Workshops, Gathering Place, Etc.

Winter Bluegrass Weekend - March 3 - 5, 2023


Thursday, March 2, 6:00pm

Hosted by Chris & Steve Anderson

As at past indoor festivals, we are again inviting any and all Bluegrass Fans to an Open Bluegrass Jam in the Crown Plaza Fireside Lounge on Thursday night, March 2, beginning at 6:00 PM.

This is a FREE Bluegrass Jam, and new jammers (and Listeners too) are WELCOME! You’ll see a few “Jammers’ Commandments” to help novice jammers understand the rotation of turns and instrumental breaks, but LOTS of compassionate folks who’ve BEEN WHERE YOU ARE, and not only Survived, but went on to join in more Jams during Summer, Fall & Winter Weekend Festivals, as well as lots of others for years!

Meet some GREAT FOLKS, make new friends, get tips on playing your instrument and/or singing…..but most importantly, HAVE FUN WITH MUSIC!  You DON’T have to be a Pro at playing, have a History of Bluegrass knowledge, or an expensive instrument – we had none of those when we started either!  Steve and I are past Trombone players who met in Jazz Band, and now he’s a Fiddler and I play Bass and Guitar and Love to Jam!   Come JOIN US!!

Gathering Place - Conference Room E

Make the Gathering  Place your hub for information, upcoming festivals, magazine browsing, and take home crafts for kiddos.

Open at 9am daily.

Friday, March 3

  • 6pm: Gathering Place Opens
  • 7pm: Open Stage Signup Begins

Saturday, March 4

  • 9am: Gathering Place Opens
  • 9am - 11am: Wee folks Colorful Crafts & Take Home Fun with Ms Kim
  • 11:00am - 12:00pm: Bluegrass Jam—Beginners to Intermediate. Bring a song to share! With the Fish Heads
  • 12:00pm–1pm: Ukulele Jam
  • 1:00pm - 2:30pm: Remembering Bob Douglas with Mad Jack and the Black Label Boys
  • 2:30–3:15pm: Meet & Greet with the MBOTMA Board
  • 3:30pm - 4:30pm: Craig Evans Old Time Conversations showing. Bart Reiter & Rayna Gellert Interviews
  • 4:30–9:00pm: Open

Sunday, March 5

  • 9am: Gathering Place Opens
  • 4pm: Gathering Place Closes

Friday March 3rd, Europa Room
Spotlight On: Songwriting on the Banjo

Hosted by Ellen Stanley

Friday, 7-9 pm - Europa Room

Join us Friday night in the Europa Room for a spotlight on songwriting on the banjo. Hosted this year by Ellen Stanley (Mother Banjo, Womenfolk Radio), this will be a deep dive into the process of songwriting and the nuances of crafting compositions on the banjo. She’ll welcome an eclectic range of banjo-playing songwriters, including bluegrass favorite Mark Kreitzer,  old-timey multi-instrumentalist Adam Kiesling (Corpse Reviver, Pop Wagner, Bussard Situation), radio-charting folk songwriter Jaspar Lepak.

Together they’ll play tunes, talk about how the instrument impacts the song and explore how turning to new instruments can help tap into new avenues of creativity. Perfect for beginning songwriters, experienced writers looking for fresh ideas, song lovers and banjo fans, this will be a lively conversation jam-packed with great songs of various acoustic music traditions.

About the Artists:

Ellen Stanley is a New England-raised, Minneapolis-based singer, songwriter abd banjo player for the award-winning Mother Banjo Band. Called “an outstanding poet” (Inside Bluegrass), she was a Midwest Finalist for the prestigious NewSong Contest and has been featured nationally on SiriusXM Radio, and Americana UK.

Mark Kreitzer is an instrumental virtuoso, member of the Min­nesota Rock and Coun­try Hall of Fame and a recip­i­ent of MBOTMA’s first Favorite Blue­grass Song­writer Award. In addition to leading his own bluegrass band, he is a member of Patty and the Buttons and Clearwater Hot Club and sits in with such acts as Becky Schlegel and The Platte Val­ley Boys.

Adam Kiesling is a banjo, guitar and bass player, who is a veteran of the square and contra dance scene. He performs solo but has also worked with region’s top music bands, including Corpse Reviver, Pert Near Sandstone and Wild Goose Chase Cloggers.

Jaspar Lepak is a folk and Americana singer-songwriter who hails from the Sonoran Desert and is influenced by the many places she has called home (Arizona, South Africa, Seattle and Minneapois). Her latest album of originals Desert Ghosts charted in the top 10 on folk radio.

Saturday March 4th Workshops

Dance Parlor Downstairs

  • 10am: Old Time Fiddle SW Virginia Style with Andrew Small:
    Using the traditional repertoire of Southwest Virginia as a vehicle for exploration, we’ll make a deep dive into the soul of old time fiddling and explore style, purpose, expression, functionality, and the role of the fiddle within an ensemble. With an emphasis on developing listening skills and recognizing patterns, we will break down techniques for bowing and phrasing that are at the heart of the old time sound. Recording devices are encouraged!
  • 11am: Harmony Singing Workshop with Ashlee Watkins & Andrew Small
    In this interactive workshop, we’ll explore how to achieve a good vocal blend by examining phrasing, pronunciation, tone, and intonation. We’ll learn repertoire from SW Virginia’s Carter Family as we delve into how we choose parts (assigning lead/tenor/baritone/bass) and find the right key as well as the stylistic choices involved in designing a harmony line. Bring a friend, an instrument if you play one, and all of your questions about harmony singing!
  • 3:00pm: Clogging Showcase & Workshop with Wild Goose Chase Cloggers
  • Come see a clogging demonstration, then learn a few steps yourself! 
  • 4:00 - 6:00pm: Happy Hour Square Dance with Andrew Small, Ashlee Watkins, Jared Boyd & Friends

Green Room (Behind Old Time Dance Hall)

  • 10am: Old Time Country Guitar with Ashlee Watkins
    In this old time country guitar workshop, we will focus on the three T’s: Tone, Taste and Timing! We’ll discuss the importance of right hand technique while trying out a few different feels such as waltz, two-step and breakdown. We'll also explore the creative and stylistic outlet that chord choice and bass runs have to offer, all while debunking the myth that the fiddler has all the fun!
  • 11am: Old Time Banjo with Jared Boyd:
    One of the densest concentrations of old-time music in the world can be found stretched across four counties in the Blue Ridge Mountains of SW Virginia, from Grayson County through Galax all the way to Franklin County. In this workshop we’ll explore some of the clawhammer banjo greats of yesterday and today from this region including Wade Ward, Enoch Rutherford, Emily Spencer, and Larry Sigmon. We’ll also learn some special right-hand techniques such as the “Galax lick” along with a few variations as well as some examples of tunes in which it can be used.  

Studio 2

  • 2pm: Embellishing Fiddle Tunes with Jim Price (sponsored by the Minnesota State Fiddlers Association)
    A general discourse on improving technique, tying into a rhythmic pulse, stylistic affectations and variations, and discovering new material to embellish what fiddlers already have in their repertoire. Geared towards fiddlers with a few years of experience who want to improve their playing.
  • 3pm: Old Time Fiddle tunes that shift past first position with AJ Srubas:
    Come learn some fun old time tunes that require shifting up the neck to reach notes in higher positions, and learn some tips and techniques for smooth shifting

Studio 3

  • 10am: Bluegrass Banjo with Bruce Johnson:
    You can play Banjo (and still have friends!) Come see how. 
  • 11am: Beginning Improvisation on Guitar with Greg Landkamer 
    Do you shake your head “no” when it’s your turn to take a break during a jam? Discover the art of guitar improvisation in a beginner-friendly workshop. Learn basic concepts, techniques and exercises to unleash your creativity on the fretboard. Gain confidence in playing with others, primarily for beginners.
  • 12pm: String Instrument Set Up with David Vincent:
    There are 5 things/parts/conditions that affect action or play ability of string instruments. We'll talk about them and which ones you can perhaps adjust yourself and which ones should be left to a pro.
  • 1pm: Bass with Mark Anderson:
    Come learn tips and tricks for being a boss on bass. 
  • 2pm: Dobro Workshop with Andy Kozak and special guests Michael Kilby, Dale Reichert, and Paul Jones
  • 3pm: Beginning Swing for Fiddle and Mandolin with Brian Wicklund 
    Swing rhythm and the circle of fifths.
  • 4pm: Guitar Fun in the Key of E with Jon Garon and Mark Kreitzer 
    Interesting things to do on guitar in the key of E

Studio 5

  • 10am: Clawhammer Banjo with Rob Daves:
    Just like it sounds! 
  • 11am: Fiddle Bowing with John Wallace:
    Foundations of fiddle bowing, old time and more
  • 12pm: Guitar Theory—Alternate chord shapes up the neck with Lew Tousignant:
    How to use known chord shapes up the neck and across the strings to make new, moveable chords. 
  • 1pm: Old Time Fiddle - tunes that shift past 1st position with AJ Srubas:
    Come learn some fun old time tunes that require shifting up the neck to reach notes in higher positions, and learn some tips and techniques for smooth shifting
  • 2pm: Bluegrass Jamming for Beginners with Matt Jensen:
    The ins and outs of playing in a bluegrass jam
  • 3pm: Kentucky Fiddle Tunes on Clawhammer Banjo with Caleb Hall:
    This workshop will be for clawhammer banjo and will cover the fiddle tunes "Old Buzzard" from Doc Roberts and "Last of Harris" from John Salyer and how to play them in a melodic style. 
  • 4pm: The Care and Feeding of your Voice with Julie Kaiser:
    Techniques and tips for creating quality vocal sound, including posture, breathing, warm ups and exercises.
  • 4:50pm: Brian Wicklund & Mike Cramer: 

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