Mark your calendars for the 16th Annual Park Slope Bluegrass / Old Time Music Jamboree
Sept. 25th & 26th, 2015
For more than a decade, Park Slope has become the focal point of American traditional music when the Park Slope Bluegrass & Old-Time Jamboree takes place. The sounds of banjos, fiddles, mandolins, guitars and big upright basses echo through the “hills and hollers” of Brooklyn in this celebration, conference and music festival. The Jamboree attracts more than 700 musicians and fans of old-time and bluegrass music. 2013 marked the 20th anniversary as a bandleader of Jamboree founder, James Reams. In 2014 we celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Jamboree. You won’t want to miss next year’s event!
Held at the historic meeting house and surrounding gardens of the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture on Prospect Park West near 2nd Street, the Jamboree kicks off with a high-energy bluegrass concert on Friday night by James Reams & The Barnstormers, the band that the New York Daily News called “New York City’s bluegrass icons.” This internationally known bluegrass band plays bluegrass music the old-fashioned way, reminiscent of the way the founders of the genre played it – Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs and other “pioneers” of the music. James Reams fronts a band that has garnered nominations from the International Bluegrass Music Association and critical acclaim from every major bluegrass and roots-music publication.
The next day’s schedule features a full day of activities with workshops in banjo, fiddle, harmony singing, autoharp and more, plus all-day jamming and an evening concert featuring many fine performers and special guests. Musicians from all over the Northeast, and some from points south, convene at the Jamboree to play and enjoy the music that originated with the earliest immigrants to this country. The settlers from Scotland, England and Ireland combined the ballads and instruments of their tradition with the music and instruments of the slaves (the American “banjo” was originally the African “mbanza”) to produce this country’s first “fusion” music.
A special treat for Jamboree goers this year is the NYC premier of the DVD documentary “Hershel Sizemore: Mandolin in B.” This film memoralizes the 2012 Benefit Concert held in Roanoke, VA. Included are interviews and performances by The Seldom Scene, David Frisman, Doyle Laeson, Republik Steele, The Travelers, Chris Thele and a special reunion of Del McCoury and the Dixie Pals. On hand to answer your questions after the showing is filmmaker and producer, Rick Bowman.
The Jamboree is heralded as one of the finest events of its kind in the Northeast and attracts musicians and fans of traditional American music from all over the area. Time-Out New York magazine called the Jamboree a “happy little festival,” and indeed it is. Musicians gather in informal groups in the beautiful century-old meeting house of the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture and the gardens surrounding the landmark building for informal jam sessions; attendees who do not play music themselves can enjoy listening to it.