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20th Banjo Gathering
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11/2/2017 to 11/5/2017
When: Thursday, November 2, 2017
Where: Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
Alexandria, Virginia 
United States
Contact: Jim Bollman

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Since 1998, the Banjo Gathering (formerly the Banjo Collectors Gathering) has been the platform for sharing new scholarship and findings on the banjo as a historical, cultural, and design object. Every year, collectors, researchers, instrument builders, and musicians from throughout the United States and abroad come together for the Banjo Gathering’s signature activities: formal presentations, field trips to culturally significant locations, and a marketplace to inspect, buy, sell, and trade instruments and ephemera from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The 20th Banjo Gathering will take place in Alexandria, Virginia from Thursday, November 2 through Sunday, November 5, 2017, and will feature three extraordinary field trips:

  • Thursday, November 2, 2017 (10AM-2PM): Library of Congress, American Folklife Center — pre-Gathering visit and tour of banjo holdings
  • Friday, November 3, 2017 (8AM-11AM): Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture — exclusive curator-guided tour
  • Friday, November 3, 2017 (12:30-2:30PM) Smithsonian National Museum of American History — tour of extensive banjo collection

This year’s registration is a two-step process. First, please fill out this Google Survey to express your intention to attend the Gathering and each of the field trip tours. Second, submit your registration fee of $280 (with a special half-price offer of $140 for students and first-time attendees) with a check made payable to:
Peter Szego
2 Beekman Lane
NJ 08844

Please note that because of the high demand and limited space, advanced confirmation is required for each field trip and can only be secured on a first-come, first-serve basis when you submit your registration fee to Peter Szego.

The Banjo Gathering will be held at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Alexandria, Virginia, with a guest room rate is $139 per night for single or double occupancy. On-site parking is $15 per day, but off-site parking is available. The Gathering organizers have reserved a block of guest rooms from Wednesday, November 1, through Sunday, November 5. You can make reservations online with the SRP Code “BANJO” and the following pass-key link:

The number of reserved guest rooms is limited and availability is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please be aware that there were not enough guest rooms at the host hotel last year and quite a few Banjo Gathering participants had to stay at nearby hotels. Please make room reservations ASAP to guarantee your room.

Some of the presentation topics thus far confirmed will include: close encounters with an early gourd banjo; the banjo during the 1849 gold rush; collecting adventures in northeast Ohio; early banjo recordings on original machines; the “Golden Age” of the Tenor banjo; English Weaver banjos; a fresh look at Boston banjo makers; and banjo rim construction.

For more information, please visit the Banjo Gathering website, or contact the Gathering organizers:

Jim Bollman
Peter Szego 

Hank Schwartz
Greg Adams 

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