Author: Evans, Bill

Itís Music Camp Time!

Iím writing this on Wednesday night but by the time you read this on Friday, Iíll be up at Walker Creek Ranch with about 200 other bluegrass and old-time music folks at the second annual CBA Winter Music Camp. At this moment, Iíve still got a lot of packing to do and job one is to dig out my cold weather gear in anticipation of a wild Bay Area weather weekend that includes the possibility of snow at sea level overnight on Friday. Watch the Message Board for onsite weather reports over the weekend!

The ever-growing popularity of instructional camps is one of the amazing stories of the last ten to fifteen years, as we celebrate the continuing strength and growth of our musical community. These days, you can find an instructional workshop of some kind at just about any time of year. There are camps that focus on individual instruments (like my own NashCamp Sonny Osborne Banjo Retreat which celebrates its eleventh year in 2011 - info at and camps that emphasize the thrill of playing onstage as part of a full band. Some camps are just for old-time musicians, while others head in a mostly bluegrass direction. Pretty much every camp that I know of welcomes all ability levels, so donít let the fact that youíre a beginner make you think youíre not ready to attend a music camp - if youíre thinking about going, then youíre ready.

Lodging and food can be a big consideration in your choice of camps. Most camps around the world offer shared college dormitory-style lodging, which usually works out just fine for a two to four night stay but staying at a nearby hotel is almost always an option, if youíre willing to pay extra for that luxury. Most camps also offer private lodging at a slightly higher rate.

Just about every music camp these days has pretty good food but some camps come through with downright great food and this can make a big difference to some folks, especially for a longer camp event. Donít worry about staying on a diet while youíre at camp - youíll get so little sleep that youíll burn off the extra calories youíll consume eating desert after both lunch and dinner just in the effort to stay awake jamming every night.

The two California Bluegrass Association camps - the winter camp happening this weekend and the summer music camp which will take place Sunday to Wednesday, June 12-15 this year, just before the Fatherís Day Festival, offer the best of all worlds with instruction at different levels on all instruments taught by an internationally recognized staff of instructors.

Weíre lucky to have these world-class events so close to home. Info on the summer session will be up at, soon after we all get home from winter camp on Sunday night and spend a day or two recovering and getting used to the normal world once again.

All the best,

Bill Evans

Posted:  2/25/2011

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