All About Music CampSharday Torgerson

What is Music Camp?

Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Tyme Music Society holds an all ages Music Education Camp prior to its annual Music Festival.  Multi-skill level classes are taught in the various acoustic instruments found within the Bluegrass and Old Time genres, such as banjo, fiddle, mandolin, bass, guitar, dobro, voice and even and introductory class for children’s music. Festival main stage artists arrive early to our festival site to provide this professional level instruction.

General Camp Information

The Festival and Music Camp are held 20KM NE of Big River, Saskatchewan at the Ness Creek site, a remote getaway in a rustic setting.

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Spaces to park an RV or pitch a tent and excellent food services are included in the music camp packages, along with access to indoor washroom facilities and coin-operated showers. Classes are scattered across the beautiful and scenic site in sheltered outdoor areas.

In 2018 Camp will run the week BEFORE Festival as it has in previous years.

Camp is open to all ages who are interested in developing a better understanding of music. Northern Lights Bluegrass provides beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes in an array of musical instruments.

  • Our classes are for EVERYONE – if you want to come hone your skills at our music education camp – do not hesitate!  Please note that if you are a new beginner on your instrument, we recommend you spend as much time as you can learning about it prior to coming to camp. Doing this will improve your camp experience greatly. Prerequisites are noted in the class descriptions.
  • Children who are attending camp must do so under the supervision of an adult or guardian.

Our format will essentially remain the same in 2018:

  • The camp begins Monday, August 13th with registration, fun workshops and a BBQ.
  • Classes run mornings and afternoons on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
  • Special interest workshops are available to participants followed by fun-filled evening programming which includes campfires, band scrambles, instructor concerts, old time dancing, jams, songwriting contest & more.
  • Friday morning, we will gather together for brunch and then rehearse for the most famous Kitchen Party Festival Kickoff. More details announced at Camp.

Participants choose one class and remain with their instructor for the duration of camp.

  • Several Special Interest workshops or ‘mini workshops’ on various topics are offered throughout the week on a drop in basis, so for example, if you’re spending the week pickin’ you may get a chance to try singin’!
  • Please see our Class Selection Guide for assistance in choosing a class level (beginner/intermediate/advanced).
  • See our Frequently Asked Questions for answers to many common camp questions.
  • In the coming months you will receive information emails outlining schedules and all the information you’ll need for your music camp experience!

To view class descriptions and instructor bios, please click the Ready to Register? button.

If you have further questions, please contact Tracy at 306.370.7360 or

Learn From World Class Instructors

Our instructors are some of the top working musicians in their industry.  Our alumni boast an impressive range of accomplishments, including working with the likes of Ricky Scaggs, Marty Stuart and The Dixie Chicks. The skill required for them to play at this level takes diligence, patience and practice.  Not only are they masters of their instruments, but they are also teachers, skilled at passing their knowledge on to learners both new and experienced.   Our participants need not ever be intimidated by this level of musicianship, as the true beauty of this bluegrass and old time culture is how it places fostering and encouragement at the forefront.

Make Music Together 

One of the greatest joys for beginners and masters alike is the thrill of gathering together to play.  No amps to haul, no electricity required, just a campfire and a willing group of pickers and singers.  It’s one thing to learn how to play an instrument, but that skill grows exponentially when you learn to play with others.   Over the past 10 years, we have watch students go from playing their first chords to forming bands.   Some people are still playing their first chords and that’s ok too!   We have a wonderful slow pitch session where we allow beginners to practice their new skills at a leisurely pace in a very supportive environment.   Evenings bring the fast fingers to the campfire and the entertainment value is immeasurable.

Fostering friendships through music

More than just an instructional camp, Northern Lights seeks to connect participants in many different ways.   We gather together for amazing meals, take a turn or two at dishes and sometimes even break out into spontaneous percussion sessions.   We bust out the fiddle and kick up our heels, yes, we’ll teach you to dance!  We get the Frisbees and footballs flying to burn off some energy after a long day of learning.  We have story telling sessions and a fantastic song writing contest.   Lifetime friendships are made at our camp.   Our folks wait all year long to return to their camp family for another precious week.


Explore Other Instruments

Maybe you’ve been playing one instrument for some time and feel like it might be time to try something new.  Our camp is the perfect opportunity to do so.   Guitar players have crossed over into learning the resonator guitar (dobro), bluegrass style banjo players expand their tune repertoire by learning to play claw hammer style, and instrumentalists of all stripes have enjoyed learning to sing.  The great thing is, if students should decide to take something new, they have ample opportunity to play their original instruments outside of class time all week long.

If you have further questions, please contact Tracy at 306.370.7360 or