09 May 2016

First Bluegrass Camp Ireland, 22-4 July 2016!

Bluegrass instruction camps for learners at all levels are held in many countries: the UK's Sore Fingers Summer Schools are the premier example in Europe. Bluegrass festivals in other countries offer opportunities and facilities for jamming. Simon Humphries and T.J. Screen in Dublin asked themselves 'Why not in Ireland?' and set to work to make things happen. Hence this news of an exciting development for the bluegrass scene in Ireland; Simon writes:

We're delighted to present an Irish Bluegrass Camp which will take place at Headfort School, Kells, Co. Meath, the weekend of 22-24 July 2016.

It's a residential weekend - there will be accommodation and top-class food reflecting local provenance. The Hamilton County Ramblers (USA) will be our senior-level tutors: Roy Currie will offer in-depth guitar tuition, Jim Pankey 5-string banjo, James Kee mandolin, John Boulware fiddle, and Josh Hixon double bass. Luke Coffey (multi-instrumentalist) and Paddy Kiernan (5-string banjo) are our Irish-based tutors. We will announce others soon.

Why? Personally, as a 5-string player, I found it very difficult to find others to play with here in Ireland. After years of practice on my own, I left the instrument in its case one day, and didn't open it for many years after. Everywhere else I lived seemed to have tons of opportunities to play with others - Australia, UK, US, France. Great festivals and camps which were geared to jam sessions for all levels. Why not here? Unless you were on the bill at an Irish festival, there were few or no opportunities to play. Why not? How else do you progress? Bluegrass is all about playing with others. That's what this weekend will be all about. We have got some interest from abroad, and have picked a venue accessible from the North.

We are pitching it to cater for all levels - from beginners to red-hot players. So, come learn from some of the best bluegrass practioners in the world, play your heart out, have a few beers in a gorgeous place with a load of like-minded individuals. It's going to be a lot of fun! Spread the word.

Headfort School, Kells, Co. Meath

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