Wernick Method announces winners in Safe Jam Contest

Pete Wernick, aka Dr. Banjo, and his Wernick Method instructional system for jammers, have announced the winners in round one of their Safe Jam Contest.

This online video competition was launched to encourage people learning to play bluegrass to get out and jam despite the COVID restrictions, by finding safe ways to get together and pick. To enter, any group of 3 or more people simply need to shoot a video of themselves jamming, observing proper social distancing protocols, and send it along online.

Entrants are judged on picking, safely measures observed, video quality, and overall entertainment value. Pete and his wife, Joan, serve as judges, along with Wayne Benson and Kristin Scott Benson. Winners receive merchandise from the deep catalog of Dr. Banjo and Wernick Method materials.

Wernick says that the inspiration for the contest has been his desire to keep people playing during shutdowns, when camps and classes have largely been set aside.

“Our Wernick Method jam classes worldwide have been disrupted of course, but we had to do something. Our mission is all about getting people jamming, so we spread the word about the Contest, and sure enough, folks went outside and picked! Half the points were for safety, so the jams looked pretty well-spaced, and they all sounded good!”

The whole idea is not to compare yourselves to professional artists, or to show off, but simply to get out there and pick!

This week the winners of Round 1 in the Safe Jam Contest have been announced.

  • 1st Place: The Possum Track Pickers (Raleigh, NC) for Over in Glory Land recorded in the back yard, following a precise diagram assigning proper spacing.
  • 2nd Place: The Lonesome Alligator Band (St. Petersburg, FL) for I’ll Go Stepping Too, recorded by a scenic Florida lake.
  • 3rd Place: Hoot ‘n Holler (San Jose, CA) for Mind Your Own Business, recorded in a California forest.

Here is the winning video.

Nice job!

A second round has started this week, and Pete says that they are accepting video entries on Facebook until September 12. Full contest rules and an online entry submission form can be found at DrBanjo.com.

So get out there, and get your creative ideas on video. One submission in the first round employed drone photography to capture a jam. It’s all about fun, and not being afraid to get out there… safely.

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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.