CBA Youth Program

collage of young people playing bluegrass instruments

Fathers Day Festival week

June 2024 Grass Valley

Children playing under a large, colorful parachute outdoors in a grassy field.

Preschool Jam

Especially designed for children 0-5! Make music and play together during Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival.

girl making tiedye tshirt at Kids Fest


A recreational program for children, is held during the CBA Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival each June in Grass Valley.

2 boys in Youth program tshirts performing on stage

Kids on Bluegrass

KOB remains one of our most popular events with a performance on the Father’s Day Festival main stage.

CBA Youth Academy 2023 postcard

CBA Youth Academy

CBA Youth Academy is a four-day music camp for 8 – 16 year olds held during the CBA Father’s Day Festival.

Support Our Kids’ Programs

The Youth Program consists of recreational, instructional and performance components and manages an instrument lending library.

Financial support, as well as in-kind donations of instruments and accessories, are an essential basis of our kids programs. Your gift helps strengthen and enrich our Bluegrass culture by encouraging the next generation to play and enjoy music.

Online Bluegrass Academy logo with blue bear mascot

Online Bluegrass Academy

Our new ONLINE Bluegrass Academy is a learning channel for youth of all ages. You can join now!

In September 2021, the IBMA Kids on Bluegrass program was not able to get together in person in Raleigh, North Carolina. But that didn’t stop them. With help from the California Bluegrass Association, these 30 talented youth decided to collaborate in a virtual performance, and selected songs to commemorate four music icons that we’ve lost during the past year. See it here:   

Kids Instrument Lending Library

The Kids Instrument Lending Library was the brainchild of Darrell Johnston, past CBA Treasurer. Darrell had a great love for bluegrass and old time music and was passionate about children learning to play the music. He learned about one young girl’s need for a fiddle, so he purchased a small fiddle, donated it to the girl and the Darrell Johnston Kids Instrument Lending Library began. Darrell passed away shortly after this deed and the CBA decided to formalize a lending program and name it after him.

Since then, the inventory of donated bluegrass instruments (guitar, mandolin, fiddle, bass, banjo, dobro) has grown. There are now almost 70 instruments in the hands of the children of CBA members. We accept donations of playable instruments needing little repair/set up. The instruments are labeled and then are ready to be put into the hands of children. We have strings, cases, picks, instructional materials available as well. We have member luthiers who assist us with setup and small repairs.

Mandolin Café ( has twice held major events for the library and Mandolin Café is a sponsor of the CBA Youth Program. We welcome other sponsors or donors to step forward to help us get more instruments into the hands of more children.

Requirements for borrowing an instrument are few: parents must be a current CBA member and must arrange for pickup with our librarian. We encourage the child with the instrument to attend one of our festivals each year and check in with us to see if the instrument is still in good playing condition and is being used. Many families check out a number of instruments until they find the instrument their child wants to play.

Donations are always welcome and, of course, essential. Donations of instruments or accessories are tax deductible because of our 501(c)3 status. We will send a letter of acknowledgement but setting an estimated value of the donation is the responsibility of the donor.

Cash donations will be used towards buying instruments and accessories.

Our Lending Library librarian is Sharon Khadder; she can be contacted at

Support California Bluegrass Association's Youth Programs

Make a tax-deductible donation today!