Musicians of all experience levels will strap their guitars, banjos and more for the annual CampGrass, a musical workshop sponsored by the Central Florida Bluegrass Association.
For the first time, the event will be held at Boone’s Nursery, 3201 N. Maryland Ave., Plant City. A night of camping, jamming and a low-country boil on Sept. 20 will lead into a full day of workshops Sept. 21.
The goal of CampGrass is to provide pickers with the opportunity to learn more about their instruments.
Charlie Boone, owner of Boone’s Nursery, is a member of “Little Girl and The Dreadful Snakes,” which will be one of bands performing at the MiniFest Stage Show following the workshops. Boone also will be teaching a beginner guitar class and a songwriting workshop. Boone joined his first band in the eighth grade and has written more than 50 songs.
“I’ll actually be taking a guitar class with the advanced instructor,” Boone said about Ernie Evans, a third-generation musician, who recently toured as a member of Grammy nominees Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike, Grammy Award winner Vassar Clements and Motown legends The Platters.
“That’s the great thing about events like this — there is always something you can learn and get better at,” Boone said.
In addition to Boone and Evans, other instructors include Damon Wack, a retired pilot, who will be teaching the dobro, and banjo instructor Josh Griffin, who currently is touring nationally with Evans and the Florida State Bluegrass Band and the Evans Acoustic Trio.
Plant City resident Ken Bailey, owner of Bailey Acoustic Shop in Historic Downtown Plant City, will be teaching the stand-up bass. Bailey plays banjo for Little Girl and The Dreadful Snakes with Boone. Cheri Hornsby, the organizer of CampGrass, plays stand-up bass in the band, which includes members from Plant City, Lakeland and Riverview.
According to Hornsby, CampGrass’ classes are unique.
“When you take a regular guitar lesson, it may be an hour long, but between our intermediate and advanced classes, you get an in-depth saturation course,” she said. “This is about taking time as a musician to invest in your skill.”
Boone and Hornsby noted the music at CampGrass isn’t the typical 1940s bluegrass. The genre is diverse in musical origins, spanning from classic country to pop to rock ‘n’ roll. Little Girl and the Dreadful Snakes have been known to play acoustic bluegrass versions of The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix tunes and even a song by rapper Lil’ Wayne.
“We all come from different musical backgrounds,” Boone said about the band. “I come from more of a rock background, but the great thing is how everything blends together.”
Other bands set to perform after the workshop include newcomer K’Lynn and Her Mandolin, the Florida State Bluegrass Band, the Toni Brown Band and the Cotton-Eyed Does, an all-female Americana and bluegrass band.
Hornsby said CampGrass is for everyone from beginner musicians to fans of music who want to see regional bands.
“If you like acoustic music and just good music with harmony, you’ll like this event,” she said.
IF YOU GO
WHEN: Camping begins Sept. 20. Instrumental workshop begins at 9 a.m. Sept. 21, followed by the music festival from 3 to 9 p.m.
WHERE: Boone’s Nursery Inc., 3201 N. Maryland Ave., Plant City
DETAILS: Premium camping spots, with electric and water hookups, currently are booked, but primitive camping is still available. Guests may choose not to camp and arrive at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 21, for the workshops. A MiniFest concert, featuring bluegrass bands from throughout the state, will begin at 3 p.m. All campers and workshop students attend the concert for free. Anyone else may attend for $10 per vehicle. Instrument workshops start at $10.
INFORMATION: Cheri Hornsby, CFBA.News@gmail.com, or visit sites.google.com/site/centralfloridabluegrass/2013CampGrass.