Pt. Townsend’s Centrum Hosts Annual Blues Workshops

Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Workshop


July 26-August 2, 2015
Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, WA

Join us for this annual country blues gathering! The Port Townsend Acoustic Blues workshop is held at Fort Worden State Park, one of the Pacific Northwest’s most stunning and inspiring landscapes.

Unique and compelling about this particular workshop is the focus and intention put on a narrow band of early blues music, with preservation as the goal while honoring the offshoots of that core style of music. The primary core is acoustic pre-war (1920s and 1930s) country blues, the African-American cultures it grew out of and their traditions. Steeped in the rich music and cultures of rural communities of the Southern USA, this workshop gives attention to styles typified by the different players from various regions (Piedmont, the Mississippi Delta, Hill Country, and Texas), the differences in technique as well as how to get the proper sounds of these styles out of your instrument. The music is the primary focus of the multi-generational in-residence workshop week but the downhome back-porch vibe of the country blues culture creates a community vibe that lends a family gathering feel to the week.

To preserve country blues we need new blues, new songs, new players and new sounds along with the originals, songs and sounds that move the genre forward while honoring its rich rural traditions. This week is designed to inform your playing with the traditions of country blues, and make you a better musician – you’ll hang out, jam and swap tunes with interesting, accomplished, and fun bearers of acoustic blues traditions. You’ll take part in daily classes and serious music making in the evenings with some of the finest acoustic blues players working today.

Details on our 2015 workshop are still under development but we do have confirmations from a few of the faculty including: Paul Asbell, Sunpie Barnes, Michael Jerome Browne, Andy Cohen, Daryl Davis, Rich DelGrosso, Pat Donohue, Tom Feldmann, Mary Flower, Samuel James, Steve James, Micah Kesselring, John Miller, Dean Mueller, Lauren Sheehan, Cyd Smith, Alice Stuart, Valerie Turner, Lightnin’ Wells, Phil Wiggins. Check back in as we confirm the remaining faculty…

Centrum Blues from Champion Video Productions on Vimeo.

This generous community shares your passion and energy, and we can almost guarantee that by the end of the week you AND your playing will be heading into directions you didn’t predict just a few days earlier. Daily classes are offered in Hill Country, Delta and Piedmont styles, finger-picking, blues guitar, slide guitar, harmonica, violin, mandolin, banjo, blues piano, bass, accordion, blues singing, and gospel choir, all taught by masters of the traditions.

Please keep an eye on this website as details unfold. For information contact: Acoustic Blues Program Manager, Mary Hilts at, or 360.385.3102 x 116.

The schedule is still under development but here’s a general idea of what to expect:

Sunday, July 26, 2015: 3pm – arrive and settle in; 6pm – dinner; 8pm – welcome & orientation; and jamming after.

Monday – Friday: Breakfast; 2 morning workshop sessions; Lunch; 2 afternoon workshop sessions; late afternoon Gospel Choir and Back Porch Jam.

Evenings: entertainment, open jams, house parties.

There will be two public performances by the instructors on Friday and Saturday as well Blues in the Clubs both of these nights. Your workshop registration entitles you to prime seats at these shows.

Sunday August 2, 2015: farewell breakfast, check out of rooms by 11am.


Tuition: $560

Room and Board Fees:

$580, dorm with three meals a day
$495, dorm with lunch and dinner
Meal plans: $305 and $220

Under-18? You must be accompanied by an adult that is a registered participant, or registered chaperone. With your parent or guardian’s permission, a registered adult attending the workshop can be your chaperone or an adult chaperone not attending can accompany you and not participate in the workshop. Either way the chaperone or registered adult must register first by choosing either “Register” or “Chaperone” from the Registration Type drop down menu. Then when you register list their name and confirmation number as your Chaperone.

Gospel track: $150 — Monday through Friday, 3:30-5:30pm, includes entry to mainstage performance. The gospel track does not include club passes.

Day Pass: $110 — good for one day of your choice Monday through Friday, includes evening jams, does not include entry to mainstage performance or club passes.

Each registration requires a unique email address.
For help with this issue please call Vernie, 360-385-3102 x117 or email

For questions visit our FAQ page, or contact Mary Hilts, program manager, or 360-385-3102 x116.

The Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Workshop is a week-long, total-immersion experience that passes down the skills, sounds, stories, laughter, and heartache of the authentic bearers of the blues tradition. For many, it’s a pilgrimage. For others, it’s an intensive week of deeply satisfying music-making. For all, it’s a chance to learn new tunes and styles, and to take playing and performing to a new level.

  • WHEN

  • Sunday, July 26, 2015 – Sunday, August 2, 2015

  • Centrum at Fort Worden State Park
    PO Box 1158
    223 Battery Way
    Port Townsend, Washington 98368

  • Centrum at Fort Worden
  • Contact UsContact Us

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