August 23-28, 2020 (rescheduled from June 21-26, 2020)

Our 7th year, great prices, limited space… Don’t wait!

Silver Bay is a large Y Camp and Conference Center, on Lake George in the Adirondacks. For info about the facility, activities, photos of accommodations, visit

  • Due to health concerns, Silver Bay has implemented extra safety measures concerning cleaning, distancing, and more. More info here.
  • Upon registration you’ll promptly receive a welcome email with 18 pages of student materials attached including links to online playlists of jam favorites.
  • 100% of payment refunded if you cancel before August 16th — more flexible than our usual policy.

Full Day Camp $435

9am-12:30pm: Daily classes for banjo, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, dobro, bass…

Afternoon, 2-5pm, daily classes on singing, slow jamming, composing tunes, practice “boot camp”, band lab, and more!

AND… Coached small groups: Beginner slow jams, all the way to advanced band coaching

Full Performing Bands

For band members registering together, to work together as a band throughout the week.

Band members must first contact Pete as a group.

Activities every night – open mics, bluegrass movies, karaoke, history, jamming!


We are sometimes able to grant scholarships for some or all of tuition and possible housing allowance, according to financial need. Grants depend on contributions to the Silver Bay Bluegrass scholarship fund. To donate or apply, write to Pete.

This year applicants must be able and agree to play either bass or fiddle in the small group jams. Applicants should give their age, instrument(s) played, and experience and goals in bluegrass, and a short statement of their financial need. Applications must be received by June 20 and applicants will be notified by June 25.

Silver Bay YMCA Conference Center

Stately 700-acre Y Camp on the shores of Lake George, est. 1902

For the best selection of on-site housing call Silver Bay soon:
518-543-8833, ext 350.

Call any time… Your message left will get a callback during the next business hours. The Silver Bay reservations team will help you with housing choices and all info.

Silver Bay YMCA Conference Center offers:

All accommodations with private bath, highly discounted rate: The Bluegrass rate is $94 per person, per night, with all meals and programming access included. 35-55% off for kids, under 6 free! All-site Wifi.

Activities! Swimming, boating, tennis, crafts, gym, shop, hiking trails, volleyball, archery, family programs, faculty concert. Licensed day camp every morning.

Night fun! Campfires, movies, karaoke, late sunsets.

24/7 staffed front desk

Instructional Content

  • Daily instrument classes, instruction at all levels
  • Coached small groups, all levels

For organized bands

“Band lab”, band cohesion, rehearsal guidance, stagecraft including working with sound systems, band decision-making, “how to make a band work”.

For novice jammers – Same content and requirements as a typical Pete Wernick Jam Camp

  • To attend, you must be able to tune your instrument (with electronic tuner) and change smoothly between G, C, D, and A. Fast playing is not expected, nor is the ability to solo required. No tab or music reading.
  • Learn how to follow new songs, lead songs, fake solos, find melodies on your instrument, sing in tune. Learn the number system and jam etiquette.

For intermediate level jammers

  • Able to follow chord changes, take simple solos on the fly, willing/able to sing
  • You will be coached in skill-matched groups. Harmony singing, backup instruction, creating good solos, rehearsed or on-the-fly.
  • Performing not required, but performance coaching and opportunities available throughout week for those interested.


Silver Bay Camp Video #1

Watch this video of our 2015 camp! With many thanks to the French filmmaker and banjo player Antoine Porteaux who attended the camp as part of a U.S. bluegrass tour originating in Paris. The film starts with the Europeans’ travel to Silver Bay, and the part about the camp starts at 2:03.

Silver Bay Camp Video #2

Want to know more about the Silver Bay instructors? Here they are in concert, featuring There Ain’t Nobody Going to Miss Me When I’m Gone, Golden Slippers, Why You Been Gone So Long, Blue Moon of Kentucky, Lay That Pistol Down, Sitting on Top of the World, mandolin duets and more!

Comments from recent campers:

“Pete Wernick is a master teacher with decades of experience in promoting and advancing bluegrass education at all levels. His methods seriously address the fact that most pickers quit while still at a beginning level due to the use of ineffective materials and methods. His approach quickly leads one to becoming an independent and successful learner. Pete’s camps could be thought of as bluegrass “boot camps” because they are skill based, experience based and intensive. The camps involve a lot of challenging and enjoyable group work.”

“High quality instructors.”

“Great place for a camp like this!!!”

“Awesome location!!!”

“Thank you for a terrific week at Silver Bay. Your faculty was all top notch.”

“A wonderful experience! The camaraderie was palpable!”

“The small jams were challenging and empowering, a big confidence boost for me.”

“The mixed instrument, jam opportunity and performance experience were invaluable. Likewise student population was great, helpful and fun, a major part of the success.”

“I have been waiting to start playing real bluegrass with people for quite a while, and now I can.”

“Our 13 year-old son got more out of it than I ever expected. Bob Amos’ guitar class was outstanding and really helped my son and I break out of a rut we had been in.”

“One of the best musical experiences of my life. The camp gave me knowledge, experience and laughs for a lifetime.”

“I do not believe I have ever been to any type of class where the instructor made learning so easy and so much fun.”

“An incredible experience… a depth of knowledge on the subject beyond just technique, including the history, etiquette, and flavor of the genre.”

“I had a wonderful time at the Silver Bay camp. I like your idea of a program that focuses on entire bands. Thanks for a great experience.”

“This is so much more fun than sitting on the couch playing alone.”

“I have never had so much valuable information and real teaching in such a short period of time.”

“I came to jam camp new on my instrument (mandolin), and intimidated. By the end I was pretty comfortable. I started checking out different jams in my area, and now often go to at least 2 a week. The more I play, the better I get, and the more fun I have. I’ve made great new friends” — Marion, MA

“You have had a major impact in my life. Our social network now is mostly musicians, wonderful people my wife and I would have never met if I hadn’t gotten out of the closet and attended your Jam Camp in 2006.” — Jim, NC

“The information that I learned will help set me on the path that I am looking for. I learned more than I have in three years at fiddle camp.” — Lynn, CO

“The jam camp I attended was a true treasure. It changed my life for the better. I was able tonight to walk in, ‘cold tukey’, and sit in with the featured band at a Bluegrass society meeting. Before your workshop I had never even tried to play in public.” — Richard, KY

“I truly am happy that I have been able to attend your camps and never expected to be in this position to enjoy playing so much.” — Jim, NC

Click any photo to enlarge.