The Old Time Music Camp Out and the Bluegrass Festival
Welcome, all players and listeners that appreciate old-time and bluegrass music to a weekend of playing, learning, sharing, and listening with some of the best old-time players in New England.
Vacationland Bluegrass Jam Camp has teamed up with the Old Time Campout to create a joint Old Time and Bluegrass Event: Strung Together, A Fine Old Time on Penobscot Bay. The Campout is held at one of the most beautiful outdoor jam spaces on the planet in Searsport, Maine!
Special in 2023, we're offering a concurrent Fiber College Basket Making Retreat. While you focus on your handwork, others will be gathering for jams, lessons and performances of Old Time and Bluegrass Music in other parts of the campground. In your workshop, you’ll be part of a small, close-knit group, and get all the skills, help and support you need to develop a beautiful basket. It's a chance to take a deep dive and hear your soul whispering while your hands are weaving. Details will be posted by May 1
This year's Strung Together Music Jam Campout
Held on the coast of Searsport, Maine, September 15-17th, 2023.
The OT & Bluegrass Jam weekend begins Friday afternoon with an OT Jam and banjo workshop followed by our world famous Strung Together wood fired pizza bar and concert. The jams will take place in different areas in the park but close enough to give all participants easy access to both jam circles.
This year we are jamming around the grounds under tents, porches, trees and other canopies. Designated spaces will be laid out for each style of music, with unlimited spots to hold you own jam.
Our special guests include Skip Gorman, Grey Larsen, Cindy Kallet, Fred Coon, John Pranio, Toki Oshima, Annadeene & Tom Fowler and Linden Frederick!
Skip is an iconic figure in the American Folk Music scene and has been for years. A devotee and student of Bill Monroe, Skip is a fine mandolin player and a great fiddler as well. In addition, he has a giant gig bag of true American Song. Skip will perform concerts and conduct workshops on both mandolin and fiddle. His presence at the Jams will guarantee that a good time will be had by all. We feel very fortunate to land Skip for the Fall Festival. He is a musical magnet and attracts others of high skill.
Also on tap for this year’s festival is the famous Fred Coon. Fred graced our Festival for the first time in the Fall of 2021 and was an instant hit. We were lucky enough to welcome him again to the 2022 Strung Together Music Camp Out. Fred knows hundreds of songs and tunes all performed with his personal unique style on the five string banjo. He has spent a lifetime gathering the stories that make his tunes meaningful and relatable. Reserve your spot now as Fred’s performances are memorable events.
Born into a musical family, Ed started playing the fiddle at the age of 4, learning Suzuki method. His musical interests cover a wide spectrum from Bluegrass to Celtic and beyond and he has been a regular instructor for Maine Fiddle Camp since 2003. Ed will be delighting us with his wonderful fiddle style Saturday afternoon at 4PM. Maybe we can coax him to stay around for a little jamming after his performance 🙂
Grey Larsen & Cindy Kallet
Cindy Kallet and Grey Larsen, each well-known and loved for their decades of music making, have spent well over a decade and a half in a joyful musical collaboration. Cindy is a superb singer, guitarist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist.
Grey is one of America’s finest players of the Irish flute and tin whistle, as well as an accomplished singer and concertina, fiddle, piano and harmonium player. As composers each contributes to the unique tapestry of contemporary folk and world music as it flourishes in the US today. Together, they weave songs and tunes of vibrant color and rich texture.
Potential workshop offerings:
Scott Alarik of The Boston Globe calls Cindy “…one of folk music’s most respected songwriters… provocative, heartwise, and original …a brilliant guitarist….” Mike Joyce of the Washington Post calls Grey “… a gifted multi-instrumentalist who consistently demonstrates his melodic finesse,” while The New Mexico Daily describes his playing as “positively spellbinding.” Cindy and Grey have also appeared with host Andrea Seabrook on National Public Radio’s “Weekend All Things Considered.”
Strung Together Special Announcement: Local Violin Maker Linden Frederick will appear as our Showcase Luthier at this Fall's Old Time and Bluegrass. Linden's instruments are garnering high praise from some very talented individuals. We are very lucky to have him participating in this event. Stop by and chat.. maybe test drive one of his marvelous instruments.
Luthier Linden Frederick in his violin-making workshop, Belfast, Maine
The Basic Dos and Don’ts of Bluegrass Fiddling
For any old time fiddler who’s tempted to join a bluegrass jam but wonders how the heck to do it.
In this workshop we’ll go over the basic dos and don’ts of bluegrass fiddling including: Understanding chords and chord families and how to play them on the fiddle. Knowing when to play the melody and when to play backup. Various ways of playing backup. How at add fills.
- If inspired fiddling is your goal, you have to look no further than Jim Burke. His distinctive and driving brand of fiddling attracts more fans all the time. It is safe to say that he will be jamming all weekend.
- Old Time Jam circle with George, Art, Bob and/or Jeff is always fun and special.
- And, wait that's not all! If the planets align and all's right with the world, we may have a visit from Cindy Kallet and Grey Larsen (Fingers crossed on that one as it would be a Musical Gift of major proportion).
Workshops and jam sessions are being offered this year in a more spontaneous fashion. Volunteer workshops and jam leaders will post their offerings on the big marker board in the middle of the camp. Please feel free to offer up a workshop, lead a jam or just sit by the fire playing with a friend during the weekend. Most importantly, enjoy sharing a few tunes along the seaside in a welcoming and relaxed space.
Jam Spaces will remain open all weekend and are not limited by the schedule or time. A room will be available to lock up your instruments in the evening.
Workshop registration begins on April 15th !
General admission tickets
The ticket fee includes admission for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to all jam spaces, performances, and community fire rings along with any other activities that may pop up.
- Your donation helps to cover the costs of teachers, jam leaders, staff, tents, pizza party, and cleaning of bathrooms.
- Ask us about volunteer opportunities or lead a jam session as your donation.
- Extra monies will be used for musician scholarships and to help fund the Makers Guild instrument/fiber tool lending project.
Suggested donation for the weekend is $75 or $60 if sent in by August 25th – not including camping, special workshops, lunch or private lessons. Each workshop is only an additional $50 donation (of course, a bit larger donation is always appreciated).
Call or email Searsport Shores for a camping spot. Campsites include hot showers, picnic table and fireplace (oceanfront & RV site upgrades available). Reserve your campsite now by calling Searsport Shores at 207-548-6059. Make sure to mention you’re coming for the jamming weekend when you call.
Sign up for our mailing list below. Please stay tuned for more updates as the date approaches.
“A Fine Old Time on Penobscot Bay”
All types of camping is available that weekend including tents, hammocks, RVs, safari, cabin rentals. Volunteers are needed, and any time you can give is greatly appreciated. Bartering welcome.