JamVember in July coming up in Massachusetts

Well-known Boston-area guitarists and educator, Tony Watt, has announced a fun new non-festival for this summer though his Bluegrass University. Billed as JamVember in July, this pickin’ weekend will be held July 19-21 in Greenfield, MA at Camp Kee-wanee.

The JamVember concept started several years ago as a chance for pickers to get together and jam at the end of the season in November, first hosted in Framingham, near Boston. People enjoyed it so well they pestered Tony to offer an outdoor version during the summer. So we now have JamVember in July!

Tony has been involved in bluegrass most of his life on multiple levels. Until fairly recently, he was the guitarist with Alan Bibey & Grasstowne, and he offers private lessons and classes on guitar, mandolin, and banjo in the greater Boston area. Tony is also on the faculty at the Berklee College of Music where he teaches bluegrass instruments and coaches ensembles. Plus he coordinates the Bluegrass Tuesdays concerts at Lily P’s in Cambridge each week.

He offered this brief description of this new event, located close to the New Hampshire border in central Mass, to be convenient for pickers all over New England.

“We are so excited to announce a brand new event, our first in over four and a half years: JamVember in July! JamVember in July is a weekend-long bluegrass non-festival held on the 19th-21st of July at Camp Kee-wanee in Greenfield, MA, just 10 minutes from the intersection of Rt. 2 and I-91. Some of you may recognize this as the same location as the Harry Smith Frolic, an old-time campout weekend.

Camp Kee-wanee is an active summer day camp for kids that operates during the week, but they were kind enough to let us take over for the weekend. The camp is a bit more rustic than your average bluegrass festival campground, but the Harry Smith Frolic has been going strong there since 2003. Please check out the FAQs section on our website to learn more about the camp.”

In addition to offering an open space for jamming, JamVember in July will also include workshops, classes, and teacher-led jams on site. Players at all levels of skill and experience are welcome to attend, as are listeners and dancers.

Because of local ordinances, tickets can’t be sold, so suggested donations of $50 are being requested. And since the camp has plenty of space, there’s no real worry of selling out. Only rough camping is available, and the camp has no store, so you’ll need to bring everything you need with you when you come in.

JamVember in July is also seeking a few volunteers to help out over the weekend. Folks willing to give a few hours of free labor can get their weekend pass for free. Those interested should contact Tony by email.

Full details, including how to make donations (buy tickets) in advance, can be found online.

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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.