Mike Holmes, founder of Music Camps North, passed away on February 18. He was 74 years of age.
He had retired from management of these very successful workshop weekends for banjo and mandolin players in New England in 2014, which continue on under new management. Mike’s input and hard work from 2001 until he stepped down have made these camps among the most prosperous and rewarding of their kind in the US, and were the first in the northeast.
Mike had also distinguished himself as the founder and editor of Mugwumps Instrument Herald, a printed newsletter for lovers of acoustic stringed instruments whose classified ads served as the prime directory for buyers and sellers in the pre-Internet days of the 1970s and ’80s.
A native Bostonian, Holmes went to college in Seattle, served in the Army in the mid-’60s, and settled for a time in the Washington, DC area. Here his love for American folk music and especially the 5 string banjo blossomed into a life long passion. During this time he was active in the local folk music scene, and served as Chairman of the Board of the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) who manage the annual National Folk Festival in DC.
Returning to the northeast in the ’80s, Mike continued to manage Mugwumps, taking it online where it continued to thrive until his retirement.
Funeral services were held on February 21 at the Tifereth Israel Congregation in New Bedford, MA.
The banjo world will be forever in his debt.
R.I.P., Mike Holmes.