Home News There are still a few spots left for Old School Bluegrass Camp

There are still a few spots left for Old School Bluegrass Camp

Guitar in Woods

Listen closely and you’ll hear the bright sound of rolling banjos and chopping mandolins, the deep bow of the fiddle, guitar strums and thumping bass, as the strings of summer ride the cool breezes through the Lanark Highlands this July.

Old School Bluegrass Camp is nestled among the rolling hills, forests and fields in the tiny hamlet community of Elphin, ON on the home property of camp director Jenny Whiteley and head cook Joey Wright.

Old School Bluegrass Camp returns for its sixth season as pandemic restrictions ease and al fresco music in small groups is permitted. The OSBC team is making the most of the glorious Ontario summer outdoors by adding two pop-up camp weekends in 2021; bookending the full week annual camp. Three days dedicated to fiddle and banjo happen July 1 to 3, leading up to the full camp week, which offers instruction in fiddle, clawhammer and bluegrass banjo, mandolin, guitar and upright bass from July 4 to 9, and the week wraps up with three days of old time music from July 9 to 11. As limited numbers of student camper spots are available, campers at the pop-up camps will receive direct and intimate instruction with a very low student-to-teacher ratio like no other camp of its kind. Workshops, instruction, jams, concerts, home-cooked healthy food and more; all outdoors in the beautiful natural landscape of northeastern Ontario. All health protocols will be compliant with local regulations. Old School Bluegrass Camp is an adult camp for students 18 and over camping on-site, enjoying a week of learning music at all skill levels from beginner to advanced.

The fiddle and banjo camp features Canadian and U.S. Fiddle Champion Shane Cook, and Nathan Smith of the Barrel Boys and Red River Ramblers sharing their expertise in many different styles of fiddle music. Sam Allison (Lotus Wight of Sheesham & Lotus) and the Barrel Boys’ Rob McLaren will lead the clawhammer and bluegrass banjo component. Workshops focused on timing, phrasing and communication with other players will highlight the programming, which will include bluegrass, Celtic, swing, old time and country styles. The long and storied relationship between the fiddle and banjo will be a focus of the three-day camp.

The old time camp features old-time banjo expert Chris Coole leading banjo and guitar and Teilhard Frost (Sheesham & Lotus) leading fiddle, harmonica and percussion. Kristine Schmitt will guide performance and voice coaching, and Luke Mercier joins in to lead more fiddle and banjo programming.

The sixth annual Old School Bluegrass Camp week July 4 to 9 also features a stellar lineup of instructors: John Showman (fiddle), Adrian Gross (mandolin), Darryl Poulsen (guitar) Guy Donis (bluegrass banjo), Sam Allison (upright bass), and Chris Coole (clawhammer banjo). Performance coaching from Kristine Schmitt and a history of bluegrass presentation from banjoist Chris Quinn are also part of the weeks’ activities. There are still class spots available in the upright bass and guitar classes, and prospective students can be added to a waiting list for the other instrument classes, or attend as a camp companion along with another student.

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... ALLISON BROWN likes her religion a little bit gritty, takes her country music with a side of syrup and keeps her folk as dusty as the ol’ cabin floor. With a hatful of broken hearts, bad weather, toils of the road and leaps of faith, Allison’s crafted originals matched with classic roots repertoire reflect the striking conviction she brings to her sweet and powerful singing. As a soloist, Allison’s lonesome warbles soar over subtle guitar framework, but can turn quickly to a feverish cyclone when joined by her spirited troupe of accompanists. Allison brings her truest self to her collection of songs and to the stage in a refreshing conversation with the audience. …Currently, Allison is recording the anticipated follow-up to her 2005 debut release “Everything That Shined”. Looking ahead to a release in spring of 2010, her new full-length recording will feature twelve songs picked up along Allison’s dusty road of folk. Immediately after her Home County Folk Festival return performance, Allison began her adventure to craft these recordings at the Protection Island, BC, studio of master of musical tradition, David Essig. An eleven-date tour across Canada’s west followed the sessions; and with her guitar, her ukulele and her suitcase in hand, Allison took the old Grey dog along the Trans-Canada all the way back to London. Her first time through the mountains and the prairies, Allison hopes to return to the west to re-connect with the warm audiences she embraced on her first western tour. Two new original songs, “Somethin’ Holy” and “All The Birds” will be pre-released on Myspace and CBC Radio 3; a third song, her interpretation of Townes Van Zandt’s “Poncho & Lefty” will be available as an exclusive demo for radio stations and festival applications. “a gorgeous voice that seemed way too big for one person” ~ Barbara Bruederlin, BadTempteredZombie.Blogspot.com … Allison lives and breathes for folk festivals and adds a participative spark to the workshop stage with her knack for harmony singing. A performer, volunteer, special guest and jam instigator, Allison is a familiar face throughout the summer at festivals in Ontario, but hopes to bring her cohesive spirit to festivals in western Canada this summer. This spring, in addition to regular performances in London and Toronto, Allison will be touring through Ontario’s north, east and southwest following the new recording’s official release. A seasoned soloist, Allison was featured as part of the wildly successful "Girls With Glasses Tour", with songwriters Evalyn Parry, Eve Goldberg, and Karyn Ellis. Allison’s skills as a bandleader were showcased as the featured vocalist in London bluegrass quartet "The Goin' Concern" at festivals, backyard parties and the ruckus raised on Bluegrass Sunday night every week at the Alex P Keaton. Dedicated to sharing folk music with the community, she is also the host of "For The Folk", every Wednesday night from 8:30 to 10pm, on London's CHRW Radio 94.9fm. She also works at GROOVES Records where she surrounds herself with all the divine vinyl and indie new releases her ears can hear.


  1. Not sure if you’re even going to receive this email because the link I’ve come across is an old one, but I’m interested in learning more about potential upcoming camps. I’ve more or less played around with acoustic guitar for a number of years and am currently attempting to learn to play appalachian or mountain dulcimer.
    Hoping to hear from you ….


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