Mark your calendars for the 16th Annual Park Slope Bluegrass / Old Time Music Jamboree
Sept. 25th & 26th, 2015
BIG NEWS! The Jamboree was just nominated for IBMA’s 2014 Bluegrass Event of the Year! Come out and help us celebrate this year and find out for yourself why this event’s motto is “just a big old time!”
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. The Jamboree celebrated it’s 15th year in 2014…you won’t want to miss what happens in 2015!
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, autoharp, whistling (yes, whistling is back!! with two time world champion whistler, Emily Eagan!) and more, plus all-day jamming and an evening concert featuring many fine performers and special guests. Musicians from all over the Northeast 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.
This year Jamboree will also honor the passing of our dear friend, Ben Freed with a special memoriam. Ben was a long time stalwart of the Northeast banjo bluegrass scene and influenced many banjo players during his time with us. He’s probably most widely recognized for his performance on the soundtrack for the Coen brothers feature film “Raising Arizona,” but Ben had a number of widely praised CD’s. Ben was an amazing individual, family man and community builder. He will be sorely missed by all of us.
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.