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American Banjo Camp

September 7 - 10, 2017
near Seattle, Washington

Spend a long weekend away from the toil and cares of everyday life, with nothing to do but learn about the 5-string banjo or fiddle or guitar or mandolin or some other instrument from world-famous teachers, play in jams, eat delicious food, and possibly even sleep!


The ABC Class Schedule is online.

The new ABC 2017 T-Shirt design is on display here
The deadline for ordering the T-shirts is Wednesday, August 23rd.

American Banjo Camp inaugurates a new format this year, and runs straight through from Thursday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. We now offer nine class sessions — three on Friday, four on Saturday, and two on Sunday. Each session is one hour and fifteen minutes long. There are staff concerts on both Friday and Saturday evenings; over the course of the weekend you’ll have the opportunity to hear our entire staff in concert. Rounding out the program are “demonstrations,” a student open mic, and staff-led bluegrass and old-time jams conducted at a variety of skill levels.
ABC still offers a Weekend-Only Option (Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon).
See here for more details.

American Banjo Camp takes place at
Pilgrim Firs Conference Center near Port Orchard, WA.

ABC offers a "commuter" option!
Our site makes it possible for us to offer a reduced commuter rate.
You can stay at home or at an area motel or B&B
and still take part in our great program.
See the registration notes for commuter rates.
We have a special rate at Days Inn for attendees who wish to stay off site.

ABC has a full-time guitar track
as well as a full-time fiddle track!

Members of the Washington Bluegrass Association or the Oregon Bluegrass Association who have never been to ABC before are eligible for the WBA/OBA New Member Scholarship that takes $50 off the first registration fee!

2014 camp photo
Saturday, September 11th, 2016 at American Banjo Camp -- (click for hi-res version)

Our Program

The American Banjo Camp takes place on the first weekend after Labor Day each year at a camp on the Puget Sound. ABC is a camp for adults of all ages (students under 18 may attend if accompanied by a parent). There you can study old-time or bluegrass banjo with world-class instructors. Or you can take classes in fiddle, guitar, bass, mandolin, or other instruments (see the schedule).. American Banjo Camp is committed to offering highly specialized classes tailored to the expertise of our faculty.

Our New Format

American Banjo Camp now starts mid-afternoon on Thursday and runs through lunchtime on Sunday. Our format allows us to use our time efficiently and gives us an opportunity for a of breathing room. Here are just some of the advantages:
+ A single, streamlined student orientation covers the entire event. This will be held right after dinner on Thursday evening.:
+ We get started with hands-on classes first thing Friday morning; as a result we can offer one more hands-on class than in previous years.:
+ All attendees have a chance to experience our entertaining and informative “demonstrations”; they will also be able to enjoy our student open mic.:
+ Extra free time means more opportunity to get to know other attendees and jam.

We also offer a Weekend-Only Option.

Our Faculty

We pride ourselves on having teachers that are among the best in the world! It's just frosting on the cake that they're also among the best players in the world. See their biographies here.

Tuition and Registration

We try to keep the tuition and other costs as low as possble while providing priceless instruction and inspiration. We can also offer a limited number of scholarships. We have forms to register for camp and to apply for a scholarship.

Our Site

Pilgrim Firs SignABC's site is the Pilgrim Firs Conference Center near Port Orchard, WA—on the Olympic Peninsula (a bit south of our former location). Pilgrim Firs offers a number of advantages, and we're sure that returning students will approve our decision once they have been there.

Pilgrim Firs—a “colony” of cabins and lodges nestled among tall conifers surrounding a private lake—is a sylvan but modern facility. Sleeping and bathroom facilities are clean and comfortable as are classrooms, dining hall, and social spaces such as the rooms where people can comfortably jam after hours. And if inclement weather ever comes our way, all of our events can move inside. Other advantages: our location is relatively close to SEATAC airport (making for easy arrivals and departures), and it is accessible to Seattle proper.

For more specifics on our site, go to the Pilgrim Firs Website.

Camper Info

Most of the things you need to know when you're getting ready for American Banjo Camp – how to get to camp, what to bring, songs to play in jams, etc. – are on the Camp Info page.


If you have a question, check here. Somebody may already have asked it! If you don't have a question yet, look here and you may find one.


ABC has been running since 2003; we have photos and other information about past camps. The Misc page also has ABC posters and flyers you can print out, as well as a place to get ABC T-shirts, mugs, etc. and links to other music-related web sites.

Directors & Coordinator

Peter LangstonCo-director Peter Langston also directs both the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop and the California Bluegrass Association's Summer Music Camp at Grass Valley, CA.
Peter grew up in the urban "folk scare" of the 50s and 60s and has played bluegrass and old-time music on a range of instruments for more than 50 years.

Ken PerlmanCo-director Ken Perlman has served as music director for several banjo teaching festivals, including the Maryland Banjo Academy, Banjo Camp North, the Bath Banjo Festival, Midwest Banjo Camp, and Suwannee Banjo Camp. He is also on the old-time staff for the American Banjo Camp, specializing in melodic clawhammer banjo.

  Janet PetersonOn-site Coordinator Janet Peterson lives in Bellingham, Washington, and is a sign language interpreter for the deaf and deaf/blind. She is a founding member of the band Motherlode in which she sings and plays cello and guitar, (but never the banjo). Janet is a year-round Coordinator for the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop and Co-Director of the California Bluegrass Association's Summer Music Camp at Grass Valley as well as being the on-site coordinator for the American Banjo Camp.  

Contact Us

If you have a question or suggestion, please get in touch with us via any of these ways.

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