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CFP: The 19th Annual Banjo Gathering

Sunday, June 5, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Shannon K. Larson
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The 19th Annual Banjo Gathering will take place Thursday, November 3, through Saturday, November 5, 2016, in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Banjo Gathering (formerly the Banjo Collectors Gathering) is the only forum focused entirely on the banjo as a historical, cultural, and design object, in contrast to the many banjo camps, festivals, and gatherings that are focused principally on playing the banjo. Since 1998, the Gathering has been the platform for sharing new scholarship and findings between banjo collectors, researchers, instrument builders, and musicians. The Gathering’s signature activities include formal presentations and a marketplace for attendees to inspect, buy, sell, and trade instruments and ephemera from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This focus on the banjo as material culture continues to be compelling and engaging to those who value the banjo for a wide range of academic and non-academic reasons.

Modern Banjo Makers — Historic Roots

In the upcoming Banjo Gathering, the organizers are launching a program that they expect will become one of the key themes of future Gatherings. “Modern Banjo Makers — Historic Roots” will be a broad exploration and analysis of the historical, cultural, design, and performance influences on the building practices of contemporary banjo makers. Collectors will bring to the Gathering examples of banjos by the featured banjo makers and historical examples of banjos — many of which have never been available for public view — which the makers indicate most inspired them. The banjo makers will discuss the historic and design influences that have most impacted their work, and a panel of scholars will discuss their thoughts about the influences on each maker’s banjos, how each maker creatively responded to historical examples, and how their banjos fit within the range of similar examples by other contemporary banjo makers.

The 2016 Banjo Gathering will feature four contemporary makers, whose banjos reflect the influence of four key banjo traditions:

Gourd banza: Pete Ross
Minstrel-era banjo: James Hartel
Classic banjo: Kevin Enoch
Craft tradition and innovation: Richard Newman, creator of the Holophonic banjo

Call for Presentations:

Each year, the Gathering’s presentations typically cover a variety of
historical and contemporary topics and themes:

Instrument design, manufacture, and aesthetics
The banjo’s historical, cultural, and social significance
Preservation and conservation issues for instruments and ephemera
Banjo collecting and the marketplace
Playing technique and repertoire

Those who are interested in delivering a formal presentation are invited to submit a proposal to speak at this year’s Banjo Gathering. The deadline for submitting proposals will be July 31, 2016. Please forward proposals to Jim Bollman at or Greg Adams at Proposals should include your name, email address, mailing address, phone number, presentation title, and abstract of no more than 500 words.

Registration and Hotel Information:

This year’s registration fee is $250 with a special offer of $125 — a 50% discount — for first-time attendees and students. Registration fees should be sent to: Peter Szego, 2 Beekman Lane, Hillsborough, NJ 08844.

The Gathering will be hosted at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel Charlottesville with a guest room rate is $139 per night (plus a $10 surcharge for double occupancy). The hotel has set up a dedicated web page for the Banjo Gathering.

You may reserve your guest room by phone (434-964-4461) or online at Be sure to reference the group name and group code: GROUP NAME: Banjo Collectors Gathering 2016; GROUP CODE: BJO.

For questions about formal presentations and scheduling, contact Jim Bollman at For questions about registration, contact Peter Szego at

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