With a theme of Appalachian traditional music and an oceanfront campground on the Maine Coast as the backdrop, Old Time Music Players of Maine will present its first campout Friday through Sunday, Sept. 23 through 25.

Hosted by Searsport Shores Ocean Camping, the weekend event will welcome musicians of all skill levels — beginners to seasoned pros — to learn, share, listen and celebrate old-time string band music from all traditions.

Events during the weekend include workshops and performances featuring some of New England’s best-known players, as well as unstructured time for sharing and learning. Other activities will include morning gospel play; and jamming and storytelling around the outdoor wood-fired pizza and bread oven and antique potato chip cooker. A recording studio will be set up for anyone who wants to record music with new or old friends.



5 p.m. Welcome reception at the Art Studio

6 p.m. Reception jam hosted by Old Time Players of Maine

9 p.m. Pickin’ with friends, by the campfire or in the studio


9 a.m. Slow and fast jam tents open. Players’ choice; many sessions will be led by an old time player.

10 a.m. Hands-on workshops begin with Jon Kerr, banjo. First eight players seated in chair circle; extra players and observers welcome to stand around the circle.

11:30 a.m. Teaching tunes and banjo tunings with Bill Smith

Noon Chowder lunch (to 1 p.m.)

12:30 p.m. Guided jamming session

1:30 p.m. Country blues fiddle technique with Jim Hyland

5:30 p.m. Potluck picnic

7 p.m. Pickup bands, hosted by George Fowler and Art Bryan

8 p.m. Concert of Old Time Music and Stories with Bound to Have a Little Fun String Band, Recreation Hall

9:30 p.m. Pickin’ with friends, by the campfire or in the studio


10 a.m. Gospel-themed group jam

12:30 p.m. Final group play around (songs listed at OldTimeMusicMaine.com) and dessert party

“Jamming for the pleasure of the musicians playing, rather than performance for an audience, is central to the old-time music scene today, as it has been for more than 40 years,” said Jeff Titon, retired professor of music and founder of Bound to Have a Little Fun String Band. “Of course, some old-time musicians do perform; but as the late Mike Seeger said, you can make tens of dollars performing old-time music.”

Titon and others will be part of Saturday night’s jam session. Old Time Music Players of Maine celebrates American string band music and the cultures that brought forth those traditions. Unstructured, informal and entertaining, OTPM welcomes all players to share in song, storytelling and great melodies from that old time music tradition via jam sessions, workshops and late-night pickin’.

A donation of $30 covers admission to all events and workshops. All types of tent, RV and travel trailer campsites will be available for rent during the weekend, plus limited cabin rentals. For information and reservations, call (207) 548-6059.

For more information about the event, email Maine.Old.Time.Music@gmail.com.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.