Pete Wernick’s Intermediate/Advanced Bluegrass Camp in Boomer, NC (just prior to Merlefest)

September 13-16, 2021

Monday – Thursday prior to MerleFest at the beautiful and spacious grounds of the Camp Harrison YMCA at Herring Ridge, 10 miles outside of Wilkesboro, NC. Lodging and meal packages available directly from Camp Harrison (details TBA).

In 2021 we will again present two concurrent camps:

Intermediate-Advanced Bluegrass Jam Camp

is for experienced jammers directed by Pete Wernick (limited to 50 students).

Basic Bluegrass Jam Camp

is for novice through early intermediate jammers; a Wernick Method Jam Camp hosted by Gilbert Nelson.

Both camps will run Monday-Thursday 9:15am-5:00 daily, in separate but close-by locations at Camp Harrison. Both camps’ students will have meals together and may arrange accommodations on-site (link coming soon).

Not sure which camp is right for you?

Intermediate-Advanced Bluegrass Jam Camp

This camp can be likened to high school/college for bluegrass.

If you don’t qualify for the Intermediate-Advanced camp, this camp is the one for you.


Participants must:

  • Be experienced at bluegrass jamming including following guitar chord changes
  • Be able to play comfortably in the keys of G and D, and use the chord number system
  • Be able to sing in pitch and lead songs (“good voice” not required)
  • Be willing / able to fake instrumental solos on most songs in G or D (except basses and rhythm-only guitars).

If you’re not sure if you qualify, write Pete regarding your skills in these areas.

Basic Bluegrass Jam Camp

(for novices-early intermediates) is a Wernick Method Jam Camp directed by Gilbert Nelson. To qualify: be able to change smoothly between 4 chords, G, C, D, A.

The Basic Jam Camp is comparable to elementary and middle school for bluegrass, with classroom-style instruction on jam skills and lots of time jamming in coached small groups, with instruction on instrument skills, by instrument.

To get the discount, pay the $100 deposit and ALSO send a check for $310 by July 31 made payable to Dr. Banjo at 7930 Oxford Road, Niwot, CO 80503

Paying the $100 holds your spot. $325 will be due at camp, check or cash.


We expect to offer scholarships for some or all of tuition and possible housing allowance, according to financial need. Grants depend on contributions to the Boomer Bluegrass Scholarship Fund. To donate or apply, write to Pete. Applicants should give their age, instrument(s) played, and experience and goals in bluegrass, and a short statement of their financial need. Special consideration given to combat veterans. Application deadline: August 1, 2021. Notifications will go out the following week.

Instructional Content

Pete will be assisted by outstanding multi-instrumentalists and experienced teachers including Joan Wernick, Scott Freeman, Steve Lewis, and Keith Yoder.

New or Inexperienced Jammers

Learn more about the Basic Jam Camp

If you don’t qualify for the Intermediate-Advanced camp, this camp is the one for you.

Intermediate-Advanced Jammers

(Able to play comfortably in G or D, take simple solos on the fly, willing/able to sing and lead songs.) You will be coached in skill-matched groups. Harmony singing, backup instruction, creating good solos, rehearsed or on-the-fly.

Organized Bands

“Band lab”, band cohesion, rehearsal guidance, stagecraft including working with sound systems, band decision-making and organization.

Click any photo to enlarge.

Comments from recent campers:

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

“Breaking up into individual groups of 5 persons each, with little to no doubling of instruments, and having coaches participate. By far, this was the most valuable aspect for me.”

“ I and others look forward all year for the next camp. It is a high light in our year. We again get to connect with the great music friends we have made. We again get to see the teachers we have come to know, The positive feedback and encouragement is invaluable.”

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

“Instructors were professional taskmasters that knew what they were doing. Everyone gave me valuable insight and were approachable and offered additional help if I wanted it”

“Closing with the show on the Cabin Stage was a highlight that I will never forget.”

“We were always jamming and always working towards jamming. I thought the performance on the last evening would be the focus, but it was really just another tool to emphasize jamming.”

“I liked having Pete’s camp limited to more experienced players, but it was also nice to have Gilbert’s camp running concurrently so that we could still see friends in the other camp.”

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Visit our FAQ section. If you still have questions feel free to email us at [email protected].