11th annual
Bristol Pre-Rhythm & Roots Festival
Jam Camp 2024
September 10-13

Sponsored by Birthplace Of Country Music Museum
and Bristol Rhythm & Roots Festival.

Taught proudly according to the Wernick Method.

This is our flagship camp of the year.
Lots of people, lots of teachers, lots of jamming, breakout sessions, showcases, live teacher led karaoke, after hours jamming, perform on Cumberland stage at Rhythm & Roots Fest and get Free Friday tickets.

Abingdon VA (just up the road from Bristol.)
September 10-13, 2024
Tuesday 2:00-6:00 (then comes dinner and after hours jamming)
Wednesday and Thursday 10:00-6:00
Friday 10:00-4:00 (followed by our big gig on the Cumberland Stage.)

Jubilee House Retreat Center

Banjos are Wait Listed. 
Banjo is real popular at our jam camps and we strive to keep a good balance of instruments. Let me know and I'll make sure you get the message when banjos open up again. Be patient, something always seems to open up!

Call me or write:
Click here to pay deposit ($150.00) via Square.


What it's like:

Our flagship jam camp event of the season. More students, more teachers, and our own team of chefs - Crystal , Theresa and Edward serving quality meals each day. The campus is beautiful, convenient and comfortable. Lots of room for breakout sessions. Our rooms are all on site so you can relax and never have to leave. After hours jamming is a pretty regular thing and the teachers often put on a concert. Sometimes we'll be your backup band for the Thursday evening Jamboree.
Camp culminates in a class performance opening the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Festival. The land is green and horses come in for a closer look.
Magic happens.

Small Groups

The way bluegrass is supposed to be played.

We'll arrange small groups for you according to skills, interests, instruments, singing to get you the best ensemble experience. Sometimes groups can change so you can get experience with more people.

Large Group Instruction . . .

happens periodically as the occasion calls.

Especially first meeting of camp and typically mornings but other times too. These sessions are for everyone to get on the same page together. There we can set a theme, a principle or topic that we’ll pursue further in our small groups.

Breakout and Topical Sessions

Mixed groups according to topic like:

Finding melody - Faking a solo when you don't know or haven't practiced the melody - Leading a song or following one. Singing and also Harmony singing - Instrument specific breakouts - Pick up notes - Fills - tone, timing and technique - Learning strategies - How to find your key(s) - capos and transposing. Who knows what will come up. We can't always hit everything but some things we always get to work on.

After Hours Jamming 

Pretty much a spontaneous and less rigorous time just letting it all hang out.

Small or larger groups tend to congregate in the various jamming spaces around Jubilee House. Indoors, outdoors - faster or slower - straight up bluegrass or off the beaten path stuff. Sit and visit or just watch the horses as the sun sets over the green Virginia hills. Or you may just want to retire and nurse your sore fingers. Sometimes the teachers may put on an impromptu concert.

The Food

Authentic real food by Crystal and Theresa.

Tuesday evening supper, three squares Wednesday Thursday, breakfast and lunch Friday. Crystal and Theresa make real food like your mama's - right in the Jubilee House kitchen. If you have special diet restrictions please let us know and we'll do our best to take care of you. Meals are paid separately.

Class Performance on the Rhythm & Roots Festival Stage

Opening the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Festival Friday

We'll all ride into Bristol town and assemble backstage (outdoors) for sound check. Typically the teachers will play three or four songs and then we'll all play some more songs together.  Don't get stage fright . . . the crowd for Friday's opening is quite small and friendly. After our "gig" we all get to roam the festival streets "on the house" courtesy of the Rhythm & Roots festival . There's several stages, eateries, arts and crafts, buskers and the like.
A great evening of fun. Friday's tickets are free and you can get nicely discounted tickets for the weekend too. We can stay over the weekend  at Jubilee House.

Tuition, meals and lodging

are  each separate. 

Tuition -  $475.00
Meals - $ We're figuring out meal prices.
Lodging - Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday $230.00
Traditionally students have been welcome to stay over extra days while attending the big festival at Bristol. We're hoping for more of the same.

Click here to pay your tuition deposit $150.00) via Square.

We love the Wernick Method

A common sense approach to getting musical fun and success in bluegrass jamming.

You'll be jamming in the first 5 minutes. We use Pete Wernick's time tested methods to get you understanding, how to techniques and plenty of action in a friendly circle of people just like you.

Gilbert Nelson

aka Dr. Jambo 

Gilbert Nelson is your host. He leads jammers to green pastures. A passionate player and teacher of the music. Gilbert can hone in on where you're at and guide you in ways to break out with more knowledge and pathways to improvement. He knows how to bring out the best in you and he leads jam camp by example with inspiration, energy, and insight.

Leigh Nelson

aka General Leigh

Affectionally known as "General Leigh" Leigh is Gilbert's "backup brain" She's part musician, part organizer and problem solver. Leigh knows jamming. She's a master with gentle and knowledgeable instruction making learning fun. Leigh plays Bass Fiddle, Guitar, Mandolin and she's learning banjo now. She’ll even sing for you if you’re nice.

We're still putting together our teaching team for 2024. Meanwhile, the team from 2023 is still listed below.
It's likely to grow or change.

Bob Minke

Master Instructor

Bob has been  part of jam camp with us from the beginning. A professional performer and multi-instrumentalist, Bob brings understanding and perspective that compliments what we other instructors  are doing. A wealth of historical knowledge and storytelling. You'll love Bob as much as we do.

Derwin Hinson

Master Instructor

Derwin grew up in bluegrass music, growing up playing in his family band. Derwin has performed with some big names in the biz and has a long track record instructing almost all the bluegrass instruments. (I've never seen him with a fiddle!) Derwin makes learning fun!

Don Julin

Master Instructor

Don Julin is a master mandolinist and author of the Mandolin For Dummies book. Don has played with some very big names and excels in music theory, and plays a variety musical styles. Most of all Don is about people, Easy to approach and generous giving knowledge and understanding  to all the campers. Don is fun to jam with. You'll see. 

Keith Yoder

Master Instructor

Keith Yoder has been teaching full time since 1994 on: guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass, fiddle, and dobro. An excellent musician and a superb teacher as well. Keith has an insightful knack for honing right in on where you're at with gentle and often humorous ways. Since 2007 Keith has always been a sought after and well liked instructor at popular music camps across the U.S. and Canada. Keep an eye on Keith as he seems to instigate after hour jams (and early morning ones too).

Jodi Harbin

Master Instructor

Jodi Harbin is a career musician who teaches mandolin, guitar, banjo and bass. She was the founder of the Colorado bluegrass band, Lonesome Traveler, and has continued her involvement in the bluegrass community after moving to the Knoxville area. She now performs with several groups including The Savage Hearts, and with her husband Tim Harbin. Working with Steve Kaufman at his camp every summer has exposed her to a wide range of teachers and teaching materials on all the bluegrass instruments..

Click for Upcoming Events.

Find out what's coming up for you.

Contact me.

I'll give you answers . . . or at least I'll find out for you.