Old Time & Bluegrass Music Campout, 2020

Bluegrass and Old Time Music Jam Campout, Searsport, Maine
September 18-20th, 2020 Friday at 2 PM – Sunday 2 PM

Welcome all players and listeners that appreciate old time and bluegrass music to a weekend of playing, learning, sharing and listening with some of the best old time players in New England.

Vacationland Bluegrass Jam Camp has teamed up with the Old Time Campout to create a joint Old Time and Bluegrass Event: Strung Together, A Fine Old Time on Penobscot Bay. The Campout is held at one of the most beautiful outdoor jam spaces on the planet in Searsport, Maine.

A Combined Old Time and Bluegrass Event

You asked for it, we deliver: jams, Jams, JAMS! Guided slow jams, intermediate and advanced jams, workshops, concerts and much more!  Designated spaces will be laid out for each camp, with unlimited spots to hold you own jam.

Workshops and jam sessions are being offered this year in a more spontaneous fashion.  Volunteer workshop and jam leaders will post their offerings on the big marker board in the middle of the camp. Discount offered to all music leaders (please consider giving a workshop or leading a jam during the weekend).

The weekend will feature a concert featuring Nate Paine and the Mudslingers followed by a square dance called by Pat Danscen in the new music barn. Paine is the closest living source of Jon Bekoff’s tunes and playing style. Paine’s fiddling will make this night a celebration of Old Time Music at it’s best! followed by a called square dance in the new music barn!

Nate Paine is an old-time fiddler from southern New Hampshire and Vermont.
He was especially music
ally inspired by his folky, hippy folks and later in life by his dear friend and master fiddler, Jon Bekoff.  When he is not at home raising his two daughters or doing carpentry, he is out fiddling for square dances, farmers markets, concerts, and his cat Zorro.
He loves driving rhythm and sweet, old melodies, and hopes you love them too.

Danscen will follow the concert by hosting a square dance with live music provided by the Strung Together House Band. Danscen’s contagious smile and energetic whimsical calling spread the passion of dance wherever she goes. Her clear and concise teaching will engage both new and experienced dancers and keep them dancing all night long. Danscen’s repertoire includes squares, circles, traditional reels and contras. She has called dances at camps, festivals and established dances throughout Colorado, Maine and in several other states. Her passion for dance and music is evident as she hosts jams, co-organizes community dances, and leads dance workshops. In addition to calling, Dancen plays double bass and guitar, and performed with a clogging troupe for 12 years. “I absolutely love seeing people smile and having a great time on the dance floor,” she said.

Saturday Night is a do-it-yourself concert/coffee house following the musicians Potluck Supper at 5:30PM. Our special guest teacher is the amazing, multi-instrumentalist Steve Roy.  We are honored to have Master Old Timers including George Fowler, Art Bryan, Jeff Titon, James Hyland, Bill Smith, Emily Jeffries and Baron Collins-Hill join us for the weekend.

“A Fine Old Time on Penobscot Bay”

Events include many interesting guided jams (all levels), workshops, night/afternoon performances, recording studio, community pizza oven, group song share, singing, dancing, and lots of old time/ bluegrass jamming (beginner-advanced),  all happening on the shores of Penobscot Bay. Vendors and campground cooks are always welcome.

New this year, Steve Roy and Resa Randolph will be leading the Bluegrass camp, offering guided instrument/band sessions for beginner through advanced players, backup or lead playing, jam etiquette, bluegrass harmonies, etc. 

Also, learn how to weave your own instrument strap at our loom!

The weekend is sponsored by the Old Time Music Players and Vacationland Bluegrass Jam Camp of Maine and is hosted by Searsport Shores Ocean Camping in Searsport, ME. Come with some friends and make new ones while you are here celebrating American string band music, stories and the cultures that brought us those traditions.

All types of camping is available that weekend including tents, hammocks, RVs, safari, cabin rentals. Discounted camping rates available for participants. Volunteers are needed, and any time you can give is greatly appreciated. Bartering welcome.

Come early, stay long.

Extra proceeds will be used for musician scholarships and to help fund the instrument lending project at the Searsport Carver Memorial Library.

Banjo players
Recording an old time claw hammer tune.

General Admission Tickets:

Suggested donation is $60 for the weekend
$100 with tent site in Old Time Group area.

Includes admission for Friday, Saturday, Sunday to all performances, jams, workshops, recording studio, and other activities.  Hot showers, picnic table and fireplace (oceanfront & RV site upgrades available). Your donation helps to cover costs of jam leaders, staff, tents and food stuffs. A little too rich for your blood? Ask us about volunteer opportunities or lead a jam session as your donation (Extra monies will be used for musician scholarships and to help fund the instrument lending project at the Searsport Carver Memorial Library).

Base cost for the weekend will be $60 not including camping, special workshops, lunch or private lessons. An additional $60 donation for the bluegrass workshop is suggested.

A donation of $10-20 on a sliding scale for the evening concerts is offered to all guests.

Please stay tuned for more updates as the date approaches.

Sign up for our mailing list: makersguildme@gmail.com Reserve your campsite now by calling Searsport Shores at 207-548-6059. Make sure to mention you’re coming for the jamming weekend to get a discount.

For Festival & Camping details call 207.548.6059

2020 Schedule


2-5 PM: Check-in, reception, & informal picking time.

Free to all: Introductory Old Time music session hosted by “Bound To Have a Little Fun”. Learn a few tunes, how to jam together and listen to an Old Time band up close. 3-5 PM for this session. Promises to be a great introduction, refresher or warm-up session for Old Time Music.  Get your groove on!

3PM Strap Weaving classes start: Make your own guitar, mandolin or uke strap that you can show off at your next jam. Ongoing all weekend. Hosted by Alice Seeger. Minimal material fee may apply.

5-6 PM: WELCOME (Snacks, orientation, etc) Hoping you can all arrive by this time. The pizza Bar is open! Please bring your favorite toppings to share and we’ll do the rest!

6:30-7 PM: Performer & Teacher Previews (Volunteer instructors will post their offerings)

7-9:30 PM: Opening Concert – TBA with the Strung Together Band followed by Square Dance   Kicking off the weekend with a favorite old time fiddler from the wonderful State of Vermont, Nate Paine. Nate was the protege of Old Time fiddle master Jon Bekoff.   Nate’s fiddling will make this night a celebration of Old Time Music at it’s best!

Square Dance at Center Stage with Pat Danscen at the Kitchen Garden. Sit by the fire, make music, make friends, eat chips, enjoy music by and with friends.

9:30 PM: Small Group Jams  Pick a spot in the center of things or seek a quiet spot to make music.  Indoor spaces are identified on map.


8:30 AM: Homemade Cinnamon Rolls (fresh from the oven), Juice and Bacon $

10-12 AM Jams and Bluegrass Workshop begin.  Please check the marker board for what’s happening and where.

12 PM: Potato Bar Lunch.  Baked potato with all of the toppings. Apples and home baked brownies for dessert. $10 donation is suggested.

1-4 PM:  Jam Sessions & Bluegrass Workshop continue. Volunteer jam leaders will be on hand or feel free to begin your own. Plenty of space to work with others on particular songs as well.

2-4 PM Spinning Honey in the Demo Tent. We’ll crank up the extractors to sweeten up the day.

4 PM: Scott Odell will be in the Art Studio to discuss hanging out with the oldtimers around Galax , and Northern Vermont back in the 1960’s and 70’s. He explore and show what tunings they used, home and community life and instruments played. Scott will share the photos he took and the tunes he recorded.

He’ll bring along a banjo made by Kyle Creed and the Fairbanks that he Ioaned to Tommy Jarrell back when he didn’t own a banjo. All of Scott’s collections are now in the Smithsonian’s Folklife Rinzler Archive, and are being digitized.

5:30 PM: Potluck Supper. Bring your favorite dish or foods to share. Grill and warming oven will be fired up in the Kitchen Garden if you wish to use it. Meat from the smoker will be served to compliment the dinner. Bring your favorite dish or drink to share. Potluck cookout!

7-9 PM: Saturday Evening Coffee House.  One or two and off.  Sign up with new or familiar combinations to play up to two pieces. Instructor bands to perform…..  Followed by campfire and studio jams.


8-9:30 AM: Waffles w/ Jam $

9:00- Sunday morning community sing, in the round by the beach. Led by all community leaders and participants, old-time and bluegrass.

10-12 PM: Jam tents open. All invited to play Reveille on your harmonica, key of C

10-12 P.M. Bluegrass players that are participating in the workshop practice their chops with the group!

12:00 PM:  Final Slow, Fast Jam and Fancy Food Bar – Join a Jam with many or a few. Share a tune, technique or song that grew out of one of the workshops or just sit with other great people and play. The Fancy Food Bar Brunch will be presented at noon, always a treat you won’t forget. This light brunch is included with your weekend pass.

1 PM Until It’s Over: Old Time Community Shape Note Singing Session

Goodbye and Cleanup 2-2:30

Other Information

Jam Tunes May Include: , Cluck Old Hen (A Modal, maybe we’ll pluck the E & A strings a bit), Snowdrop,  Bonnie on the Rhine, Twin Sisters (A Modal)

Red Rocking Chair

Sail Away Ladies

Angeline the Baker

Down by the Willow Garden

Bury me Beneath the Willow

Starch and Iron

Bully of the Town

Diamond Joe

Shady Grove

Wind and Rain

Cannonball Blues

What Does the Deep Sea Say?

Hard Times

Wildwood Flower

Cuckoo Bird

Amazing Grace

etc, etc, etc.

Campout Recording Studio: A recording studio will be set up for the weekend open to anyone wanting to record a tune with new or old friends.

Workshops begin at 10 AM: The first 12 players are seated in a circle on chairs. Extra players or people that just want to observe are welcome to stand around the circle to listen in. Slow Jam and Fast Jam Tents are open to all. Players choice. Many of the playing sessions will be led by an old time player. Anyone willing to teach please get in touch.

Lock up storage room available for all instruments.

Other Workshop Possibilities include: 

Playing for contra-dancing  A fun workshop focused on matching tunes to dances and/or general contra repertoire.

Meat & Potatoes- Old Time Tunes everyone should know (bring any instrument).

A sign up board (time, space, topic) will be set up at registration for anyone willing to offer other workshops, wanting to partner with someone to learn a tune, or just to organize a jamming circle.

Old Time & Bluegrass Tunes by Key/Tuning

Some of the tunes being shared during the weekend are listed below.  Tunes with * have a lesson & sheet music at http://www.mandolessons.com

Undecided Key

Black Mountain Rag, Lazy John, Mrs. Macleod’s (Hop High Ladies), Rocky Mountain Goat

D Tunes

Angeline The Baker*

Arkansas Traveler*

Cherokee Shuffle*

Coleman’s March*

Dry And Dusty

Ducks On The Millpond*

Eighth Of January*

Five Miles From Town

Flop Eared Mule*

Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss*

Johnson Boys

Julianne Johnson*


Molly Put the Kettle On

New Five Cent Piece

Over The Waterfall*

Pig Ankle Rag*

Sal’s Got Mud Between Her Toes

Sam and Elzie

Soldier’s Joy*

Spotted Pony*

Twin Sisters*

Whiskey Before Breakfast*

Cross A Tunes 

Dance Boatman Dance

Grey Eagle

Grub Springs*

Half Past Four

Jim Shank*

June Apple*

Kitchen Girl*

Little Billy Wilson

Red Haired Boy*

Red Prairie Dawn

Road to Malvern

Sandy Boys

Say Old Man I Want Your Daughter

Waiting for Nancy

Ways of the World

Standard A Tunes

Bill Cheatham*

Boil Them Cabbage Down*

Bull At The Wagon

Cherokee Shuffle (or D, really)*

Cluck Old Hen*

Cold Frosty Morning*

Cripple Creek*

Hangman’s Reel

Ida Red

Liza Jane*

Old Joe Clark*

Sail Away Ladies 

G Tunes

Barlow Knife

Big Sciota*

Biscuits and Gravy 

Blackberry Blossom*

Bound to Have a Little Fun

Elk River Blues

Girl I Left Behind Me*

Golden Slippers*

Grasshopper Sitting On a Sweet Potato Vine

Jenny Lind Polka


Old Beech Leaves*

Possum Up A Gum Stump

Pretty Little Gal with the Red Dress on

Red Wing (The Union Maid)*

Turkey In The Straw*

Sail Away Ladies (or Modal AEAE)*

Seneca Square Dance (Waiting For The Federals)*

Shoot the Turkey Buzzard

Shove That Pig’s Foot A Little Closer To The Fire*

Tombigbee Waltz*

Whiskey Before Breakfast

C Tunes

Billy In The Lowground*

Mustache Wax

Bluegrass Tunes Chords

Blueridge Cabin Home 1-4-5

Boil Them Cabbage Down 1-4-5

Bringing in the Georgia Mail 1-5

Bury Me Beneath the Willow 1-4-5

Dark Hollow 1-17-4-5

Darling Corey 1-5

Don’t This Road Look Rough and Rocky 1-4-5

Dooley 1-4-5

I’ll Fly Away 1-17-4-5

In the Pines 1-17-4-5

Long Journey Home 1-4-5

Man of Constant Sorrow 1-4-5

My Homes Across the Smokey Mountains 1-5

New River Train 1-17-4-5

Nine Pound Hammer 1-4-5

Old Home Place 1-27-37-4-5

Pig in a Pen 1-4-5

Reuben’s Train 1-5

Rocky Top 1-4-5-6m-7

Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms 1-17-4-5

Salty Dog Blues 1-2-5-6

Sitting on Top of The World 1-4-5-6m

There’s More Pretty Girls Than One 1-4-5

Will The Circle Be Unbroken 1-4-5

Working on a Building 1-5

Worried Man Blues 1-4-5