Our 2014 workshop program includes instrument-specific intensives focused on playing hints and techniques from the best in the bluegrass business and conversational seminars between performers and industry professionals. This year’s workshops are led by Berklee College of Music’s American Roots Program students and faculty, writers and editors from industry publishers The Fretboard Journal and No Depression, and a few special-guest FreshGrass artists. All workshops are free with admission. Select workshops encourage attendees to bring instruments. Space is limited, so register on the day of the event when you arrive at the festival – first come, first served. Times and locations will be announced in August.

Berklee Working Band – Saturday 11am

Every upstart band needs a beat on the business side of bluegrass. Joe Walsh leads a panel of young working band members in a discussion of the lessons learned on the road.

No Depression – Saturday 12pm

No Depression, the leading online community for indie-alt-country-roots-rock-Americana music presents a workshop hosted by editor Kim Ruehl and regional members. Learn how you can become a regular contributor to the site.

FreshGrass Fiddle Summit – Saturday 1pm

Darol Anger, Associate Professor of the American Roots Music Program at Berklee College of Music, brings together some of the best fiddlers from FreshGrass, as well as extremely talented Berklee students, to discuss style, technique, and improvisation. The workshop will end with a wild jam session.

Happy Traum Fingerpicking Workshop – Saturday 1pm

The inimitable Happy Traum will present a workshop on Saturday at 1pm for any players who want to unravel the mysteries of steady-bass thumb-and-fingerstyles! With over 50 years of experience playing with greats like Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan, writing dozens of instruction books, and all the while running Homespun Tapes – the foremost music instruction site of its kind – if anyone can teach you to pick like a pro, it’s Happy.

Roots Music Listening Session – Sunday 11am

Knowing the rich history of bluegrass, roots, and Americana music helps you become a better musician, as well as an educated listener. Dave Hollander will play recordings demonstrating that the blues is the great aquifer that runs underneath all American music.

Berklee Mandolin Workshop – Sunday 12pm

Joe Walsh, Mandolin Principal of the American Roots Music Program at Berklee College of Music, leads players in exploring technique while fielding questions from the audience.

Improvisation in Bluegrass – Sunday 1pm

Matt Glaser and Joe Walsh use a common bluegrass song to demonstrate improvising from a melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic standpoint.

Banjo MegaJam – Sunday 2pm

Grammy Award-winning banjo virtuoso (and four-time FreshGrass featured artist) Alison Brown leads this year’s workshop. With a deep lineup of FreshGrass artists on campus, you never know who will show up to share secrets of bluegrass’ most storied instrument. Last year’s event was an epic collaboration of festival favorites such as Chris Pandolfi of The Infamous Stringdusters and Nick Hornbuckle of The Jaybirds.

Luthier Activities – Saturday and Sunday, Luthier Tent, Courtyard C

The Fretboard Journal – the boutique magazine for guitar, mandolin, and stringed instrument players – joins Sauvé Guitars founder Steve Sauvé and a stellar group of artisans for demonstrations and discussions of fiddle, mandolin, banjo, open-back banjo, and guitar. You’ll meet Nick Lenski of Brier Road Guitars, Adam Buchwald of Circle Strings, Joel Eckhaus of Earnest Instruments and Matt Arcara of MGA Guitars (and yes, that is Matt from Joy Kills Sorrow), Steve Kovacik of Kovacik Guitars, Frank Marachitto of A Violin Shop, Jason Verlinde of Fretboard, and a few other special guests, including our friends from Deering Banjos and Banjo Studio who will be on hand all weekend long. These activities will be spontaneous, so sign-up is not required.