07 August 2016

First Bluegrass Camp Ireland: looking backwards - and forwards

Participants in the first Bluegrass Camp Ireland
(photo: Sean McGrath)
The BIB editor reports:

At the start of this year, Simon Humphries and T.J. Screene began making plans for what was to become the First Bluegrass Camp Ireland. They had the dual aim of providing an Irish equivalent to the UK's Sore Fingers Summer Schools, and a prolonged and focused opportunity for more jamming than bluegrass festivals in Ireland generally afford.

Some might have shrunk from trying to put together such an ambitious event within six months. Nonetheless, thanks to their vision and hard work - and some good fortune - the Camp was held on the weekend 22-4 July 2016 in the impressive setting of Headfort School, Kells, Co. Meath. The good fortune was chiefly the availability of a touring US band, the Hamilton County Ramblers of Chattanooga, TN, as the core of the teaching faculty, assisted by some of the most talented young players on the Irish scene.

The result was, by all accounts, a resounding and unqualified success that guaranteed the Camp a regular place in the Irish bluegrass calendar. Participants have described it in such terms as 'a fantastic weekend', 'a life changer', and 'an absolute blast', praising the organisation and offering constructive suggestions for further development.

Thanks to Simon for the photos shown here; more can be seen on the Bluegrass Camp Ireland Facebook. Simon's own comprehensive, and very evocative, account of the Camp can also be read here. It ends with the very welcome words:

We've asked everyone to give us feedback so that next year it'll be even better. Date to be announced shortly. We can't wait. This will be an annual fixture.

Congratulations to everyone concerned!

Niall Hughes and Josh Hixson

Saturday evening concert: (l-r) Grainne Quinlan, Lily Sheehan,
Luke Coffey, Niall Hughes, T.J. Screene

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