Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Workshop


July 31-August 7, 2016
Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, WA




Join us for this annual acoustic blues gathering! The Port Townsend Acoustic Blues workshop is held at Fort Worden State Park, one of the Pacific Northwest’s most stunning and inspiring landscapes.

Unique and compelling about this particular workshop, is the focus and intention put on early blues music, with education as the goal while honoring the offshoots of that core style of music. The primary core is acoustic pre-war (1920s and 1930s) blues, the African-American cultures they grew out of and their traditions. Steeped in the rich music and cultures of communities of the Southern USA, this workshop gives attention to styles typified by the different players from various regions (Piedmont region of the Southeastern coast, the Mississippi Delta and Hill Country, Louisiana and Texas), the differences in technique as well as how to get the proper sounds of these styles out of your instrument. The music is the primary focus of the multi-generational in-residence workshop week but the downhome back-porch vibe of the culture creates a community that lends a family gathering feel to the week.

To keep these early styles of blues alive we need new songs, players and sounds along with the original songs and sounds that will move this genre forward while honoring its rich traditions. This week is designed to inform your playing and make you a better musician – you’ll hang out, jam and swap tunes with interesting, accomplished, and fun bearers of acoustic blues traditions. You’ll take part in daily classes and serious music making in the evenings with some of the finest acoustic blues players working today.

This generous community shares your passion and energy, and we can almost guarantee that by the end of the week you AND your playing will be heading into directions you didn’t predict just a few days earlier. Daily classes are offered in Hill Country, Delta and Piedmont styles, finger-picking, blues guitar, slide guitar, harmonica, violin, mandolin, banjo, piano, bass, accordion, ukulele, singing, washboard, gospel choir and history, all taught by masters of the traditions.

Please keep an eye on this website as details unfold. For information contact: Acoustic Blues Program Manager, Mary Hilts at mhilts@centrum.org, or 360.385.3102 x 116.

The schedule is still under development but here’s a general idea of what to expect:

Sunday, July 31, 2016: 3pm – arrive and settle in; 6pm – dinner; 8pm – welcome & orientation; and jamming after.

Monday – Friday: Breakfast; 2 morning workshop sessions; Lunch; 2 afternoon workshop sessions including band lab opportunities; late afternoon Gospel Choir and Back Porch Jams.

Evenings: entertainment, open jams, focused jams and house parties.

There will be public performances by the instructors on Friday and Saturday as well as Blues in the Clubs both of these nights. Your workshop registration entitles you to prime seats at these shows.

Sunday August 7, 2016: farewell breakfast, check out of rooms by 11am.