Bluegrass Camp Germany cancelled for 2023

The popular Bluegrass Camp Germany, held annually in the lovely Alpine region of Bavaria, has been canceled for 2023, owing to their long time facility reinstating COVID restrictions for this spring.

Hosted and organized by Rudiger Helbig and Michael Pugh, the event draws pickers from all over Europe each May for a chance to study with top instructors on the various bluegrass instruments, plus singing, songwriting, and stage presence.

Michael tells us that a change of management at their host facility is at the root of this year’s cancellation.

Achatswies, our beautiful location, is/was a Bavarian State run facility, and as such, subject to their policies and conditions with regard to social distancing, and a limited number of attendees. The previous caretakers of the facility were a lovely husband/wife team that were from the local village of Fischbacha. They, and their entire staff, loved our camp since they normally host only Bavarian teaching groups and sport clubs.

Well, they went into retirement in 2020, and coincidentally, the pandemic hit at the same time. A new administrator was brought in and apparently the majority of the staff, many of whom were also locals, were not overly pleased with the heavy handed style of management, thus many never returned after the restrictions were lifted. So staffing was issue one.

Secondly, she also restricted our number of attendees to less than 50, roughly half of our normal size of 100+. Then, as a final nail in the coffin, she simply was unwilling to work with us on any of the conditions/restrictions. It became clear to us that the negotiations were going nowhere fast.

Now, we must search for a new location for the 2024 camp. To say we are disappointed is an understatement. But hey, we will come back stronger in the future.”

Dates and location for the 2024 Bluegrass Camp Germany will be announced in the coming months.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.