The idea for a camp came along last year by chance. Wendy and Peter had had the great fortune to have spent a few months in Canada and the States and to have attended ‘Wintergrass’ in Seattle. Many of the American festivals have intensive learning ‘academies’ prior to their weekend events. Wendy was surfing the net, investigating bluegrass camps of which there are quite a few to choose from in the States, longing to attend but not having the opportunity.
“I love the idea of immersing myself in an intense learning environment and having the chance to really try and move my playing to the next step. From this sprang the idea that maybe we could put on our own camp, prior to the Kelly Country Pick”
“We put feelers out many months before and originally had 10 people respond and express an interest. Initially we thought we’d like to have at least 20 to go ahead and make it worth the effort of organising it, so we were thinking of forgetting the whole thing. Then a little time went by, while we were organising the weekend event and I started to think, ‘Well, we have to start somewhere….. So, we committed to the idea and started to plan it in earnest, devising the program, searching for tutors and trying to get the information out to the public..”
“Then, slowly but surely, the project started to take on a life of its own. As the time got closer, my phone kept ringing and more and more enquiries and bookings came through. People were calling me from all over the country and planning their extended visit to Beechworth.We ended up with 36 people attending, and I was just amazed at where they were coming from: – Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Sunshine Coast, Tambourine Mountain, White Cliffs (Back of Bourke – literally), Hamilton, Phillip Island, Sth Gippsland, Geelong, over the snowy mountains in NSW, and from the local regions around Beechworth.”
We’re going to try again this year and we have extended it by a day. We are starting on the Tuesday and going through to Thursday night so we can all have a breather while we get ready for the weekend festivities starting on Friday night. We’re going to extend the program into the evenings and include a performance component this time. We expect it will be bigger this year – but not too big! I’m sure it will be equally inspiring, so hopefully we’ll see some of you there for an early start to a great weekend!” Wendy Jackson