Bluegrass intensive!

Tony Watt hosts a deep-dive into Bluegrass, with instrument-specific instruction, singing classes, electives, and lots and lots of jamming. Don’t miss this chance to learn from and jam with some of the best musicians and teachers in bluegrass music. 

 

See more information below about the staff, schedule, tuition, work-exchange positions, lodging, and more. Children and teens are welcome to attend with a guardian. Youth discounts and scholarships are available. 

2020 BLUEGRASS CAMP STAFF

Chris “Critter” Eldridge

Guitar, Punch Brothers

As a founding member of Punch Brothers, guitarist Chris “Critter” Eldridge has been at the vanguard of acoustic music for much of the past decade. Although initially drawn to the electric guitar, Chris
developed a deep love for acoustic music in his teens, thanks in part to his father, a banjo player and founding member of the seminal bluegrass group The Seldom Scene. Eldridge later gained in-depth exposure to a variety of different musical styles while at Oberlin Conservatory, during which time he studied with legendary guitarist Tony Rice. After graduating he joined the Seldom Scene, with whom he received a Grammy nomination in 2007. In 2005 he founded the critically acclaimed bluegrass band The Infamous Stringdusters, and in 2007 they won IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year for their debut album, Fork in the Road. Meanwhile, in 2005 he had caught the attention of mandolinist Chris Thile, who enlisted him, along with banjoist Noam Pikelny, violinist Gabe Witcher, and bassist Greg Garrison to start working on an ambitious side project. Soon after they decided to focus all of their collective energies into a band and Punch Brothers was born. The band has since released six critically acclaimed albums, received six Grammy nominations, and toured around the world. Eldridge also plays in a duo with guitarist Julian Lage, with whom he has released two full-length records and an EP; their most recent, Mount Royal, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Instrumental Album. Chris was also the house guitarist on the public radio show, Live From Here, formerly known as A Prairie Home Companion. He has worked with a diverse cast of musical luminaries including Paul Simon, John Paul Jones, Marcus Mumford, Justin Timberlake, T-Bone Burnett, Fiona Apple, Elvis Costello, Jerry Douglas, Sara Watkins, Del McCoury, and many others.

Kimber Ludiker

Fiddle, Della Mae

Born of fiddle playing parents in Spokane, WA, Kimber Ludiker is a fifth-generation fiddle player who started learning on the lap of her grandfather at age three. With eleven combined family National Fiddle Championships, Kimber holds three herself. In 2009, Kimber founded the all-female bluegrass/Americana string band Della Mae. They were IBMA’s Emerging Artists of the Year in 2013, GRAMMY Nominees in 2014 for their debut album on Rounder Records, named by Rolling Stone as one of ten bands to watch for in 2015, and have traveled with the U.S. Department of State to fifteen countries spreading peace and understanding through music. Kimber is a talented and in-demand teacher who has taught for many years, including at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, WV.

Alan Bibey

Mandolin, Grasstowne

Since first hitting the scene in the early 1980s, Alan has made a name for himself as one of the most creative and technically gifted mandolinists in bluegrass and acoustic music. He was a founding member of groundbreaking bands The New Quicksilver, IIIrd Tyme Out, BlueRidge, and for the last eight years, Alan Bibey & Grasstowne. Alan has won the SPBGMA Mandolin Performer Of The Year award six times including the last three years in a row, and he is also the reigning IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year. He also won the IBMA Instrumental Album of the Year in 2001, and Album of the Year in 2006. His solo project “In The Blue Room” was voted Top Instrumental Album by County Record Sales, and he was included in the Mel Bay book “Greatest Mandolin Players of the Twentieth Century.” In early 2004, the GibsonCompany started manufacturing the Alan Bibey Signature line of mandolins, reaffirming his status as one of the most influential mandolin players in bluegrass and acoustic music history.

Stephen Mougin

Singing, Sam Bush Band

Stephen Mougin is one of the most respected Jack-of-All-Trades in bluegrass and acoustic music: a compassionate teacher, compelling touring guitarist, natural songwriter, sought-after band coach, and gifted producer and engineer. Mougin is most naturally a vocal teacher, having earned a degree in music education with a vocal focus from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. “[Bluegrass voice teaching is] about knowing which rules you can break or bend to make it sound authentic,” he says. Mougin’s proven method starts with the fundamentals, and then he works with students on developing their own style. “Of all the things I am, the thing I do best is teach. The results are tangible, and it’s where I have the most confidence,” Mougin says. In 2005, he launched Dark Shadow Recording, a record label with a world-class studio that Mougin heads up. In addition to multiple IBMA awards, Dark Shadow Recording has released instructional CDs on baritone and tenor harmony vocals with help from Russell Moore and Ronnie Bowman. In 2006, Stephen joined Sam Bush band as the guitar player, and he has also worked as a vocal coach in the studio with the band. Stephen also teaches bluegrass guitar on TrueFire.com which Guitar Player Magazine calls “the planet’s largest and most comprehensive selection of online guitar lessons.” Over one million guitar players, from virtually every country in the world, “learn, practice, and play” with TrueFire’s interactive video courses and patented learning systems for personalized and private online instruction. 

Bill Evans

Banjo, teacher at Peghead Nation

Bill Evans is an internationally recognized five-string banjo life force. As a performer, teacher, writer, and composer, he brings a deep knowledge, intense virtuosity, and contagious passion to all things banjo, with thousands of music fans and banjo students all over the world, the product of a music career that spans more than 35 years. Bill has performed with David Bromberg, David Grisman, Peter Rowan, J. D. Crowe, Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard, James Nash, Tony Trischka, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Mike Seeger, Jim Hurst, Laurie Lewis, Kathy Kallick, and Molly Tuttle, among many others. Bill is the author of Banjo for Dummies, the most popular banjo book in the world. He has produced six critically acclaimed instructional DVDs for AcuTab Publications, Homespun Tapes, and the Murphy Method; and is the co-author of Parking Lot Picker’s Songbook: Banjo Edition from Mel Bay. Bill has been a mainstay at many of the most important banjo and bluegrass music camps around the world for the last decade and hosts his own annual California Banjo Extravaganza and the NashCamp Sonny Osborne Banjo Camp. Bill is equally adept at teaching experienced players and new learners who just want to have fun.

Joe Newberry

Singing, performs with Mike Compton and April Verch

Known around the world for his clawhammer banjo playing, Joe Newberry is also a powerful guitarist, singer, and songwriter. The Gibson Brothers’ version of his song “Singing As We Rise” won the 2012 IBMA Gospel Recorded Performance Award. With Eric Gibson, he shared the 2013 IBMA Song of the Year Award for “They Called It Music.” A longtime and frequent guest on A Prairie Home Companion, he was a featured singer on the Transatlantic Sessions in the U.K., and at the Session’s debut at Merlefest. He plays in a duo with mandolin icon Mike Compton, and also performs with dynamic fiddler and step-dancer April Verch. Newberry has taught banjo, guitar, singing, and songwriting at numerous camps and festivals, including Ashokan, the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Targhee Music Camp, the Australia National Folk Festival, and Vocal, Bluegrass and Old-Time Weeks at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, WV.

Zak McLamb

Bass, Grasstowne

Zak McLamb is the two-time reigning SPBGMA Bass Performer of the Year, an award he won in 2019 and 2020. Zak started playing music at the age of 7, when his father, a banjo player, bought a bass for his mother. Soon Zak fell in love with the bass and his father taught him a few notes and encouraged him to play. Zak studied under a classical bassist once a week for three years and learned the fundamentals of playing, then took the formal knowledge that he gained and applied it to his true musical love, bluegrass. Zak started playing music with his parents in a local group, The Tony McLamb Band, in 1988 and continues to play with them today. He joined the Raleigh-based New Vintage Bluegrass Band in 1992 and played with them for two of his high school years. It was during this time that New Vintage won both the SPBGMA International Band Championship and the Pizza Hut International Bluegrass Showdown. In 2004, Zak joined the Kenny and Amanda Smith Band and toured with them widely for seven years. Zak has recorded with many different artists in recent years and is considered one of the top bass players in the industry.

Betsy Rome

Beginner Guitar

Betsy Rome is well-known for her flatpicked guitar, blending bluegrass, old-time, Celtic, & swing influences. Noted for her rock-solid rhythm and inventive leads, she has won or placed in numerous band and instrumental contests. Betsy has taught workshops and classes at Grey Fox, Joe Val, Music Camp North, Podunk Bluegrass, Winter Village, Thomas Point Beach, Marist College, and Ashokan Flatpicking Camp. A founding member of Too Blue, one of the Northeast’s most respected bands, Betsy occasionally plays guitar in The Bluegrass Characters and plays mandolin in the Walkingwood Mandolin Quartet. “Betsy plays with a direct, highly effective approach… Everything about her playing is catchy and infectious, the sign of a total pro.” – Dan Miller, Flatpicking Guitar Magazine feature article.

Eli Gilbert

Beginner Banjo

Eli Gilbert is a native of North Yarmouth, Maine. After seeing J.D. Crowe and the New South at the Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival Eli purchased a banjo and moved to Johnson City, Tennessee to study Bluegrass at East Tennessee State University. There he had the chance to perform as a member of Jeff Brown and Still Lonesome and the ETSU Bluegrass Pride Band. Since then Eli has performed with top bluegrass artists such as five-time IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year Dale Ann Bradley, IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year Alan Bibey, Chris Jones, and more. Eli teaches bluegrass and jazz throughout Southern Maine and offers free bluegrass banjo lessons on Youtube at as well as dozens of free banjo videos and transcriptions for aspiring banjo students.

Max Rainwater

Beginner Fiddle

Max Rainwater grew up coming to Ashokan since the early 2000s. Over the years, he has taken Ashokan fiddle classes from Paul Anastasio, Junior Daugherty, Matt Glaser, Kevin Wimmer, Bruce Molsky, Jay & Molly, and so many others. Max emulates the styles of Ralph Blizard, Kenny Baker, and Daniel Williams, and enjoys transcribing their recordings. Max has studied Alexander Technique and can help fiddlers bolster their sound and play pain-free through good posture and fundamentals. Max is a past New England Fiddle Champion and most recently won the contest at the 5th Annual Oldtone Festival and finished twelfth at the National OldTime Fiddler’s Contest in Wieser, Idaho. He performs in bands called The Mapletones and The Fox Chasers.

Julian Berman 

Beginner Mandolin

Julian Berman is a guitarist and mandolinist from the Hudson Valley region of New York. He performs with a variety of bands, including Mars America and Wind and Stone. His love for folk and bluegrass music is clear as he picks and strums his way through most musical experiences. Julian has played and performed with many of the greats, such as Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Chris Eldridge, Larry Baione, Michael Daves, Denis Chang, Scott Nygaard, Jefferson Hamer, Tony Watt, among others. He teaches privately and at various music camps throughout the region. In addition, Julian is a piano technician and spends equal amounts of time tuning pianos as he does pickin’ fiddle
tunes on his mandolin and guitar.

TONY WATT

 Camp Coordinator, Jamming Instructor

 Award-winning flatpicking guitarist and mandolinist Tony Watt has performed throughout the United States and Europe, on the Grand Ole Opry, and beyond. He has been featured in Bluegrass Unlimited, Bluegrass Today, and Flatpicking Guitar Magazine, but is perhaps best known for his version of Cherokee Shuffle with Noam Pikelny and Andy Falco, which has been viewed about 200,000 times on YouTube. Tony has toured with Rounder Recording artist Alecia Nugent, with Leigh Gibson, guitarist for The Gibson Brothers, with Jenni Lyn Gardner, mandolinist for Della Mae, and currently performs with Alan Bibey & Grasstowne. He is the Vice President and Education Co-Director of the Boston Bluegrass Union (BBU) which puts on the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival. Tony has taught bluegrass for over 20 years and is a visiting artist at the Berklee College of Music’s prestigious American Roots Music Program. Tony is also the director of The Bluegrass University, which presents JamVember, a weekend-long bluegrass jamming “non-festival” held the weekend before Thanksgiving at the Sheraton in Framingham, MA. Tony currently teaches lessons, classes, workshops, and jam sessions throughout the Boston area and anywhere in the world online.

Class Schedule TBA

Monday

  • 3-5pm: Arrival and check in.
    Follow signs to check-in. Please unload and then return your car to the main lot immediately. If you need your car nearby for disability or health reasons, please request a special parking permit.
  • 5-6:15pm: Afternoon Programming
  • 6:15pm: Dinner
  • 6:45-7:15pm: Evening Program
  • 11pm: Snack

Tuesday-Thursday

  • 8:30am: Breakfast
  • 9:30-12:30pm: Morning Program
  • 12:30-1:30pm: Lunch
  • 1:45-6pm: Afternoon Program
  • 6-7:15pm: Dinner
  • 7:30-10:45pm: Evening Program
  • 11pm: Snack

Friday

  • 8:30-9:30am: Breakfast
  • 9:30-11:30am: Morning Program + Move Out
  • 1-2pm: Lunch
  • 2-3pm: Goodbye Gathering

Tuition includes all classes and activities, dances, concerts, and meals. Lodging is additional, see below. Work exchange and youth scholarships are available.

Adult: $695
Youth 13-25: $575
Child 5-12: $455 

Children under 5 attend for free. Campers under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. We offer a limited number of Parent/Spouse registrations (for those accompanying a full participant) at a rate of $455 which includes meals, and evening dances/concerts, but no classes. 

We recommend online registration. If someone else registered you and paid for you, only that person may view and edit your registration. If you prefer to pay by check or with a credit card by phone, please call (845) 246-2121 to register.

If you prefer to pay by check or with a credit card by phone, please call (845) 246-2121 to register.

You may pay in full, or hold your place with a tuition deposit of $150 per person when you register. If making a deposit, full payment is due no later than Monday, Jul 13, 2020 (4 weeks before camp begins). A $25 charge will be added to any remaining balance after this date to cover additional administrative costs, and full payment, rather than a deposit, will be required for any new registrations after this date.

Partial refunds are available until 2 weeks before camp begins. We retain $50 per person for cancellations up to Monday, Jul 13, 2020 (4 weeks before camp begins). We retain $150 per person for cancellations made between Monday, Jul 13, 2020 and Monday, Jul 27, 2020. We retain the full registration amount for cancellations after Monday, Jul 27, 2020 (2 weeks before camp begins).

All meals are included in the camp price. You may select omnivore, no red meat, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free meals. We make every effort to include a range of allergen-free dishes and to inform diners of meal ingredients.

The Ashokan Center is licensed to serve beer and wine in Esopus Lodge (the main building). The bar is generally open from late afternoon to early evening. Sorry, by law, guests are prohibited from bringing their own alcoholic beverages into this licensed building.

Enjoy the full Ashokan experience and choose comfortable onsite lodging during registration. 

LONGHOUSE BUNKS: Rooms hold up to 24 people and are designated women, men, or mixed gender. Place your belongings on a top or bottom bunk after you check in to claim it. Pillows are available, please bring your own blankets, sheets, pillowcases, and towels. There are a small number of light blankets for those bunkhouse residents who are unable to bring one of their own. If you will need us to provide one, please let us know well in advance.

PRIVATE ROOMS: There are a limited number of private rooms that must be reserved in advance at extra charge. Pillows are available, please bring your own sheets, pillowcases, and towelsThere are light quilts in each private room.

CAMPSITES: Camping is available with access to Longhouse bathrooms and showers. Please park by your campsite only if you plan to leave your car in place for the duration of the camp.

A limited number of work exchange positions are available to partially defray the cost of the camp. A list of work exchange positions are coming soon. 

Indicate your top 3 choices of work exchange positions during registration. If registering before the full payment deadline, make a deposit of $150 to hold your registration. If you receive a work exchange position, your balance will be adjusted before your final payment is due. When registering after the full payment deadline, pay in full at checkout and your award will be in the form of a refund. Contact us by phone (845) 246-2121, or email camps@ashokancenter.org for details.

Breakfast and Lunch Preparation (Discount: $175)

Tuesday through Thursday 7:30-8:30am and 11:30am-12:30pm. Friday 7:30-8:30am and 12-1:00pm. Shift may include dining hall set up & kitchen cleanup.

Breakfast and Lunch Clean Up (Discount: $175)

Tuesday through Thursday 9:30-10:30am and 1:30-2:30pm. Friday 9:30-10:30am and 2-3:00pm.

Dinner Preparation and Clean Up (Discount: $175)

Monday through Thursday 5:15-6:15pm and 7:15-8:15pm.

Dining Hall Clean Up (Discount: $210)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner clean up. Monday 7:15-8:15pm. Tuesday through Thursday 9:30-10:30am, 1:30-2:30pm & 7:15-8:15pm. Friday 9:30-10:30am and 2:00-3:00pm.

Snack Every Night (Discount: $175)

Set out snack Monday through Thursday before the end of evening program or by 10pm (whichever is earlier). Replenish as needed and clean up snack and dining hall when folks are finished, approx. 11:30pm.

General Cleanup Crew (Discount: $175)

Daily, as needed, flexible hours: Sweep, mop, move tables, benches & chairs, pick up trash. Final clean up last day, 3-5pm.

We believe in fostering a love for traditional music and dancing among young people. The future is in their hands! In addition to our child and youth pricing, anyone 25 or younger may also apply for a Youth Scholarship. Please apply during registration. 

PERSONAL ITEMS: Sleeping bag or blanket and linens, towel, soap, flashlight, earplugs (for light sleepers). There are light quilts in each private room and a small number of light blankets for those bunkhouse residents who are unable to bring one of their own. If you will need us to provide one, please let us know well in advance and we’ll do our best. Hand-held recorders are welcome. We don’t supply musical instruments but some can be borrowed.

CLOTHING: Prepare for wet and dry weather. Most people wear comfortable, informal clothing. You are encouraged to bring dressy, wild or fun clothing for dances and dinner, but that is up to you! Soft-soled shoes are best for most dancing. Hard smooth-soled shoes are best for clogging and step-dancing. There’s no laundry on site so bring enough clothes for the week.

Please, no pets or drop-in guests.

Incoming mail

Your Name c/o Ashokan Music & Dance
477 Beaverkill Rd, 
Olivebridge, NY 12461

Outgoing mail leaves each weekday at 4pm.

Music & Dance (845) 246-2121 Wed & Thurs noon-8pm
Ashokan Center (845) 657-8333 standard business hours

Cell phone reception is available but spotty. Calls may be dropped but texts are reliably received.

High speed Wi-Fi is available in all buildings.

Physical Address:
Ashokan Center, 477 Beaverkill Rd, Olivebridge, NY 12461

DRIVING DIRECTIONS  
Take NY State Thruway (1-87) to Kingston exit #19.
From traffic circle take Route 28 West (toward Pine Hill).
In 12 miles (shortly after Mobil & Citgo) turn left onto Reservoir Rd.
Cross the Ashokan Reservoir, turn left at the Tee.
Head down the hill, pass the first left (Rt 28A East) and merge onto 28A West.
Take next left onto Beaverkill Rd.
Follow Beaverkill for about one mile, then turn right into the Ashokan Center driveway and follow the signs.

AIRPORT  Albany, NY (ALB) is the closest major airport (about 1.5 hours away). Public transportation is available from the airport to the Kingston bus station, where you can take a taxi to Ashokan. Or contact us at least one month before your program begins for a list of people driving from the Albany area who may be able to give you a ride.

BUS  Trailways (800)858-8555 runs buses from Port Authority terminal in Manhattan to Kingston, NY (2 hours).

TAXI  We provide one taxi pick up at the Kingston bus station at 2:40pm on the first day of camp. Contact us at least three weeks in advance for a seat in the taxi (if still available). If you arrive at a different time, or do not reserve in time you’ll need to hire your own cab. We recommend Kingston Kabs 845-331-8200. (About $45.)

RIDES AND CARPOOLING 
 If you’d like to carpool, or offer a ride, please contact our office at least one month before the program begins and we’ll help coordinate a ride.

< Join the Ashokan Bluegrass Camp Group to connect with people who plan to attend and share photos and memories after the camp!

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