edit a copy of the registration
form and email it to us along with credit card information.
You can send the full amount at any time, but you can hold your place until July 1st with a deposit of $100. Full payment is required after July 1st. Make payment out to "American Banjo Camp."
If you use any kind of spam filtering, make sure that email from any of the following three email addresses will get through:
otherwise you will miss important information!
The postal address for ABC is:
American Banjo Camp
9228 1st Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98117-2003
You can find other helpful registration information on the Registration Notes page.
The tuition amounts are still being calculated for 2015 $480 covers tuition, room, & board for the weekend from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon.
$620 covers tuition, room, & board for the weekend and the Extra Day -- i.e. Thursday afternoon to Sunday afternoon.
Our "Spouse Rates" ($240 for the Weekend and $380 for the Weekend plus the Extra Day) cover everything but classes (i.e. room, board, concerts, and evening activities are all included).
All tuition cost figures are per person and are in US dollars. We cannot take payments in any foreign currency via check. Foreign checks are acceptable only if payment is in US dollars and the check is made out to: "Ken Perlman for American Banjo Camp".
Work/Trade: We have some work/trade positions which reduce the tuition by $100 in exchange for 5 hours of work at camp or $200 in exchange for 10 hours of work at camp. Send email to info@AmericanBanjoCamp to apply.
The registration form gives further details on tuition options.
Scholarships: Due to the generosity of our students we have a scholarship program for people who could not come to camp without financial aid and for whom a work/trade position would not suffice. If you would like to come to camp but simply can't afford it, send email to info@AmericanBanjoCamp.com for scholarship details.
People who register before August 15th
can order the exclusive commemorative ABC T-shirt!
The ABC 2011 T-shirt was dark purple.
The ABC 2012 T-shirt was forest green.
The ABC 2013 T-shirt was black.
We don't yet know what color the 2014 T-shirt will be...
We have designed a special commemorative ABC 2013 T-shirt which you can
only get by preordering it when you register. To get in on the order
you must register before August 15th. The T-shirts cost $20 for all
sizes from S to XL. 2XL and 3XL cost $23. Such a deal!
The T-shirts are short-sleeved. We can get long-sleeve T-shirts, but
they cost a little more; send an extra $4 each for long-sleeve.
You can also get a "regular" (more expensive) ABC T-shirt through the American Banjo Camp on-line store anytime.
Refunds: If camp is full we can place your name on the waiting list. If for any reason we can't fit you into camp, or you don't want to go on the waiting list, your entire payment will be returned to you. If you get into camp but then cancel before July 1st, your entire payment will be returned. If you cancel after July 1st but before Labor Day, all but $100 will be returned. Cancellations after Labor Day, or no-shows, get no refund. All refunds are per person.
On-line & Email Registration: We have no provision for paying on-line (maybe next year), but if you intend to pay by credit card, you can register by email. To do that, display the registration form; use cut-and-paste to copy it into your text editor (e.g. NotePad, Emacs, or SimpleEdit); and then edit your answers into the form. Answer everything EXCEPT the question about your credit card number; go ahead and include the expiration date, but not the number. E-mail the edited registration form to <Registration@AmericanBanjoCamp.com> with a Subject line of "American Banjo Camp registration". Then, send a separate email message to <Registration@AmericanBanjoCamp.com> containing just your credit card number with no other explanation (we'll figure it out). That's all there is to it!
Of course, if you paid by credit card last year and your credit card number has not changed, you can just say "Same as last year" in place of the number, but be sure to tell us the expiration date in case that has changed.
Gift Registrations: If you want to give a session of banjo camp as a gift for Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, a special birthday, Father's Day, Mother's Day, National Talk Like A Pirate Day, or even April Fool's Day, and you'd like to surprise the recipient, you can send us the payment with a minimally filled-out registration form showing the recipient's name and address as well as your email address and phone number, and a note saying it's to be a surprise. We'll reserve a place at camp and keep the secret until the time you've specified, at which point we'll collect the other registration information.
Email Problems: If you're having trouble with email to AmericanBanjoCamp.com bouncing back to you, please send a copy of the bounce message (with all the headers left intact) to email@example.com and we'll get it working again.
Peter sends an email acknowledgement whenever he receives a registration or a payment, and he's usually pretty quick (but not always, see below). If you don't get an acknowledgement after a reasonable amount of time, something may have gone wrong; check that you're able to receive email from him (it usually comes from firstname.lastname@example.org).
Note that both Ken & Peter are on the road some in June and a lot in July & August, so they may be slow in answering, but email will still get to them.
IMPORTANT! If you're using a "whitelist" or a list of approved senders to block unwanted email (aka spam), be sure to add both email@example.com and KenPerlman@aol.com to your list, otherwise you won't be able to receive acknowledgements for payments, directions to camp, or answers to your questions by email.
ABC Flyer: As soon as we have the ABC flyer done we'll have a link to it here...
ABC Poster: As soon as we have the ABC poster done we'll have a link to it here...
|Links to other interesting camps and music-related organizations.|
ABC is sponsored by||