Zigzag Old Time Campout 2021 Workshops

2021 Zigzag Old Time Workshops

Due to the surge of Coronavirus, our visiting artists – Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons – are postponing until 2022. The campout is still happening with outdoor jamming and possibly some informal version of the workshops listed below.   Please note that the below workshop lineup is tentative and is subject to change!

All workshops and jams will be held outside with social distancing and masks. We will be following CDC guidelines to avoid the spread of Covid. Please stay tuned for safety measures that we will have in place to make sure that everyone stays safe.

You don’t need to register in advance for the workshops. However, you do need to register for the Zigzag Campout: Register here! (Please note: link will open a Google Form.) 


“Thinking About Practicing” Workshop with Richard Melling

In this workshop we will explore ideas about practicing, thinking both in terms of theoretical ideas and practical approaches.

Fiddle Workshops for Kids & Teens with Kate O’Brien

11am Saturday

“JAM & TOAST” for Kids & Teens –  Kate O’Brien and Steph Noll

11am Sunday

All are welcome to come and jam!  We will play some common old time tunes, as well as the tunes taught at the kids’ fiddle workshop. Participants will be encouraged to suggest and lead tunes, and those who don’t know a tune will be given ideas for playing along. Grown ups who can play backup instruments (guitar, banjo, uke, etc) are also encouraged to join in.

Open Mic Performance Prep for Kids – Olivia Horgan

Sunday Afternoon

Rhythm & Hamboning – Benjamin Hunter POSTPONED UNTIL 2022

Your voice isn’t the only instrument you take with you everywhere. It’s important to remember that you can play a lot of wonderful rhythm through just claps, stomps and thigh slapping. Folks will learn new songs as we explore the fundamentals of rhythmic accompaniment through the use of body percussion. Time permitting, we’ll teach folks how to rattle the bones!

We have delivered variants of this workshop to high schoolers in Aberdeen, Washington and to folks of all ages at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, IL.

Outcomes & Themes: Students strengthen their abilities to identify and physically express concepts including “downbeat,” “off beat,” “pulse” and “polyrhythm.” Through participatory activities, students have the way paved for rhythmic improvisation, creating inroads towards improv with instruments. Students celebrate the spontaneous nature of many forms of American music.

Roots Fiddle – Benjamin Hunter POSTPONED UNTIL 2022

The violin is an ancient instrument, with the techniques and precursors from continental Africa stemming long before the more common-known eurocentric violin that we all know.  This class will explore a few of the techniques and styles that evolved into the blues and old-time lexicon for fiddle.  We’ll look at cats like Eddie Anthony, Charlie Pierce, Andrew Baxter, Lonnie Chatmon, Henry Sims, and Clifford Hayes, as we dissect style, rhythm, technique, scales, and feel for the various “genres” that they all represent.  We’ll explore the lineage of these luminaries and their styles through active listening of old recordings.  Ultimately, this class is about developing your own style, using the lessons learned from folks who also crafted their own ways of playing this ancient instrument.

Outcomes & Themes:  Participants will learn closed position techniques, pentatonic scale work, and rhythmic techniques associated with blues, jugband, and old time music.

Exploitation & Disrespect – Joe Seamons POSTPONED UNTIL 2022
Engage in a productive discussion around the issue more commonly–but less helpfully–described as “appropriation.” Participants will be invited to discuss or observe as Joe Seamons leads a conversation around the related topics of whiteness, entitlement, and the impacts of history the realities of American musical culture. Students are invited to join only if they can come with an open mind and a willingness to linger on uncomfortable topics of discussion.
Outcomes: Students will leave this class with a deeper appreciation of how to approach interpreting sensitive or questionable traditional music, as well as a list of resources for further self-education.

Northwest Folk Songs – Joe Seamons POSTPONED UNTIL 2022
Discover the connections between Woody Guthrie’s Northwest compositions, such as “Pastures of Plenty” and “Grand Coulee Dam,”  with local logging, fishing and sawmill ballads composed by working people of the Pacific Northwest. Through singing and discussing these tunes together–and sharing the stories about how and where they were composed–we will reflect upon the ways and which folk songs are tied to specific places. This class is adaptable to all skill levels and acoustic instruments!