About Our Program
Suwannee Banjo Camp is devoted to offering serious instruction in old-time and bluegrass music, all taught by outstanding musicians who are also gifted and empathetic teachers. Over the years we have come up with a cadre of instructors who fit the bill, and who go way out of their way to make sure students have every opportunity to learn in a warm, non-judgmental environment.
The camp runs straight through from Thursday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. We offer nine class sessions — three on Friday, four on Saturday and two on Sunday. Each session is one hour and fifteen minutes long. There are staff concerts on both Friday and Saturday evenings; over the course of the weekend you’ll have the opportunity to hear our entire staff in concert. Rounding out the program are “demonstrations,” presentations, and staff-led bluegrass and old-time jams conducted at a variety of skill levels. See below for more details.
For information on our banjo, guitar and fiddle classes go to the Classes page and select the tab for the instrument and style that most interests you.
Can I Still Attend Suwannee Banjo Camp Just from Friday to Sunday? (The Weekend-Only Option)
Yes, you can. You can still enjoy SBC even if you can’t take an extra day off. Our Weekend-Only Option begins with the first class Friday afternoon. Included are seven hands-on classes and all meals from Friday dinner through Sunday lunch. Also included are the two faculty concerts, staff-led jams on Friday and Saturday evenings, and demonstrations on Friday afternoon.
Student Orientation takes place on Thursday evening right after dinner, prior to the start of the Thursday evening activities.
Thursday Evening Activities
On Thursday evening following orientation, we kick off our program with a student open mic and band scramble, in which students can perform as soloists, in groups of their own choosing, or in randomly assigned ensembles (some people call these “band scrambles”). To make the band scramble experience more rewarding, we assign an instructor to serve as coach for each ensemble. The evening concludes with staff-led jams at different levels featuring either old-time or bluegrass music. We also offer jams with a vocals focus.
“Demos” take place on Friday afternoon. They are presentations or mini-performances combined with explication and Q&A sessions. They are similar to the kind of round-robin events called “workshops” at many Folk and Bluegrass Festivals. Click here for more on Demos.
We have two faculty concerts at SBC — one on Friday and the other on Saturday evening. During the course of SBC you’ll have an opportunity to hear our entire staff in concert. To get the idea of what to expect, here is a selection of videos from past SBC Faculty Concerts.
Staff-led jams at different levels are held following each faculty concert for bluegrass and old-time banjo. We also feature jams for vocalists and other specialized interests.
The complete SBC schedule listing all classes, demonstrations, concerts, and jams for the 2020 has just been posted. Check out our 2020 Schedule.
This is Our 2020 Faculty
- Old-Time Banjo: Riley Baugus, Allison deGroot, John Herrmann, Joe Newberry, Ken Perlman
- Bluegrass Banjo: Scott Anderson, Greg Cahill, Gina Furtado, James McKinney, Alan Munde, and Jeff Scroggins
- Fiddle: Pete Vigour (principal instructor); classes will also be taught by John Herrmann
- Guitar: Jim Hurst (principal instructor); classes also be taught by Alan Munde & Joe Newberry
- Mandolin: Mike Compton (principal instructor); classes also taught by others TBA
- Guest Faculty: Susie Coleman, Ellen Vigour, and more TBA
Photos and bios of our staff are posted on the 2021 Instructors page.
Starting and Ending Times for Full Camp and Weekend-Only Option
Check-in for the full Camp Opens at 3:00 PM on Thursday March 11; hands-on classes start promptly at 9:15 AM on Friday March 12. Camp ends following lunch at 1:30 PM, Sunday March 14. Check-in for the Weekend Only Option starts at 11:00 AM Friday, March 12; your first camp meal is dinner (6:00 pm). The program begins about 1:30 pm that afternoon and continues through the morning of Sunday March 14.