The 2019 Australian Bluegrass Conference is almost upon us, and I thought it would be a good time to catch up with principal organiser Peter Nahuysen to not just congratulate him on such a fantastic line up for 2019, but to dig around and learn some more on the coming event.
If you are interested in attending this year’s premier bluegrass event, or just want some more information with no obligations just fill in your details on the contact form below and send it to me for follow up – Peter Nahuysen.
Greg: So Peter, In December this year many of us will be enjoying the Australian Bluegrass Conference which is now in its 12th year. That is exciting.
Peter: Yes, that’s correct our first one was in 2008. Back then and for the first 4 years it was called the Australian Banjo Camp, however we were very keen to transition to what it is today a fully fledged live-in conference catering instruction for all the bluegrass instruments. So guitar, mandolin, fiddle and double bass, as well as banjo.
You have a unique formula for the conference don’t you? It seems to be a relatively small number of places and very substantial faculty, at a superb venue I might add.
Peter: We really want the 4 days to be all about the music. So it’s the tuition, the jamming, the networking and then friendships we want to focus on. To this end, we all stay on site at Tranquil Park Resort in magnificent surroundings. All the food is catered for, it’s fully licensed; there is no having to camp out, or to drive anywhere, or walk long distances to workshops like at a festival. With just 65 places and a faculty of 14, the opportunities to meet and play with some of the finest musicians from Australia and the USA are unparalleled.
Greg: That is a huge faculty! Let’s hear about some of your overseas guests?
Peter: Yes it’s the biggest faculty yet and I am thrilled to have some absolutely world-class players coming again this year.
- Jens Kruger will be here for the 4th time and really needs no introduction. He is simply one of the most sublime and gifted musicians you would ever hope to meet. He plays banjo of course but is an equally skilled guitarist. His experience and teaching is unequalled and we are so very privileged to have Jens coming out again.
- Josh Goforth is a fiddle player from North Carolina and I had heard about him from Jens. We got to meet him at the Kruger Brothers Academy this year and he is one of the finest fiddle players in the USA. He plays all kinds of musical styles and I have to say his playing is jaw-dropping. Not only that, he plays mandolin, guitar and banjo equally well. He is a fantastic and inspirational teacher and a wonderful person.
- Bennett Sullivan is an amazing young banjo player and teacher and I got to meet him in Asheville in May. He is an IBMA award winner, taking out the Momentum Award for Industry Involvement only last month at the IBMA. He has a great YouTube channel and I highly recommend banjo players don’t miss the opportunity to meet and hear Bennett at the conference.
- Jenny Lester came out to our conference with the Canadian band Hungry Hill in 2009 and made a huge impact at the camp. She is a beautiful singer, song-writer, fiddle and guitar player, and teaches brilliant harmony workshops. I have been wanting to get Jenny back for years and this is the first time we have been able to do so. Jenny is such a warm and delightful person too and she is so excited to be coming back again this year.
- The Sonoran Dogs for those who perhaps don’t know are a band out of Arizona and have been to the camp 4 times in the past. I describe them as “crowd favourites” and that is a perfect description as they are such a great band and so much fun to have around. It includes Mark Miracle on mandolin and vocals, Peter McLaughlin on guitar and vocals, Tyler James on banjo and Aussie legend Bruce Packard on bass. It will be so good to have Jenny and Josh here getting up with them to add fiddle and vocals to the Doggies sound.
So that’s our international line up, but I also have an exercise physiologist from the USA coming this year who specialises in helping musicians avoid repetitive stress injuries and other hazards of playing an instrument. This is a new feature for 2019.
Greg: That’s a fantastic line up alright, no doubt and a load of great Aussie talent as well, including Taylor Pfeiffer I see? I remember when she used to come to camp as a youngster with banjo and a notebook in tow. She has really blossomed as a musician and a young lady hasn’t she?
Peter: Yes, that’s for sure. Taylor is teaching banjo now in Adelaide, as well as all her performing and recording work. It’s a thrill to have Taylor coming back on the faculty. Then also new this year we have John O’Donnell who is an excellent banjo player and teacher. Plus my brother and guitarist Mark is on the faculty, also Anita Nahuysen running claw hammer classes. And I plan to do some sessions on Celtic tunes for banjo as well.
Greg: So there are a number of banjo instructors coming, is that because you tend to get a lot of banjo players? What about other instruments?
Peter: Yes that’s right, there are always a good number of banjo pickers, but lots of them double up on guitar or mandolin or even bass. But I want to emphasise it’s all instruments included and catered for. So I really encourage guitarists, fiddle players, mandolinists and bass players to consider coming along.
Greg: And do you cater for all skill levels?
Peter: Absolutely! Beginner, intermediate, advanced there is lots for everyone. And I want to encourage any beginners, don’t think it’s only for highly skilled players. Not at all. We run great beginner classes, slow jams and lots of opportunities to absorb techniques and inspiration that will set you up for your musical journey.
Greg: So the details again…
Peter: Thursday to Sunday, December 12th – 15th at Tranquil Park Resort, Maleny which is an hour north of Brisbane.
The cost is $890 for the 4 days which includes everything. I can help arrange free transport from the airport for anyone flying in on the Thursday morning. All bookings are processed through me. Just fill in the contact form below to signal your interest, or to register or to simply ask a question or two on the Conference.
Greg: Thanks Peter, Well done on attracting such a experienced array of artists for the conference faculty. It sounds like it will be another fantastic conference for 2019.
Peter: Thank you Greg, and I can’t wait.
Click here to read more on this year’s conference and past conferences.