Old School Bluegrass Camp



Old School Bluegrass Camp, July 2nd to 6th, Elphin, Ontario: $895.00 + HST

Old School Bluegrass Camp is a hands-on experience.  Whether you’ve been playing all your life or you’re new to the joys of creating your own music, you’ll find exciting opportunities to play with others at camp:  in your band labs (that’s right, you’re starting a band!), at the nightly jams, impromptu sessions around the apple tree, slow-jams, song circles and your daily instrument classes.  You’ll learn techniques from incredible teachers, enjoy fun and informative workshops, gather up a fresh batch of inspiration and find your people – life-long learners, creative sorts and artists-at-heart!  Plus, there’s an amazing concert, just for you, every night!  

Who is teaching at camp?

Clawhammer – Riley Baugus – Riley is a banjo player and builder from Walkertown, North Carolina.  Riley’s credits include Cold Mountain Soundtrack and Raising Sand (Alison Krause and Robert Plant).  Riley regularly tours with Tim O’Brien and Dirk Powell.


Bass – Sam Allison – Sam often performs sunder the stage name Lotus Wight.  Sam is a Juno and Folk Music Award-nominated producer, a bass player and multi-instrumentalist who has performed and recorded with Jenny Whitley, Luke Mercier, Joey Wright, Sheesham and Lotus and ‘Son, Sarah Harmer and many more. 


Bluegrass Banjo – Rob Mclaren – As a member of the Barrel Boys, Rob has toured and performed at many top Bluegrass and Folk Festivals and released several acclaimed albums, including a recent solo record.  Rob is a camp favourite returning to teach this summer along with band-mates Kyle and Nate. 


Fiddle – Nathan Smith – Another member of The Barrel Boys, one of Canada’s top bluegrass ensembles, Nathan is an accomplished fiddler in the old-time and bluegrass traditions, with an upbringing in Celtic and Canadian styles as well.  We are thrilled to welcome Nate back to camp. 


Mandolin – Will Meadows – A friend of the camp, Will has been pickin’ with the top “bluegrassers” in Ontario since he was a teenager.  Will performs often with Nichol Robertson, Kristine Schmitt and The Hamstrung Stringband.  Will is a Central Ontario Bluegrass Award winner for Mandolin Player of the year.  

Guitar – Kyle Kirkpatrick – We are spoiled to have three members of the Barre Boys joining us this July!  Kyle is returning by popular demand to teach guitar, but he may also treat us to a dobro lick or two!  Kyle has toured and performed with many top acts on the Canadian acoustic music scene.  He has also taught at some of North America’s finest camps and workshops. 


What is included in my camp fee?

There are no extra fees or meal plans at Old School, your fee covers everything for you at camp.

This includes: all meals and snacks served fresh and hot
– on-site camping with hot showers – no charge for campers or RV’s but there are NO HOOKUPS
– airy, clean private washroom facilities
– potable well water
– secure instrument storage
– ALL workshops, band labs, classes and activities
– exclusive evening performances by your instructors
– fire-side sessions and jams with instructors nightly
– Luthier Luke Mercier is on-site for you! Small repairs and tune-ups are included in your fee

Bringing along a Camp Companion is the deal of the century.  A companion must attend with a registered camper.  The companion will enjoy all meals, all performances, sessions and jams plus any group workshops.

Glamping!  You can rent a tent from us that will be all set up for you when you arrive.  There will be a bed with clean warm bedding and pillows (not an air mattress), side table, chair and battery powered lighting.  Singles and doubles available, limited number of tents, so act soon!

Where is camp?

Old School Camps are held in the beautiful Lanark Highlands of eastern Ontario, in the hamlet of Elphin.  Camp owners and directors Jenny Whiteley and Joey Wright are pleased to welcome you to their home, a century farm house surrounded by acres of rolling farmland, where you’ll be camping and learning.

Elphin is 3.5 hours from Toronto, 3.5 hours from Montreal, 1 hour from Kingston, Ontario.  The address and location will be emailed to you including directions after registration.

Ride sharing can be facilitated, including pick-up from airports, train stations and bus terminals if needed.  Send us a note with questions.  Parking is adjacent to the camping area on-site.

When is camp?

Camp starts July 2 at 4pm and ends July 6 after lunch.  Exact times are emailed to registered campers.

How do I sign up?

Check our FAQs for more information, or email us anytime with questions or concerns, we’re here to help!


A typical day at Old School Bluegrass Camp…

8:00 Early Bird Coffee Time
9:00 Breakfast
10:00 Instrument Class
11:30 Workshop (eg: Stage Fright Bootcamp- bring your instruments!)
12:30 Lunch (sign up for open mic)
2:00 Band Lab
3:30 Free Time
4:30 Workshop (Three-Chord-Wonders – bring your instrument!)
6:00 Dinner
7:30 Instructor Concert on Sunset Stage
8:30 Slow Jam in the Pavilion
10:00 Fire-side Jam Sessions