Workshops & Hosted Jams


2017 Workshop Schedule

All workshops are included in your admission.
Thank you to our expert panel of teachers!

Round Peak Fiddle
with Kirk Sutphin

Harmony Fiddle
with Howard Rains and Tricia Spencer

Old-Time Fiddle Tunes & Bowing
by David Bragger

This workshop is for all levels! The objective is to get the fiddler playing some incredible tunes with a focus on rhythm and interchangeable variations.  I’ll be drawing from a vast repertoire of Kentucky, West Virginia and North Carolina fiddle tunes that are rhythmic and easy to grasp. As always, my workshops emphasize the key ingredient to old-time fiddle: Bowing!! All workshop attendees will receive audio files of the tunes with phrase by phrase instruction.

Freestyle Flatfooting
by Ruth Alpert and Rebecca Stout

Flatfooting, Buck Dancing and Clogging are related, but different styles, of foot percussion. Freestyle flatfooting is improvised, in which every dancer finds their own expression. I will start by teaching you some basic steps to get you going, and then we will focus on playing the tune with our feet!

Old-Time Banjo Workshop
By Travis Stuart

Here's your chance to take a banjo workshop with this legendary banjo player. His recent release "The Stuart Brothers" has taken the old-time world by storm. He's been dubbed "a musician's musician" by Rayna Gellert.

Old-Time Mandolin
by Pat MacSwyney

The workshop will be geared for both novice and seasoned mandolin players alike. We will focus on applying fiddle-friendly ornament and chording to a few classic Old-Time fiddle tunes.


2017 Jam at the Festival

At the heart of any great old-time festival is the jamming! Fiddles, banjos, guitars, mandolins, washtub basses, and other stringed instruments are picked, plucked, strummed and banged on in jams that vary in size, from 2 to 25 people!

Musicians are free to start old-time jams anywhere around the grounds. Additionally, there will be assigned areas for jams too. This year we’ll even have 5 hosted jams for musicians and beginners who are just breaking into the world of playing with others OR who simply want to meet new folks to make old-time music with!

Led Jam Sessions

Old-Time Jam
Hosted by Skillet Licorice

Old-Time Jam
Hosted by Andy Denes

Old-Time Jam
hosted by Jordan Ruyle and Allegra Yellin

Old-Time Jam
hosted by Jim Mueller

Beginners Old-Time Jam
hosted by Susan Platz (last year's Adv. Fiddle winner)



Meet our talented performers, teachers and jam hosts

Kirk Sutphin Ask any Old Time fiddler who their favorite young fiddler is, and Kirk Sutphin will likely be high on their list. Kirk is truly a musician’s musician. His talents on the fiddle are matched with his exceptional skill on the banjo. As a young boy, Kirk was the protégé of the famous Surry County fiddler, Tommy Jarrell. Kirk to Tommy’s own admission captured the nuance of his fiddling more than anyone.Kirk didn’t rest there. He dug deeper into the older mountain fiddling sounds of Tommy Jarrell’s dad, Ben Jarrell and the old Galax Fiddler Emmett Lundy. His focus also extends to the Piedmont. Kirk is also a master of the music of Charlie Poole.

Tom Sauber A native of Southern California, Tom is an internationally known master musician. Fluent in a variety of styles, Tom is a multi-instrumentalist (banjo, fiddle, guitar and mandolin) and a compelling singer. In the more than 40 years that Tom has devoted to playing traditional music, he has performed with many of the leading figures of traditional American music. He is particularly known for his long partnerships with Oklahoma fiddler, Earl Collins and Round Peak banjo picker, Eddie Lowe. Tom has played for many years with Brad Leftwich and Alice Gerrard as Tom, Brad and Alice. He’s played in Bluegrass bands with Byron Berline, John Hickman and Alan Munde and in Cajun bands with Jo-el Sonnier, Joe Simien and Wilfred Latour. In addition, Tom brought traditional music to the film industry with Ry Cooder and David Lindley in the western, "The Long Riders".

Tricia Spencer is a Kansas fiddler who grew up learning the tradition of old time music from her Grandparents.  At an early age, she was perched up on some stage tapping her foot to the beat of fiddles, banjos, mandolins and guitars.  While growing up, her free time was spent traveling to festivals and fiddling contests throughout the Midwest where she learned from the likes of Pete McMahan, Cyril Stinnet, Lymon Enloe, Dwight Lamb, Amos Chase, and Lucy Pierce. Tricia is multi-instrumentalist who has studied with some of the great masters and is highly sought after as a performer, dance fiddler, and instructor.

Howard Rains is an artist and fiddler from Texas now residing in Lawrence, Kansas. As much known for his fiddling as his painting, the New York Times has called Howard “an authority on old Texas-style fiddling.” Howard now travels, performs, teaches, and records with his wife and art and music collaborator, Tricia Spencer.

As an artist, Howard Rains, for the most part, paints portraits and still lifes in watercolor and he is known largely for his portraits of old time musicians. The drawings are always done from life while sitting across from master musicians–listening and learning from them. Howard’s goals in painting and music are very much in line with those of the Tiki Parlour, to document and preserve our rich, living community of traditional music.

Travis Stuart was born and raised in Bethel, a rural farming community in Haywood County, NC -- an area of magical beauty where the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains meet and once the ancient Cherokee settlement of Sonoma. These majestic ranges surrounded him with the rich musical and cultural environment of Appalachian fiddle tunes, Baptist spirituals, banjo pickers, all night square dance shindigs and poetic tale weavers.

With deep family musical roots, his great grandfather was the legendary fiddler Rev. Henry King, and great uncle the banjoist and singer Austin Stamey. Travis and his late twin brother Trevor learned some of the oldest regional fiddle and banjo styles from masters such as the Smathers Family, Byard Ray, Oscar “Red” Wilson, Gordon Freeman, and the Sutton family. They formed their first band in junior high and played for local clogging teams, local functions and fiddlers conventions. Since then they have toured extensively throughout the US and several foreign countries, teaching and performing at major festivals and music camps.Together and separately they performed at some of the world’s most prestigious stages: London’s Albert Hall, Dublin’s Vicar Street, Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble, and New York City’s Beacon Theater. His most recent recording is an epic DVD & CD set featuring the Stuart Brothers on banjo and fiddle.

Clarke Buehling is widely recognized for his interpretations of late 19th Century, classic finger-style banjo, and is in the forefront of the recent resurgence of interest in the earlier minstrel banjo style.  Much of his material is based around his extensive collection of 19th Century banjo and mandolin instruction books and sheet music.  Clarke teaches banjo, fiddle, mandolin and guitar in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The Hi-O Revelers are Devin Champlin and Katy Harris from Bellingham, WA.  They play old time music with a mix of fiddle breakdowns, mandolin rags, guitar blues and singing duets.  Both musicians draw heavy inspiration from early recordings, as well as learning from the great living musicians they are fortunate enough to mingle with.  They are equally at home playing a square dance, for a honky tonk, on a festival stage, or sitting on a cooler in a field.

Echo Mountain is an old-time string band based out of Los Angeles. Kelly Marie Martin is a veteran singer, guitarist, bassist and banjo player from Los Angeles. Peter Linden is an artist and plays banjo. Kyle McNally works in film and plays fiddle. Jonathan Shifflett is a journalist and plays guitar. Together they play square dances and farmers markets in the LA area and have been featured performers at the Watkins Family Hour. The collective vision of Echo Mountain is to build a repertoire that reflects the whole spectrum of the old-time tradition, playing each fiddle tune and mountain ballad with new energy while remaining true to traditional style and form.

Jim Mueller has been playing the fiddle since 1977 and is primarily interested in Southern fiddle styles. He plays fiddle with the Growling Old Geezers String Band, and For Old TimesÕ Sake. He has performed and taught at dances and festivals throughout California and the United States, including the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, Washington, the Swannanoa Gathering, in Asheville, North Carolina, and the Lark in the Morning Summer Music Celebration. In his spare time, Jim is a Professor of Mathematics at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

David Bragger, festival artistic director, teaches old-time fiddle, banjo and mandolin to students of all ages and levels. He is also the host of the Old Time Tiki Parlour which produces concerts, workshops, CDs and films by the best old-time musicians alive, including Kirk Sutphin, Dan Gellert, Bruce Molsky, Paul Brown, Bob Carlin, Eric & Suzy Thompson, Mike Compton, Joe Newberry, Scott Prouty, etc. David is in high demand as a fiddle teacher at festivals and has private students in four continents! He is renowned for his ability to break down tunes and bowing with ease and clarity. David also plays banjo, fiddle and mandolin in the old-time stringband Sausage Grinder and in several local dance bands.

Susan Platz is a powerful fiddler from Illinois who now resides in Los Angeles. She fiddles and sings for the old-time band Sausage Grinder with her bandmate David Bragger, our artistic director. She is especially fond of harmonizing and playing fiddle duets. Her debut CD of fiddle duets with David Bragger is expected later this year.

Pat MacSwyney is a Los Angeles based multi instrumentalist who plays Old-Time with The DEAD ROOSTER Memorial String Band; Traditional Jazz with The SWING RIOTS Quirktette; and Balkan with the eastern European women’s choir NEVENKA.

Ruth Alpert has been flatfooting for 35 years. She has taught workshops, danced with old-time Appalachian string bands, busked (street performed) in various cities in at least 6 states, and is a two time National Champion in Senior Buck Dancing, 2013 and 2014. Currently, Ruth is the percussion section of The Honeysuckle Possums, an all-female string band playing original and traditional music.

Rebecca Stout began clogging as a child in Cordele, Georgia, as part of the community mountain-style clogging group The Dixieland Cloggers. She went on to spend the next three decades developing and fine-tuning her unique “Tennessee Shuffle” style of free-form flatfoot and buck dance, inspired by friends, relations, masters and mentors throughout Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia. Today, Rebecca teaches and performs traditional Appalachian dance with a focus on dance as a percussive instrument, while encouraging students to develop their own personal style. More info at

Andy Denes has played old-time music since the Folk Music Revival of the 60s. He starting out playing mandolin because his orthodontist nixed the trumpet.  Andy is a fixture in the SoCal jam scene.  He jams as often as possible and hope to travel to more festivals nationwide.  In the last few years, he's developed a compact tablature for mandolin.