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2016 Banjo Gathering - Important Program and Registration Updates

Monday, August 29, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Marysol Quevedo
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It’s Time to Register for the 2016 Banjo Gathering and Reserve your Room Now!


The 2016 Banjo Gathering will take place in Charlottesville, Virginia, from Thursday, November 3, through Sunday, November 6. It is the only forum focused entirely on the banjo as a historical, cultural, and design object, in contrast to the many banjo camps, festivals, and gatherings focused principally on playing the banjo.

Since 1998, the Gathering has been the platform for banjo collectors, researchers, instrument builders, and musicians, sharing new scholarship and findings on the banjo as material culture. The Gathering’s signature activities include formal presentations and a marketplace for attendees to inspect, buy, sell, and trade instruments and ephemera from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.


The following programs are just a sample of the presentations that will take place at the 2016 Banjo Gathering.

Modern Banjo Makers — Historic Roots

A broad exploration and analysis of the historical, cultural, design, and performance influences on modern banjo makers. In addition to presentations and conversations by the makers, collectors will bring historical examples of banjos — many of which have never been available for public view — which the makers indicate most inspired them. A group of contemporary makers will be featured, including Pete Ross (gourd banjos), James Hartel (minstrel-era banjos), Kevin Enoch (classic open-back banjos), Richard Newman (creator of the Holophonic banjo), and Brooks Masten (neo-traditional open-back banjos).

Recent Books about the Banjo

A group of authors, including Bob Carlin, Richard Jones-Bamman, Lew Stern, and Gerard De Smaele, will discuss their latest banjo books, new research, and what is being added to the world of banjo knowledge.

History and Culture of the Banjo

Presentations will explore significant, innovative, and entertaining topics that include Moroccan banjo traditions, Spanish banjo-mania, 19th century banjoist Frank B. Converse, and new discoveries in the Appalachian and Piedmont gourd banjo and fiddle traditions.

Time for Networking, Trading, and Jamming

Throughout the day and evening, there will be time between presentations for conversation and jamming, as well as viewing, trading, or purchasing banjos, other instruments, and banjo-related ephemera.

For updates on presentations, visit www.banjogathering.com.


Thursday: The formal Gathering schedule begins at 6 PM (the conference space available all afternoon to set up and display your instruments and ephemera).

Friday & Saturday: Presentations are scheduled for 9am-9pm, with breaks throughout the day for socializing, jamming, viewing collections, and trades. We will also have time to tour Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and other local historical sites.

Sunday Banjo Brunch: Local banjo collector Armand Thieblot will host a brunch at his home in Schuyler, Virginia, 20 miles south of Charlottesville. He has offered to give us a tour of his collection of 60 banjos and the nearby Quarry Gardens at Schuyler (http://quarrygardensatschuyler.org). Armand lives about 40 minutes away from the Charlottesville DoubleTree Hilton where the Gathering will be held.

Sunday Afternoon Appomattox Courthouse Joel Sweeney Walking Tour: National Park Service Ranger and researcher David Wooldridge will welcome Banjo Gathering attendees on a Sunday afternoon guided tour of Appomattox Courthouse National Historical Park, that will include one of its more notable residents, the famed banjoist Joel Walker Sweeney. The tour will include a visit to the remnants of the Sweeney family cabin. The tour promises to be well worth the 90-minute drive from Charlottesville to Appomattox Court House (approximately 50 minutes for those coming from Armand Thieblot’s brunch earlier in the day).



The registration fee for the Gathering is $250 with a special offer of $125 — a 50% discount — for first-time attendees and students. To insure your place in this year’s Banjo Gathering, please submit your registration before October 15, 2016, as space is limited. Registration fees should be sent to:

Peter Szego

2 Beekman Lane

Hillsborough, NJ 08844


The Gathering will be hosted at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel Charlottesville, with a guest room rate of $139 per night (plus a $10 surcharge for double occupancy). The hotel has set up a dedicated web page for the Banjo Gathering. You may reserve your guest room by phone (434-964-4461) or online. Be sure to reference the group name and group code: GROUP NAME: Banjo Collectors Gathering 2016; GROUP CODE: BJO.

The block of guest rooms reserved for the Gathering will no longer be on hold after October 1. So make your hotel reservations now to insure that you’ll have a room at the special rate. If you want to find a roommate as you make your travel plans, contact Hank Schwartz (hank@hschwartz.com), who is keeping a list of those looking to share hotel expenses.

For questions about presentations and scheduling, contact Jim Bollman (jim@fineoldbanjos.com) and Greg Adams (gregcadams@gmail.com). For questions about registration, contact Peter Szego (pszego@comcast.net).

You can also visit www.banjogathering.com for updates and information.

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