The West Marin Fiddle Camp is coming up from Sunday, July 16 to Saturday, July 22. I spoke with Irena Eide, aka Rainy Eyes, who is putting together this relatively new and largely undiscovered gem of a camp with a variety of highly qualified instructors across acoustic roots genres including old-time, Cajun/Zydeco, and or course bluegrass. You can jump to their FAQ for more info or read on below where Irena fielded questions about the event and provided a special discount code for CBA readers..
Hey Rainy. Tell us about the upcoming West Marin Fiddle Camp.
This will be our third annual West Marin Fiddle Camp coming up at the beautiful commonweal Gardens in Bolinas, California. Featuring an all-star lineup of teachers; gourmet meals, beautiful nature, hikes, beach walks, fire jams, concert and dance every night. Folks can camp all week, unplug and immerse themselves in music, nature, and connection. Every year has been such a blast, the first year we had Dirk Powell, Riley Baugus plus Reeb Wilms and Caleb Klauder amongst others. We’ve had an incredible lineup every year including Nokosee Fields, Sami Braman, Eli West, Cahalen Morrison Luke and Rachael Price, and, Joel and Wilson Savoy. This summer we’ve got a lot more local talent including Suzy Thompson, Keith Little and recently relocated to the Bay Area; Mark Schatz of Béla Fleck. Also Sierra Ferrell‘s mandolin player Josh Rilko, the incredible Zydeco star Cedric Watson, and lots more! It’s going to be such a magical, fun week!
Tell us about the special CBA discount you are providing.
We have a very special $100 discount for CBA members only. Sign up at www.westmarinfiddlecamp.com/register and sign up with the coupon code: CBA100
How can we find out more about the instructors?
Our full list of Summer 2023 teachers is: Cedric Watson, Suzy Thompson, Riley Baugus, Mark Schatz, Keith Little, Nokosee Fields, Emily Mann, Rainy Miatke, and Joshua Rilko. You can read all the teacher bios and find links to their music at https://www.westmarinfiddlecamp.com/teacher-2023
What does the daily schedule look like?
The day starts with a delicious and nutritious breakfast all home cooked and coffee/tea in the greenhouse. Then folks go get themselves ready, get their instruments, and the first period starts at 9:30 AM. Folks can choose which teacher and instrument they want. Each class has a slightly different focus such as claw hammer banjo with Riley or three-finger bluegrass star banjo with Keith Little. The fiddle teachers might work on different things such as technique, rhythm and groove, posture, fretboard, etc. So you can choose where you want to focus and you can try different teachers in different classes or stay with the same one all week.
The first and second periods are about an hour and a half then it’s lunch, healthy nutritious salads, soups, sandwiches, and more. After lunch there’s band and you can choose which band you want to be in, Appalachian string band, zydeco band, bluegrass band, and more. The bands will perform Friday night at the student concert. After band practice, it is Hike walk nature time, meditation, rest, or nap whatever you feel like you need. Then we have our afternoon wildcard classes that can be literally anything, from baking lemon bars with Emily to listening to field recordings with Nokosee, to learning flat-foot dancing with Mark Schatz or bluegrass harmony with Keith Little or old-time exercise class, etc. There’s no limit to what the wildcard classes can offer! Afterwards, folks are jammin and usually, we start a fire then dinner is served around 6:30 PM. After dinner, we go straight into the teacher concert usually around the fire, and then a dance every night! We’ll have square dance one night with a caller, honky-tonk dance one night, zydeco dance one night, probably flat footing one night with Mark, etc. It’s going to be a blast! After that of course are more jams, and late-night desserts. 🙂
How is this camp different than others?
I think what makes West Marin Fiddle Camp so very unique is that it is so intimate. The camp is very small 50 to 75 people total. And you get to jam and play music with your musical heroes all day and night. Our teacher lineup is super high level and the food is exceptionally good and the setting is truly stunning!
What should students bring?
Bring your instruments, your tuners your capos your picks, bring a warm jacket, a sun hat, sunscreen, bring layers! California coast can be unpredictable, usually, it’s foggy in the morning, then the sun comes out in the later morning and it cools down again at night, so bring your camping gear and all your essentials. You could bring a swimsuit and go to the beach after classes, and bring your hiking boots if you want to explore the beautiful Bolinas Ridge trails and more nearby!
Feel free to bring an instrument that you are starting to learn even if you’re proficient at another instrument. There will be lots of jamming throughout the day and night. Bring a little recording device for your classes. Most of all bring your good vibes and your appetite for learning!
Anything else we need to know?
Bolinas is way out there on the coast, about an hour from San Francisco on very windy roads, just a heads up that you’ll be driving on some roller-coaster roads for about 30 minutes on your way out there but it is so worth the drive! Once you get out there, you are in paradise! Just take deep breaths and enjoy the views.
Oh, and isn’t there a discount for our CBA readers? 😉
Right, use the coupon code: CBA100 at www.westmarinfiddlecamp.com when you register.
Thanks, Rainy, it sounds blissful.
Thank you so much, Dave!!