Acoustic Kamp Online Brochure

Thank you for your interest in our Acoustic Kamp Series. We feel it is the best organized, educationally beneficial, camaraderie based Kamp available. People come from all over the world to share this experience. Everyone is nervous the first time at the Kamp - for about 15 minutes. Then they see all the love and joy and excitement around them. Everyone comes for one main purpose. To learn from the best and better play acoustic music! We hope you too will join us to experience this joy in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.

See you in June, Steve and Donna

Kamp Downloads

2021 Kamp Registration 2021 Kamp Registration (384 KB)

One Registration Required per Student

Kamp Evaluation Form Kamp Evaluation Form (17 KB)

Kamp Minor Release Form Kamp Minor Release Form (85 KB)

Information for all Kampers


All rooms are based on double occupancy.
There are typically two beds to the room. Then a shared bath and another room with two beds. This is the typical Carnegie Hall set up. Lloyd Hall is different as most rooms are suites. Bedrooms with a shared living room. Beeson Village is made up of Townhouse style buildings.
In some cases, the late registered folks are tucked away in Gamble or Davis Hall. These double rooms have the bathroom down the hall. Register early to get into Lloyd, Carnegie, Beeson Halls.

Beginning in our 25th Year - Private Rooms on a Limited Basis
We have many people say "I MUST have a private room". In many cases, demanding a private room means that another student is misplaced or can't get a bed completely and will need to stay off campus. We looked at many other camps to see what they do. Of ten camps looked at that offer Private Rooms for a fee, the average cost is $570 extra. Some as high as $1300.00 additional for a private room.

We are offering Private Rooms for an additional $400 this year. There are a limited number of Private Rooms so they will be on a first come basis. This is not guaranteeing a private bath. Only the Private Room. This is for the folks that say they MUST have a private room.

For those wishing private accomodations, but not a positive necessity, simply put "Private Preferred" in your Roommate selection and we will do everything we can to accommodate those wishes. Though not guaranteed private, we will do everything we can.

The Guaranteed Private Rooms are a limited number and a first come basis. When they are gone, they are gone.
You will be charged for this at registration.

Acoustic Kamp Location

Steve Kaufman's Acoustic Kamp
Maryville College
502 East Lamar Alexander Parkway
Maryville, TN 37804

Our facilities are on the campus of the spacious, scenic and historic Maryville College in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. We are just 17 miles south of Knoxville, TN.

The campus facilities include dormitories, cafeteria, concert hall, classrooms, Chapel and "The Kamp General Store".
The sleeping quarters are in the college dormitories. They are Double Occupancy.
There are two tall twin beds per room with a shared baths to an adjoining room with two beds.

Pairing up of friends is possible but rooms are limited so let us know early. Stair climbing and walking required.

All Rooms are based on Double Occupancy.

Quiet Sleeping Areas or Jam Sleeping Area Available. Quiet Area Jamming Curfew is 11:00 PM.
Air Travel

If traveling by air, you will fly into the Knoxville Airport (TYS). The Kamp is about 5 miles from the airport and we can pick you up if your flight arrives between noon and 4:30 PM on your check in day.
Kamp shuttles begin at noon about every 20 minutes and will pick you up outside of the baggage area at the curb.
Look for the Maryville College Van
Returning to the airport should be just as easy. We start running shuttles back to the airport at 8:00 AM on check out day. This will get you to a 9:30 flight. Earlier departures require a taxi and we will help you make the arrangements during Kamp. You must sign up for the shuttle when you check in, or outside the Kamp Store.

Flying With Your Instrument

Steve flies four to six planes every week and has found the best for him is to check his guitar in his Calton Case. This is nearly indestructible but important measures have been taken to insure its safety. Many, many guitars come to Kamp in factory hard shell cases. Use a roll of bubble wrap under the peg head which pushes the peg head slightly off it's cradle. This will help the weak area of the neck where it rests in the cradle of the case. Make sure the guitar does not slide inside the case. You can use T-Shirts stuffed around the instrument to snug it in the case.

If you are traveling with anything smaller than a guitar, simply bring it on the plane. Try to be one of the first people on the plane, either by Medallion status or tell them you need a little extra time. The later you wait to board the less chance you have to put your instrument overhead. Then you will "Gate Check" it. This is when you have your instrument at the gate and there is no room and you have to hand it to a worker to hand carry it down the steps and hand place it in baggage. When you get off the plane, your instrument is brought to you at the door of the plane. Steve has done this hundreds of times, still with no damage issues.

One last item for peace of mind. Call Heritage Insurance. They insure Steve's instruments and are the best folks to work with. Pennies on the dollar and zero deductible. Just in case something happens, you will be covered. Steve has not had a damage claim in 20 years and travels on many flights and you will no doubt have great success getting your instrument to Kamp either on board or gate checked.

Area Hotels

Our designated Kamp Hotel is the MainStay Suites by the Knoxville Airport. We have several rooms block booked for the Kamp Students. You have until June 2 to make your reservation at this rate. The hotel is located about 3 miles from Maryville College. 

If you want to book your MainStay Suites Hotel room online, just follow these links for the special Student Kamp Rate.

Traditional Week Hotel Link - HERE

Bluegrass Week Hotel Link - HERE

You can also call the Hotel at 865-379-7799   Ask for the "Kamp Student Rate"


Mainstay Suites

Kelli Holliman - General Manager
361 Fountain View Circle
Alcoa, TN 37701
fax 865-379-0034
These are all great B+Bs and hotels a few miles from Kamp


Holiday Inn Express - 865-981-9008

Hampton Inn – 865-983-1101    

Hilton Airport 865-970-4300  

Fairfield Inn Hotel 865-984-9350

Family Inns Airport 865-970-2006

The following hotels and motels are in Townsend, TN about 15 miles from Kamp in the Smokies

Richmont Inn    800-267-7086

Tally Ho Inn    800-448-2465

Highland Manor Inn   800-213-9462

Dancing Bear Lodge  800-369-0111

Chilhowee Inn   865-980-5623

Econo Lodge Townsend   800-369-0111

Cancellation Policy
Notification must be made by mail (not email) and received by May 21.
Send to:
Kamp Cancellation
PO Box 1020
Alcoa TN 37701.

Refunds of the balance paid, minus $75.00 is refundable prior to May 21.
Between May 21 and June 1, your balance (minus $75.00) will be credited toward the next year's Kamp series and is only available for the one following year. Kamp registrations are transferable to friends or family members only after discussing it with the Kamp Office.
After June 2, there are no refunds for any reason.

Due to the high level of preparation and fees incurred by the Kamp, after June 1 there are no cancellations accepted, transfers or refunds.
Check In and Check Out
Transportation to and from the Knoxville Airport (TYS)

Arrival Day: Check In is Sunday between 1-5 PM Eastern Standard Time. A shuttle will be provided for the 5 mile trip from the airport to the college. If you are coming in a day early and staying at an area hotel, you will need to shuttle back to the airport for pick-up. We will begin pick up shuttles from the airport a little after noon.

SHUTTLES: Please wait outside the airport on the lower level directly outside the baggage terminal. Look for the white Maryville College van. Our friendly staff will be waiting or on their way to meet you.

You will be responsible for your own lunch on Check In day. Dinner is included and will be served from 5:00—6:00 PM. There may not be another food vendor open before or after the scheduled dinner time so be prepared.

Check Out Day: The Kamp is officially over at the close of the final concert Friday evening. You are welcome to stay over that night, rest up in the morning and enjoy one last delicious breakfast meal in the cafeteria. You must turn in your room key by 10:00 AM EST on Saturday in order to get your deposit back and not be charged up to $130.00. If you leave early, you can slip the key under the dorm assistants door and we will shred your deposit check. Let us know through the week sometime if you will be leaving early.

We will arrange the returning shuttle times Saturday morning to start at 8:00 am for an 9:30 flight. If you need to leave before a 9:30 AM EST flight- Cab service arrangements to the airport should be made. You can call A Plus Taxi at 865-970-0016.  Please verify your departure needs before the last day of Kamp at the Kamp office/store so adequate shuttles may be arranged. Shuttles will run until 11 AM Saturday for Check Out.

The Check Out Time is 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time on Saturday

If you need to stay longer we can stow your gear.
Checking In and Late Arrivals
Check in takes place between 1 and 5 PM EST at Bartlett Hall on Sunday each week. Our first meal service is at 5:00 PM on check in day. In the past Ken and Virginia Miller have had their Instruments displayed in the foyer of Bartlett. Stop by and say hello. Fox Dogs will have lunch for purchase as a fundraiser.

You will first check in with Donna, Steve or another Kamp representative at the Kamp Check-In Table in the Bartlett Hall and receive your Kamp Manual, T-Shirt and finalizing any payment if there is any and arrange for your $100.00 refundable room key deposit. NO MONEY ORDERS OR CASH FOR ROOM KEY DEPOSIT. We do not mail back deposits, we shred them. We can also use your Visa or Mastercard or a check.

You then move over to the college's table for room assignments and sign up for Saturday’s shuttle if needed. You will then be directed to your dorm for your keys.

LATE CHECK IN is 7-8 PM before Sunday evening’s Orientation and Monday morning from 8-8:30 AM at the Alumni Gym before morning orientation Any Check In after orientation takes place at The Kamp Store. If for some reason you can not make it by the Sunday check in time, you will need to notify us in advance. You may be responsible for your accommodations that night.  Be sure to attend the college orientation in The Clayton Center at 8:30 AM EST Monday morning. The hotel may possibly give you shuttle service. Otherwise you will need to take a cab over to the college. The cab is approx $14.00. Have the cab drop you off at Bartlett Hall. The Alumni Gym is directly behind Bartlett.

Let us know if you will be later than the 1-5 EST standard check in time.

Sunday’s Orientation at 8:00 PM EST in The Alumni Gym is for ALL KAMPERS and KOMPANIONS. This is when you will meet the instructors, go over class schedules and times, be notified of any last minute changes and meet all of your fellow Kampers.

Monday Morning: We will meet for College Orientation and then we will go outside for the group picture. All Kampers and Kompanions should attend.
College Contact Info
If you need to send a fax - 865.981.8370
If you want to mail a letter or package to a SK Kamper:
Kaufman Acoustic Kamps
Maryville College
502 E. Lamar Alexander Pkwy
Maryville 37804
How to pick your skill level

Be very honest with yourself.

Our Kamp is more of an instrumental technique learning music camp than a strumming and back-up music camp. Our goal is to train you to play solos and melodies on your instrument, as well as back up and rhythm techniques. Keep this in mind as you choose your level. A guitarist with 30 years strumming and singing would still be considered a high beginner with no real "picking" experience.  A violinist with 20 years of classical experience may still be barely an intermediate "Fiddler". Just because you have played your instrument for many years, does not qualify your proficiency level to be an advanced level. Please be accurate for your level. Do not jump into a higher class because you want to see what is going on there. If you do this, as soon as you ask a question you may bring the class down to your level. Please be accurate. Thank you for your honesty in this placement. Register as you wish now and you may reassess your level in May. Nothing is cast in stone, you may choose to change level after your first class as well after seeing Donna for reassignment.

Beginning Class Level One (Called 101):

Guitar, Old Time Banjo, Fiddle in Week One and Guitar, Banjo, Fiddle and Mandolin in Week Two: True beginners who know nothing about the instrument. The student level ranges from never had touched an instrument before (be sure to bring one) to being able to strum a few chords but may not really know what to do with them. No music theory or music reading skills required whatsoever! You will stay with the same instructor the entire Kamp. No class rotations. You will have a blast and get yourself ready to be at least in the beginners class for the following year.

Beginners: Full Rotation

All Instruments:  Should know basic open chords, 3-6 chords at least: G, C, D, A, E and maybe F. Maybe also their minor counterparts. Should be able to strum and change chords easily and steadily. Should know 2 to 12 simple songs, playing them by using single notes. Quarter notes good for the melodies. A knowledge of reading tablature is a huge plus, but not necessary. Should be able to tune their instrument by ear or with a tuner, put on the picks if used, know which string is which (first, second, etc) and the names of the strings.

Fingerpickers and Banjo Players: Should know a couple of basic rolls, (Forward, backward, alternating thumb). Banjo—should be able to play ONE song all the way thru, preferably  Cripple Creek or Boil Them Cabbage. Fingerstyle guitarist should be comfortable with at least one fingerpicking pattern.
Dobro (TM) Players: (Ivan says....) You know most or all of the straight-bar chords and might pick a few licks out of those bar positions, but generally need help finding a melody or doing much beyond going back and forth among the straight-bar chords. You may have memorized a G major scale but still don't know what to do with it, or you may have found a few simple melodies but can't quite execute them because you still need to work a lot on picking and barring technique. You may have learned a roll, but don't know how to incorporate rolls with melodies. If you've tried playing with others in a jam, you pretty much stick to chording and wish you knew how to do more. Dobro may be your first musical instrument, and discussions of music theory may be frustrating. You'd like someone to start with music theory from the very beginning and take it slowly. 

Fiddlers: You can play 1 octave scales such as A and D. You know some songs and fiddle tunes at a slow to moderate tempo. You are concentrating primarily on playing in tune, getting good tone and controlling the bow. You may know the basic shuffle bowing (Long short short, LSS)

Mandolin and Flatpickers: Should be comfortable using the pick, basic chords, should know 2 to 12 simple instrumental songs, playing them by using single notes. Quarter notes good for the melodies. but do not have to be up to speed.

Old Time Banjo Pickers: (but not new pickers) - Have some experience with the right hand Clawhammer technique and understand that it is NOT the same as Fingerpicking. Helpful to know a few chords in G tuning.

Bass: You can play an alternating bass line (root-fifth) on easy songs using mostly open strings. You’re just starting to get a good solid bass sound. You can hold a somewhat steady rhythm while playing the bass line. You’re learning to damp the strings after hitting them.


All Instruments: All of the above plus… Should be able to comfortably play chords, some scales and be able to get a good sound from the instrument. Understand the use of a capo. Should be becoming aware of the instrument's role in a group situation and be asking questions such as: "How do I backup another musician or singer?" or "How do I play solos up the neck? " or "How can I learn to play faster?"

Dobro (TM) Players: (Ivan says....)You feel confident holding the bar, sliding, picking, and trying hammer-ons and pull-offs, even if you still make a lot of mistakes. You know a few scales, and chord changes don't come as a surprise in 3-chord bluegrass songs. If the teacher says, "the song goes to the 4 chord and then back to the 1 chord," you can follow along easily. You've tried playing in several different keys (though you're probably only comfortable in 2 or 3 of them). You know some basic melodies but want to learn strategies for finding melodies faster and making them sound more interesting with  rolls, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides. You have several songs in your repertoire, and now that you can play a bit of music, you're interested in refining technique and sounding better. A little bit of music theory applied right away seems helpful and interesting; too much music theory makes you forget everything you learned an hour ago.
Fiddle: You can play at least a single octave major scale in common keys A, D, G, C, F. Some of these scales in minor keys. You are comfortable using the full bow. You can play some double stops. You can play slurs and slides. You use drone strings. You are somewhat comfortable using your 4th finger. You have good rhythm and intonation and have played with other folks some. Play at least 10-20 instrumental tunes from memory.

Flatpickers and Mandolins: Plectrum users should be able to play some fiddle tunes using appropriate alternating strokes at a moderate tempo. Understand movable chords. Transpose chords from one key to another. Play some tunes with variations. Play at least 10-20 instrumental tunes from memory. You can recognize I, IV and V chord patterns. You know minor seventh chord and diminished chord forms. You play well with others and are used to jamming

Fingerpickers: Should be able to keep alternate bass going during a tune, should know first position chords and understand how they translate up the neck. Play at least 7-20 instrumental tunes from memory. Not just a roll style back-up for singing like Dust in the Wind etc. More like Freight Train, Alice's Restaurant, etc in Travis style or the like.

Banjo Players: Should be able to play 3-4 different rolls up to speed. Should know 1st and 2nd position chords and hopefully 3rd position chords. Should be able to interchange rolls and riffs. Should be able to play the off beat (2 and 4 beat) rhythm "Chunk" back up.  You can play several rolls, and they’re smooth and in good rhythm. You can do at least one intro lick and one ending for bluegrass songs. Play at least 10-20 instrumental tunes from memory like Cripple Creek, Salt Creek, Old Joe Clark, etc., Foggy Mt. Breakdown.

Old Time Banjo Pickers: Right hand technique in Clawhammer style should be solid. Able to change chords in G tuning and double C (or double D) tuning. Must be able to play several songs and tune in each tuning. Play at least 10-20 instrumental tunes from memory

Bass: You can play comfortably in the keys of C, G, D, A and E. You’ve played with other folks a fair amount. You can play at least three major scales. You play with good rhythm. You can do some runs between one chord and the next. You can play other bass notes than the root and the fifth (such as the third) and know where to use them. You can play other rhythmic patterns besides the standard 1st and 3rd beat.


All Instruments: Should have a large repertoire. Interested in the finer points of improvising and experiencing music as a language. Should have a basic knowledge of music theory and realize that an ever expanding knowledge of theory will open more doors to them. Should be striving for more precision and mastery of both the right hand and the fingerboard.  Should be able to learn without tablature, to improvise a little and have some understanding of playing up the neck. Should be performing in bands or solo or just on the edge of being able to do so.

Dobro (TM) Players: (Ivan says....)  You've probably taken combined intermediate/advanced classes before and felt they moved too slowly. Even if you can't quite do them up to speed, you have many songs in your repertoire, including a few fiddle tunes that require some intricate barring and picking. Hammer-ons and pull-offs aren't a problem, and you've practiced incorporating rolls into your bluegrass solos. Overall, you're starting to sound pretty good when jamming with your friends. You're comfortable playing in open and closed positions, and you're looking to play more interesting music un-capoed in the keys of C, D, Em, Am, etc. You should have several chord triads memorized. The Nashville Number System is old hat, and you can't wait to learn some more practical music theory that will make you a better musician. You'd like to know more-advanced ways of playing Dobro backup and rhythm. In short, you can already play some pretty good music and have a good grasp of what to do with the Dobro, but you want some hands-on instruction to get you to the next level.

Flatpicking: (Both Weeks) Should have a large repertoire or at least 20 tunes minimum but more like 50-500. Of that large repertoire, should be able to play the melody and a variation to all. Possibly play same song in different keys. Should have a strong understanding of chord structures and progressions, movable chords. Should be able to play most songs at speed (200-228 bpm). May be able to play out of positions up the neck.

Mandolin: Should be able to play solos on bluegrass songs. Have some knowledge of double stops. Should be able to jam comfortably with others. Some improvisation skills.

Mandolin according to Don Stiernberg: The advanced mandolin player should be careful not to be better than Don Stiernberg as that would intimidate Don and perhaps hamper his performance with Steve Kaufman which he looks forward to with great relish.

Fiddle: You learn new tunes quickly (by sight reading or by ear). You are comfortable with 3rd position, and may also play in 2nd, 4th and 5th positions. You can back up others in a jam using double stops and chops. You can improvise some leads. You play well with others and are used to jamming at a pretty fast tempo. You play (or can play) double shuffle bowing and Georgia shuffle bowing. You can play a variety of stylistic ornaments like trills, rolls, slides, and drones with 4th finger slide. You are comfortable playing in most keys. You’re an experienced jammer or performer. You can play well at a fast tempo

Fingerstyle: Always keep alternate bass, even with hammers and pulls both on and off the beat, play (and maybe understand) chords up the neck, be familiar with two or more styles (e.g., jazz and country, or folk and blues), should have some ability to improvise while playing solo. You can work out fingerpicking arrangements including bass lines and treble harmonies.

Old Time and Bluegrass Banjo: You are an experienced jammer or performer. You play melodic leads comfortably and at a variety of speeds. You can play with dynamic control. Your rhythm is rock-solid. You can improvise on most any tune or song.

Bass: Your rhythm is rock-solid. You’re an experienced jammer or performer. You understand the theory of the chords you’re backing up. You’re comfortable with many different styles of playing. You can play a walking bass in all keys using closed-position notes.
All Instruments: Should be extremely comfortable with their instrument. Should be able to improvise somewhat melodically in most keys without the sole use of pentatonic or blues scales. Be a theme or melody player with continuity. Should have comprehensive ideas on how music fits together. Should play with compassion and feeling for those around them trying to keep up. Should be able to play what you are thinking, not thinking about what you wish you could play.
Instrument Give-Aways

In the past, we had given away instruments as door prizes. Collings Guitars, Weber Mandolins, Deering Banjos, Kala Ukuleles, Fishman Transducers all were big sponsors that donated prizes. Some of these companies have felt the crunch of the times and cannot donate big prize instruments.

What we are doing now is taking the instruments donated and use them for the Harry Moore Kamp Scholarship Program as our main source fund raising through raffle tickets.
Need not be present to win.

Kamp Evaluation

Acoustic Kamp Evaluation Form

We value your ideas, concerns and opinions and shape our Kamp accordingly. Let us know your thoughts. Please take the time to help us make this the Best Camp in the World!

If you would prefer to print out a hard copy an mail it to us, you can do that by clicking this link:

Kamp Evaluation Kamp Evaluation (19 KB)

Mail to: Steve Kaufman
PO Box 1020
Alcoa, TN 37701
or fax to 865-982-3808

Our system like Chrome browser the best. In case you use something else and the evaluation does not go through, download the 2019 PDF Evaluation and email or mail to us.
You can also take a phono photo and email it to us. Thanks for being with us at Kamp and we hope to see you next year. 

* Required




Old Time Banjo
Dobro ™
Celtic Harp
Mountain Dulcimer
Bluegrass Banjo
Kid's Kamp






Next Year
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Three Years



Kamp Scholarships

Kamp Scholarships 

Harry Moore Kamp Scholarship

***** NOTE: Please distribute this information to anyone that you know who wants to study for a week with some of the greatest musicians and teachers in the universe. *****

This June will be the 25th year for the Steve Kaufman Acoustic Kamp in Maryville, TN. Steve Kaufman has put together the strongest team of Guitar, Bass, Old Time and Bluegrass Fiddle, Dobro ™, Old Time and Bluegrass Banjo, Songwriting and Vocals, Irish Fiddle, Celtic Guitar, Swing Guitar Rhythm, Hammered and Mountain Dulcimer and Mandolin instructors the world has to offer.

This year, the Kamp sessions are: June 14-20 - Old Time and Traditional Week, June 21-27 – Bluegrass Week.

Kamp scholarships are available based on several factors. Need and age being just two. This scholarship will pay for tuition to allow a needy aspiring musician to attend the Steve Kaufman Acoustic Kamp in Maryville, TN. The scholarship can be used to provide tuition for any session of the kamp. The recipient of the scholarship will be responsible for his or her travel expenses to and from Maryville, Tennessee.

Applicants must be 18 or older, or be accompanied at camp by a responsible adult at least 21 years of age or older.

(Note: Accompanying adult can be a Kamp Kompanion if not registered as a camper See

For more information about the scholarships, go to

Apply early and good luck.

These are the current timelines:

March 1: Applications postmarked

April 1: Scholarships awarded.

Scholarship funds are generated through donations, raffles, and other fund-raising activities and an annual raffle of a world class musical instrument.

Download the application HERE

Kamp Scholarship Application Kamp Scholarship Application (186 KB)

If emailed, send to

If submitted by regular mail, send your application and recommendations to:

Harry Moore Scholarship Fund

c/o Steve Kaufman
PO Box 1020
Alcoa TN 37701

The recommendations may be submitted along with the application, or under separate cover.

Recommenders may be contacted by the panel with additional questions.

Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamp is held each year in June in Maryville, TN

Call 865-982-3808 for more information on the Kamp or email

Harry Moore has been heading up the Kamp Scholarship Fund since 2001. Thank you to Harry for his tireless efforts to make sure folks who otherwise could not attend Kamp, attend Kamp. Harry has now stepped down from the coordinating position and now enjoys knowing his work is carrying on. Donna and Steve head up the Scholarship but make no decisions to the lucky recipients. That is all done by a secret board of Kamp representatives.
Submit your application early and good luck.

Kamp Testimonials

Past Kamper Cards and Letters

You and Donna did a wonderful job; all of the time you spent in preparation provided, for all your Kampers, a nurturing environment.

I am the envy of all of my adult peers, who say, in a nutshell: "You got to go to grown-up Kamp and do music, too; wow!"

Ditto their sentiments.

Hats off from here for a job well done.

Jim Richards


Here is another suggestion.... Nancy and I brought in our camp chairs the last concert and were a lot more comfortable than sitting on the logs the school provided. We had difficulty finding room where we weren't in soneone's way. Consider leaving a section bare of the logs so that personal chairs can be set up for the week.
Nancy and I decided that the Kamp was the most fun we have had for a week's time in our entire life. The staff and more importantly the Kampers were the most cheerful, helpful and all-around wonderful people. We will see you in 50 long weeks.
Mark & Nancy

------SK- I think you got something there guys. See you next June!

Dear Steve and Donna,

Thank you so much for your hands-on management of the greatest music event we’ve ever been a part of. My first year and Gray’s second are sure to be followed by many more returns filled with meeting new friends, renewing old relationships, experiencing excellent training, and enjoying fantastic nightly concerts. The instructors were knowledgeable and very patient with those having close to no music background (like myself) and left us with the desire to improve and expand our abilities.

I was surprised and excited beyond understanding to win the Ken Miller guitar! Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think I would be learning a new (and challenging) instrument after just a year with a dulcimer. But determined I am to play it and I have plenty of friends that are encouraging and helpful. I will say that I received more than my share of genuine congratulations from many who would have loved to have taken it home themselves. That really showed depth of character!

It’s easy to see your love of music and desire for all to be happy, satisfied, and challenged to improve. Thank you for all that you do to give us fantastic music memories. We look forward to Kamp 2013!

Gray and Linda


Hi Donna & Steve,
Thank you for my first Kaufman Kamp experience. I've attended other camps and this was one of the best.
I was a bit concerned about having a different instructor for each class but it wasn't an issue. Amazing how much information you can get from a truly knowledgeable instructor in less than 2 hours!

I know organizing the camp is a tremendous amount of work for you, but believe me, it was worth it.

Thanks again for all the work you put into organizing the camp to make it one of the best.

Jo Mc.
Naperville, IL

You and Donna did a wonderful job; all of the time you spent in preparation provided, for all your Kampers, a nurturing environment.
I am the envy of all of my adult peers, who say, in a nutshell: "You got to go to grown-up Kamp and do music, too; wow!" Ditto their sentiments.
Hats off from here for a job well done.
Jim R.


Just got back from Tennessee after the first year of Kamp for my wife and myself. The Kamp was way better than I expected and I started with pretty high expectations. Next step is to try to sort out and understand how to apply class material. There is enough direction there to keep me moving ahead for the next five years.

I knew it was going to be good when Roland White offered me a ride to breakfast Tuesday morning, the Kentucky Colonels being personal heroes. Every instructor brought something extra to think about and it seems like every
important theory question was answered. Personal highlights included getting runner up in the band scramble as part of Emma and the Murahville(sp?) Mayhem. Our bribery of judges, underhanded chicanery and shameless pandering
were almost but not quite sufficient, still second place felt good. My first ever White Castle sliders fully met expectations for them such as they were. Met a lot of nice people from all over the U.S. and world even as far
away as Western Australia.

Hope to be back next year, as one of my friends says, the good Lord willin' and the
creek don't rise.

Carl M


Here's a nice note from a 2011 First Time Kamper:

Impressions of a first time Kamper

First of all, I frequently attend music camps as an instructor in dulcimer, beginning guitar, mandolin, performing skills, etc or as an emcee. I've only attended a couple of camps as a student,but the Kaufman Kamp trumps all of them in several areas.

First, Maryville College is extremely friendly and accommodating. As a a life-long educator, I am VERY familiar with cafeteria food, and the Kamp food is quite good, unlike many institutional cafeterias.

Second, regardless of your level, the instructors are supportive and each of them has a unique approach to music. One size does not fit all, and the rotation system allows students to have more than one way of learning presented to them. The advanced flatpicking course that I took was not just "more tab and more tunes" but, techniques, philosophy, theory (Why is it called should be renamed "Practical" since it gives you tools to understand what you are doing and what you want to do) .

Third, the nightly concerts are excellent.

Fourth, the level of organization of the overall festival is extremely good. Tight, but not constraining. The elective activities are varied and excellent.

Fifth, it's eminently affordable. Cheaper than a week at a resort, plus your food, concerts and top-notch teaching included Plus, you get to play with and jam with lots of folks and meet friendly people from all over. (Where else you you have a chance to play bluegrass with guys from Israel and Italy?) Not to mention the huge number of outstanding guitars...Since I know I can't afford any of them, GAS (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome) did not affect me too much....although dreams of a Ken Miller (guitar) keep recurring.

Recommended to all!

The following are from the graduating class of 2010:

This was truly the BEST kamp ever as far as instruction was concerned. All of the instructors did a great job in the advanced flatpicking classes and without a doubt, this is going to help take me to the next level.
Thanks Steve and Donna! You all are really getting this Kamp thing down :)

The Winlock Guitarist,
Marv Sobolesky

Subject: Comparing Augusta Bluegrass Week (ABW) with Steve Kaufman Acoustic Kamp (SKAK).

Full disclosure: I have attended both ABW and SKAK. A bunch of years for both. I last attended ABW in 2008, SKAK in 2010. Note that since I haven't been to ABW in 2 years, some things might have changed. Due to time and money considerations I now only attend SKAK since, in my humble opinion, SKAK is the best. If you are considering going to either of these camps, you might be interested in the following comparison.

Instruction: SKAK, excellent instructors. A variety of genres. ABW, mostly excellent instructors. All bluegrass. I have had a couple of duds at ABW. The BIG difference is that at ABW, you spend the entire week with one teacher and at SKAK you get a couple of hours each with several teachers. And SKAK has excellent "master classes".

Class rooms: SKAK, all are air conditioned (some better than others). One requires climbing long stairs. ABW, most are air conditioned. All are either ground floor or have elevator access. Some require a moderate walk.

Cost: similar. SKAK, on and off campus prices includes food. ABW, on campus price includes food. Off campus does not - you have to buy a meal ticket.

Lodging: SKAK has a variety of dorms, all are air conditioned. Some are designated as "quiet". Some are older, some are new. All are fine.
ABW has all older dorms, only one has air conditioning (International dorm) and you have to climb 100 stairs to get to it. You can optionally book a room in their on campus Conference Center which is essentially a very nice motel. Of course that will increase the cost quite a bit.

Food: Both have cafeterias. SKAK wins hands down. Much better selection.

Concerts: SKAK, excellent one every night. Half hour of open stage prior to concert. Multiple genres. ABW, two concerts. One bluegrass concert on Thursday, a concert on Tuesday with performers from Family Week.

Instrument giveaways and raffles: ABW, none. SKAK, lots!

Campus: SKAK, everything fairly close together, land is flat. ABW, spread out and hilly.

Luthiers: SKAK, two skilled luthiers. ABW, Bob Smakula shows up on Tuesday to put railroad spikes on banjos.

Jamming: SKAK, nightly jamming in dorms and outside. Organized multi-level jams during the day. ABW, jamming mostly on the big porch. Fair amount of private jamming in dorms. Organized slow jam. Some go into Elkins for "picking in the park" on Wednesday evening to jam with locals.

Instructor interaction with students: SKAK, lots of interaction. Instructors often sitting with students at lunch and participating in nightly jams. ABW, not much. In the cafeteria, the instructors tend to sit together at the far end. The only instructor that routinely ate with students when I attended last was Roland White.

Night life: SKAK, open stage at Isaacs hamburger joint. Very late dorm jamming. ABW, the very interesting and hard to describe Ice House bar.

Store: SKAK, easy to get to, excellent inventory. ABW, fair inventory. In 2008, hard to find as it was far away from everything.

In conclusion, I hope I've covered the differences well. My lousy memory might have failed me here and there. If you spot errors, feel free to chime in.


What? There's another level above advanced? I guess you're talking about the "Another Planet" level. The Steve Kaufman, Mark Cosgrove, Tyler Grant, Tim May, Pat Flynn, Mitch Corbin, Beppe Gambetta, Carlo Aonzo (plays a rippin' guitar), Kathy Barwick, Chris Jones, Bryan McDowell, Alan Shadd, Richard Starkey and all. How about that Bryan McDowell, anyways. Another planet fur sure. He played a set at Kamp with Steve Kaufman and Alan Shadd
and he was sensational.
Sunday morning, rested, picking the Beppe finger gymnastics from his class.
But don't tell Beppe, I have the TV on.

Anita Practice
Royal Oak, Michigan
I was very impressed my first year at Kamp.

Steve, Donna and the rest of the crew run a tight ship. The week's time is used efficiently and all of the activities VERY well organized, allowing the Kampers and staff to make the most of the educational experience while still having a great time. It was great to meet some of you listers (flatpick-l internet list) in person. I got to pick with some of you and would like to pick some more next time. Thanks to all of the students for being so attentive and showing their support at the concerts. I got to sit down with Steve for a tune a few times during the week and that was a real treat. Donna and Steve are a great team. They get all the business done while being exceptionally fun kamp directors. Okay, more details when I get home next week and I'm off this silly iPhone.

Tyler Grant


I'm back from a camp too but it was the Mandolin Symposium here in Northern CA. It was alright......Next time though I'm going to Kamp!

From: Guy Hill
Subject: More pix from Kamp
You'll find my photos on SK's forum. Here's a link...

Hi honey, I'm home! Craig Rothfolk, Dave VanDeusen and I got home mid-afternoon yesterday. About 1000 miles with the old Ford 500 getting 28 mpg average with three of us and all our luggage. Great Kamp, wonderful Kamp concerts, sensational Kamp classes, and, the best of all, super Kampers! It was such fun to see, talk and pick with all of you. My only regret - - I still didn't get to meet Marv.
Next year! I'm beginning a two-week Kamp campaign. We'll see if Ann buys it.

Tony Anthonisen
Richfield, Minnesota

From: Mark Kilinski
Subject: Re: DU Raffle results?

Yes, my wife has been gloating about it for the last couple of days 'cause I've been talking about getting a Braz/Ad guitar for the past few years and now SHE has one. Oh, well - at least she lets me play it. BTW, it is definitely a gorgeous guitar made using superior materials and craftsmanship. I haven't really had a chance to wring it out yet but I'll
get to it soon. It makes me wonder why I haven't seen Seth Naugler's name and work more often. He's definitely a fine builder and generous person to boot!!!

Mark Kilinski
The husband of the DU Scholarship Drawing for the Naugler Guitar
Coconut Creek, FL

From: Allen Shadd
Subject: Re: Kamp 2010 Highlight:

As usual, Steve and Donna, along with countless individuals behind the scenes each day, did a wonderful job at kamp. I have been to about half of the kamps over the years, some for the entire week but most for a couple of days to a few days at most. Kamp was certainly bittersweet to me. It is always great to see the friends, too many to list (yes, I have friends, lol), and I always meet a few each year I go that stand out.
This year the stand outs would have to be Shane, the young fella that Mario and Jenny brought with them, and Andrew Collins, and getting to meet Kathy Barwick briefly and talk plumbing was waaay cool, lol. It's
hard not to feel good when you see the level of energy and enthusiasm some folks carry with them. Also a reason I enjoyed attending kamp with Bryan McD this year, he complained both evenings we were there because the jamming didn't go past daylight, lol. I did enjoy a couple of good jams, but it did seem to be off a little compared to years past. Sharing the stage with Steve Kaufman is always an experience I enjoy, and the green room banter this year was especially cool watching Bryan light up because Roland White was sitting there joining the conversation. Seeing long time friends like Mark Cosgrove and Mitch Corbin among many others,
It was a good kamp, and I brought home a few memories to smile over.

Allen (Pistolero)

From: Mike Lambert
Subject: Kamp - from a local

To everyone who has never been to Kaufman's camp, you don't know what your missing. To everyone who has been I want to say thanks for great memories, great friends, new and old, and thanks for letting an old man set in on some great music. To Steve Kaufman, what a huge undertaking, I seriously doubt that anyone can ever express gratitude enough to you and Donna. To Kathy Barwick, I still think that was "Whiskey before Breakfast" after 3 to many "sliders". Please send me the name of that tune so this local won't be embarrassed next time I see you folks. Jerry, I didn't realize you were such a great singer! Safe pickin everyone, hope to see you all next year or sooner!
Mike Lambert

This subject on the internet board was:
What Will You Get Out Of Kamp?

From: Charlie Jones
Subject: Re: What do you get out of Kamp?

The year I went my intermediate group was pretty well matched skill wise. The instructors usually have a set of lesson plans they want to get through during the week. If someone is slowing down the group the instructor will usually keep things moving.

There's a ton to learn. Almost too much. My advice to first timers is to absorb as much as possible, review the material when you get home and then create a 3, 6 or 12 month study plan based on what was covered and what you want to learn. Yes there is that much material.

They also had master classes you could sign up for. You basically sit-down with the instructor and play them a tune. They'll assess you and offer suggestions to improve your playing. I found this very helpful.

People go to kamp for any number of reasons. All I can say is you getout of it what you put into it. There is certainly enough stuff to learn.

From: Chris Thiessen
Subject: Re: What do you get out of Kamp?

Ken Brown asked about the value of Kamp.

Ken, I've only been to Kamp five times, so there are more seasoned vets on the list who may provide other opinions. But here's mine.

I've played guitar for 40 years, but only seriously picked up mando in the last four. I attended Kamp last year for the first time as a beginning mandolinist, because I wanted to focus on acquiring good mando habits and not simply transfer over bad guitar habits.

So first, Kamp allows you to set your own level of expertise and puts you in a small group (10-15) that you stay with the entire week. Every morning and every afternoon you have a different instructor, who has prepared a lesson sequence for your chosen level of expertise. Sharon Gilchrist was one of my instructors last year, and she did a great job of not presuming anything. I would have to say that of most of the instructors (both in guitar and mando, since I've experienced both at different levels).

And if you find yourself incorrectly placed as to expertise level, you can shift to a higher or lower level class in the first day or so. Steve and Donna are flexible, so you're not "stuck."

Apart from the classes, you have endless opportunities to jam at almost any hour of the day or night. You can practice off by yourself (one of my favorite early evening activities during which I try to absorb what I've learned that day), attend superb concerts every evening, and listen to or participate in open mic nights at the on-campus coffee house. Another of my favorite things is the afternoon Master classes, where you sign up to sit down one-on-one with an instructor who listens to you play something and then provides a critique designed to help you focus on getting better. This year I'm looking forward to sitting down with Kenny Smith (yes, you can sign up for Master classes for any instrument)!

Cool giveaways at the concerts (you have the chance to walk away with a very expensive instrument!), great music stores within driving distances, warm weather, and a walkable campus. Life's good at Kamp.

Apart from the music, you absolutely have the chance to catch up with folks. Many of us on Comando and Flatpick talk routinely with each other, but only see each other at Kamp. It's like a family gathering, except that you choose to be with these folks.

I drive for two days from Iowa to Tennessee to get to Kamp, and it's worth every minute on the road. Kamp is probably the most learning-friendly, least judgmental, best picking for the money opportunity I've experienced.

From: Rusty Smith <>
Subject: Re: What do you get out of Kamp?

On Fri, May 27, 2011 at 11:05 AM, Ken Brown <> wrote:

See my answers below. I went in 98,99,00,01, and 02. Things are somewhat different now because of the size and variety offered, but basically it's the same Kamp. The environment is as supportive as you can find anywhere. It can be a little overwhelming because of the size but all you have to do is say 'howdy' and before you know it you will have lots of new friends.

> Anyway, my question is: what do you all get out of Kamp?
It's a little like asking a kid what he got out of Disneyland. The list is pretty long.

>Are the workshop productive?
Every teacher has something you can walk away with and work on for the next year. Steve screens them and their material very carefully.

>Do people pick their skill levels properly, or do you have many people in there who are just in the wrong level?
Mostly yes but sometimes no. Most instructors can handle a wide variety of skills in a class. I doubt you would experience anything as extreme as you described in your workshop experience.

>Do you come away with new techniques to work when you get home, or are you just happy to be in the presence of a well known player/instructor?
I always had enough material to work on for the next year or more. Being in the presence of guitar heros and luminaries is an added bonus.

>Do you just go to renew old friendships?
That's an added bonus but not the main reason to go. Also you get to meet new best friends if you go again. It's also fun to share some memorable events from past kamps with those who were there. They are sort of like fish stories that keep growing. Ask someone about the squirrel that fell out of the tree and see how many version of the story you can get. <G>

>Or do you go just to get away from the spouse for a week or so?
I didn't go to get away but did leave the spouse at home. That way it's easier to get immersed 24 hours a day in picking. You can sleep when you get home.

> I know Kamp is a good deal (money-wise), but with airfare from California, Kamp fees, money spent on incidentals, (not to mention using a week's vacation time) it's still a lot of money. =A0And I just don't have a good idea as to what I would be getting for my money.
If you can afford it you won't regret it and each year the value grows because you've experienced how to get the most out of it. If you are sacrificing family vacation bucks that would cause others to have less of a vacation then wait until the money isn't an issue.
That's my nickels worth.

I meant to jump in here sooner, but it was a VERY busy week...Just wanted to say how special Kamp has been for me over the years. A lot of that has to do with how special Steve and Donna are as people. Their dedication, openness to new ideas, and work ethic are responsible for the (relatively) small event that Kamp originally was, and for the amazing refinements and developments that made Kamp what it is today.

We all hear about "captains of industry", and, all too often, they create a big business by dint of less than admirable actions. Then you have Steve and Donna, who have created an amazing community which benefits everyone who comes into contact with it: Pro musicians get a great gig, and they're treated, as Steve might say, the way HE would like to be treated as a pro. (Along those lines, I'd like to thank Steve publicly for deciding to hire me in the first place, after I'd wheedled my way into the Kamp experience.)

Students become part of a great community of friends and get to hang with pro musicians they admire. They can get one-on-one time by virtue of the master classes. The jams, ranging from two people sitting around in the most relaxed manner, playing a couple tunes, to small combos and on to large slow jams and such, can fulfill every jamming need for students at every level, and at any hour of the day. Many instructors come out in the evening to jam with the students, as well. And students go home with a thick book of instructional materials to work on for the year to come, as well as having the chance to make audio recordings of the classes they attend. In addition, they have the opportunity to have their instruments repaired a/or set up by some of the best luthiers in the business...over the years, that list has included Bryan Kimsey, Lynn Dudenbostel, Marty Lanham, Ken Miller, Jim Grainger, Rich Starkey...(more than once, I've lugged along an extra guitar or two just to have these great guys work on 'em w/o shipping costs...)

The economy benefits as well, as Steve and Donna put out a lot of money on advertising and promotion, helping support publications that we all value, like Flatpicking Guitar Magazine. The luthiers get to display their wonderful work, and often take orders for new instruments to be built. Local Maryville businesses, the college included, get increased business during the two weeks of Kamp.

Everyone on Flatpick-L benefits, because they get a certain amount of interesting discussion that was generated at and about Kamp, not to mention dozens of Youtube videos of Kamp concerts.

And, of course, Steve and Donna benefit, as they rightly should, being the hardest working folks in the flatpicking world...but it's notable how unselfish they are about spreading the prosperity around.

I'll miss Kamp this year (just the third time since '98), as Steve rotates different teachers in and out to give students the best and most varied experience, but, as they say in the baseball world, "there's always next year".

So, what could I say to answer Ken's question that hasn't already been said? How about this: In 2009, I turned 60. My wife, Janice, was trying to think of what she could get for the "guy who has everything he wants". I was scheduled to teach at Week One that year, and Jan's perfect gift for me (and it WAS perfect!!) was simple; knowing how much I love my time in Maryville, she arranged an "all-expenses paid vacation in lovely Maryville TN" for Week Two. Yes, after spending a full week of non-stop guitar picking, teaching, and hanging out, she knew the thing I'd value most was ANOTHER full week with just the picking and hanging out part!!
It was the best present ever!
I rest my case.

Rolly Brown
Sellersville PA


Local Music Stores


Sponsor Stores


Woods-N-Strings Dulcimer Shop

Woods-N-Strings Dulcimer Shop
7327 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway Townsend, TN


Local Music Stores

Ciderville Music Store

Ciderville Music Store
2836 Clinton Highway
Powell, Tennessee 37849

Foothills Music Shop

Foothills Music Shop
1920 E. Lamar Alexander Pkwy
Maryville, TN 37801

Gianna Violins

Gianna Violins
10091 Unitia Rd.
Friendsville, TN

Guitar Center

Guitar Center
8917 Towne & Country  Cir.
Knoxville, TN

Lunsford's Musical Instruments

Lunsford's Musical Instruments
3606 Western Ave
Knoxville, TN 37921

Mountain Top Guitar Shop

Mountain Top Guitar Shop
500 Maryville Hwy
Seymour, TN 37865

Murlin's Music World

Murlin's Music World
429 W. Broadway
Maryville, TN 37801

Music Room Guitars & Records

Music Room Guitars & Records
5103 Kingston Pke
Knoxville, TN  37919

Riks Music & Sound Inc

Riks Music & Sound Inc
8426 Kingston Pke
Knoxville, TN 37919

The Guitar Hut

The Guitar Hut
4702 Rutledge Pike
Knoxville, TN 37914

Wilhite Strings

Wilhite Strings
2105 Keller Bend Rd
Knoxville, TN
(865) 670-1888

Wilhite Strings is the only store we've found who rents upright bass instruments.

Woods-N-Strings Dulcimer Shop

Woods-N-Strings Dulcimer Shop
7327 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway Townsend, TN

Yates Musical Instruments & Supplies

Yates Musical Instruments & Supplies
220 W. Dumplin Valley Rd.
Kodak, TN 37764



Misc Info
Room Key Deposit: The Kamp requires a $100 REFUNDABLE room key deposit upon check in. This is to be in the form of check or Credit Card.
No Cash or Money Orders. We do not mail back checks. We shred them.

The Kamp Group Picture: 
The picture will be taken the first instructional day of each week. The photo will be available on line usually before the end of the week in Kamp section of Look for the Kamp Year and follow the links. We have Kamp Folios for sale to keep your treasured photographic memento safe and you can also have your teachers and friends sign it. Get your folio in the Kamp’s General Store!

For the Kompanions: There will be a lemonade social for the Kompanions on Monday morning, the first day of official classes, at 10:30 hosted by Donna Dixon (The Boss). Their social activities in the area and special needs will be addressed. Trips may be planned and activity suggestions given. We also have Lap Dulcimer, vocal lessons and many classes available for the Kompanions if they wish to participate. Mike Clemmer, local Dulcimer builder, will be on hand for the Kompanions to learn the Lap Dulcimer. Preparations will begin for the Kamp Kompanion Chorus. All Kompanions attend.

Off Kampus Rates:

There is a discounted rate for those wanting to stay off Campus.  You will be 100% responsible for your accommodations and transportation. The Off-Campus Fee for the Kamp is $800.00 for the Student and $475.00 (Check registration for accurate pricing) for the Kompanions. Meals, classes and concert passes will still be included.

Please Read: We turn in all Kamper info to the college the first of June. Room assignments are NOT on a first come basis. At the beginning of June we make up your packets, badges, Kompanion packets if any, and have your Kamp Manual books ordered. Any change after June 1 to your name, email address, room mate request, main instrument, class level will result in a $15.00 administration fee added to your balance due at check in.
Be sure to check and verify your information in the Kamp registration confirmation letter we send you after registering for Kamp.
New for This Year's Kamp

There are some incredible additions to the upcoming Acoustic Kamp. The changes and additions are directly taken from the past Kamper's evaluations. 

During Old Time and Traditional Week
Irish Fiddle - This class will be for the intermediate and advanced fiddlers interested in Irish Fiddle. Liz Carroll will be the single instructor of this class. We are excited she will be with us as you will be to be learning from her. Limited to 18 Students

Celtic Guitar - This class is for the intermediate and advanced guitarist. This will be a plectrum class so skills and use of a flatpick will be needed. This class will look at backup techniques and soloing techniques. Limited to 18 Students.

We will again have our Kamp Kontra Dance on Wednesday in the Alumni Gym.

During Bluegrass Week
This week is a mix of Bluegrass and Swing as many of the teachers are into swing and jazz. Though Bluegrass is the core, many types of music are played.
This is why the addition of Western Swing and Swing Rhythm Guitar is a perfect fit to the second week of Kamp. A Second Instructor may be added if the class size becomes too large.

Proud Sponsors of Acoustic Kamp
Songs to work on for Kamp
Please don't misinterpret this list to mean you should know all these songs before Kamp time.
  • Beginners at Kamp (depending on the instrument) know a few chords and maybe a tune or two up to 8-10 tunes
  • Intermediates know their basic chords and a few more and maybe 10-25 tunes
  • Advanced students know more than this but this is a list of some of the most common jamming tunes at Kamp.

We'll have a trained professional Kamp Staffer leading our morning Slow Jams (8:30-9:30am), our mid-day Fiddle Tune Jam (12:30-1:30:PM) and the 4:15-5:00PM medium jam and the evening Beginner's Jams (10:30-11:30PM).

Click below for lists of songs possibly used. Print them out and bring them to Kamp for suggested songs.:

Fiddle Tune List
Vocal Tune List
1-4-5 Progression List
This list is from Steve's 4 Hour Bluegrass Work-Out written for Guitar, Mandolin and Fiddle in one set.
Four CDs plus chords, music, and tab for guitar and mandolin
Also available - Steve's 4 Hour Banjo Work-Out with the same great songs written in Banjo Tab
Both the Banjo Work-Out and the Bluegrass Work-Out can be found at
What a great way to improve your picking, build up speed and stamina, and get those licks and solos working so you can really jam! On these four CDs, Steve plays 49 classic bluegrass tunes slowly three times and then up-to-speed three times. With the stereo balance control, you can turn off the lead and play along with the rhythm track to get your soloing together. The solos lead part is on the other channel, so you can practice your back-up parts and learn the tune.

  • Each Measure represents 4 Beats.
  • Bass hits on the 1 and 3 beats
  • Mandolin and Fiddle chop on the 2 and 4 beats
  • Guitar hits Bass-Strum-Bass-Strum

Alabama Jubilee

Key of C

Arkansas Traveler

Key of D

Played with Capo on 2nd Fret, C position, Key of D

Beaumont Rag

Key of D

Played with Capo on 2nd Fret, C position, Key of D

Big Sandy River

Key of A

Played with Capo on 2nd Fret, G position, Key of A

Bill Cheatham

Key of A           

Played with Capo on 2nd Fret, G position, Key of A

Billy In The Low Ground

Key of C
C/C/Am/Am/C/C/Am/GC   (REPEAT)

Black Mountain Rag

Key of A    A/A/A/EA/A/A/A/EA/   (REPEAT)

Played with Capo 2nd Fret, G position, Key of A

Blackberry Blossom

Key of G
Em/ Em/ Em/ B7/ Em/ Em/ CG/DG/ (REPEAT)

Blackberry Rag

Key of C

Cherokee Shuffle

Key of D

Cricket On The Hearth

Key of D

Played with Capo on 2nd Fret, C position, Key of D

Cripple Creek

Key of A



Played with Capo 2nd Fret, G position Key of A



Cuckoo's Nest

Key of D

Devil's Dream

Key of A

Dixie Hoedown

Key of G
G/Bm/Am/G/D/D/D/G/  (REPEAT)

Down Yonder

Key of G

Drowsy Maggie

Key of Em

Fire On The Mountain

Key of A

Played with Capo 2nd Fret, G position, Key of A

Fisher's Hornpipe

Key of D

Flop-Eared Mule

Key of G

Flowers Of Edinburgh

Key of G

Forked Deer

Key of D

Played with Capo on 2nd Fret, C position, Key of D

Golden Slippers

Key of A


Played with Capo 2nd Fret, G position Key of A

Hell Amongst The Yearlings

Key of D

June Apple

Key of A

Katie Hill

Key of G

Kitchen Girl

Key of A
Am/Am/Am/E/Am/Am/AmE/Am/  (REPEAT)


Key of D

Played with Capo 2nd Fret, C position, Key of D

Lost Indian

Key of D

Played with Capo 2nd Fret, C position, Key of D

Miller's Reel

Key of A

Mississippi Sawyer

Key of D

Played with Capo 2nd Fret, C position, Key of D

Over The Waterfall

Key of D

Ragtime Annie

Key of D

Played with Capo 2nd Fret, C position, Key of D

Red Wing

Key of C

Red-Haired Boy

Key of A

Played with Capo 2nd Fret, G position, Key of A

Rickett's Hornpipe

Key of D

Sail Away Ladies

Key of G
G/Em/C/G/G/Em/D/G/  (REPEAT)
G/Am/D/G/G/Am/D/G/  (REPEAT)

Salt Creek

Key of A

Played with Capo 2nd Fret, G position, Key of A

Soldier's Joy

Key of D

Played with Capo 2nd Fret, C position, Key of D

St. Anne's Reel

Key of D

Played with Capo 2nd Fret, C position, Key of D

Staten Island Hornpipe

Key of D

Stony Creek

Key of A

Stony Point

Key of G
Em/Em/Em/DG/Em/Em/CG/DG/  (REPEAT)

Temperance Reel

Key of G
G/G/Em/Em/G/G/Em/DG/  (REPEAT)
Em/Em/D/D/Em/Em/Em/DG/ (REPEAT)

Texas Gales

Key of C

The Eighth Of January

Key of D

The Girl I Left Behind Me

Key of G

The Gold Rush

Key of A

Played with Capo 2nd Fret, G position, Key of A

Turkey In The Straw

Key of G

Whiskey Before Breakfast

Key of D

Played with Capo 2nd Fret, C position, Key of D

The Age of our Kampers
We are often asked what the age group or average age of our students are. We usually tell them to walk into a grocery store at a busy time and look around. They will see mostly people in the 35-55 group. Then they will see 15-34 year olds and then the 56 and over group.

This is how our Kamp student base is as well. We will have some minors but mostly 18 and older. Children under 18 require a guardian as a room mate on campus. The guardian must be 21 year old or older. Fill out a minor release form and bring with you to Kamp or fax it to us at 865-982-3808..

Click here to download our minor release form. In 2005 we had more minors arrive to Kamp ranging from the age of 9 to 17. It was great to see. More kids perpetuates our music. Thank you for supporting them.
The Fees

The Student cost for each Kamp is $1012.75. This fee includes all classes, concerts, workshops, lifetime friendships, meals and Maryville College dorm style housing for Six Nights and Seven Days.

All Dorm rooms are based on Double Occupancy.

Off campus rates are available but we strongly suggest you stay on campus for the full feel and effect of the Kamps. There is a $82.31 deduction for staying off campus.

Spouses and friends accompanying students are called Kompanions and their rate is less though they cannot attend any of the Main Classes or Master Classes. They can however enjoy all meals, bed, concerts, jam sessions, some afternoon events and the tours that Mountain Challenge offers.

Master Class - This is a class that you sign up for at Kamp, not separated by level or instrument, with one of the Master Instructors. Maximum of eight students per Master Class. You don't have to be a master on your instrument to take part in the Master Class.

A Breakdown of All Rates

On Campus Kamper Rate - $1012.75
Off Campus Kamper Rate - $930.44

On Kompanion Campus - $568.26
Off Kompanion Campus - $493.26

Saturday Stay for Two Week Kampers and Kompanions - $95.00 
Includes Saturday Lunch, Dinner and Sunday Breakfast
Bed and the Same Room Both Weeks
Linen Package - $22.95
College Sheets, Blanket, Pillow, Washcloth and Towel. We suggest you bring a real towel.

All Fees and Tax Included.

Old Time and Traditional Week - June 13-19, 2021

Fingerpicking - 3 Instructors
Flatpicking - 3 Instructors
Celtic Guitar - 1 Instructor
Irish Fiddle - 1 Instructor

Old Time Traditional Rhythm Guitar - 1 Instructor until class size reached 18, then a 2nd is added.
Old Time Fiddle - 2 Instructors. A 3rd may be added.
Old Time Mandolin - 1 Instructor
Old Time Banjo - 1 Instructor
Old Time Mountain Singing and Harmony - 1 Instructor
Mountain Dulcimer - 1 Instructor
Hammered Dulcimer - 1 Instructor

Bluegrass Week - June 20-26, 2021

Flatpicking - 6 Instructors
Swing and Western Swing Rhythm Guitar - 1 Instructor  
Dobro ™ - 2 Instructors. A 3rd may be added.
Bluegrass Banjo - 4 Instructors
Bluegrass Vocals - 2 Instructors
Ukulele - 2 Instructors.
     Tony A. will take the Beginners and Ultra Beginners and
     Lil Rev will take the intermediates and advanced.
Bluegrass Rhythm Guitar - 1 Instructor
Songwriting - 1 Instructor
Bass - 2 Instructors One more may be added.
Mandolin - 6 Instructors
Bluegrass Fiddle - 3 Instructors

Our Kamp's class structure is unique and different from any other music camp in the world. When you register for the Kamp with your instrument of choice, you aren’t just signing up for one instructor - as is the case with most music camps. You are signing up for all the instructors for your instrument. You are divided by level and rotate through each of the instructor’s classes. The “Beginner 101” class does not rotate. “Beginner 101” students stay with the same instructor through the week.

If an instrument has one instructor, the student stays with that one instructor for the two main classes each day.
Final Schedule Subject To Change.

Kampers (Students) can enjoy all classes and seminars, concerts, jams, break out sessions. Everything the Kamp has to offer.
Kompanions may attend the various morning and afternoon jams, breakout sessions, concerts and meals with the exception of the afternoon Master Classes. Kompanions may not attend the Main Classes or the afternoon Master Classes.

Kampers only, no Kompanions, in the Master Classes or the 2-Hour Main Classes.


The Food

Three healthy meals will be served daily in a large, buffet-style dining hall. Meals are provided by METZ accommodating all tastes including Low Carb and Vegetarian. Gluten free upon request. Let us know if you have specific food needs.

Let us know of any dietary restrictions.
Gluten Free and Vegetarian Meals are available at each meal and are marked and labeled.

Breakfast choices are cereals, fruit, eggs with a different meat each day and a different form of potato each day.

Lunch and Dinner hosts a salad bar, sandwich station, pizza (Gluten Free Pizza available upon request), two hot entre choices and fantastic desserts.

This food service crew boasts Farm to Table Freshness. And for the most part, it's true. You won't lose weight at Kamp unless you want to.
The Kompanions

Family members (Kompanions) may attend the Kamp for an additional fee. There is no fee for children under the age of two-years old if they do not need a bed. All other children must comply to the Kompanion fees. This fee covers the evening concerts, jam sessions, most afternoon sessions, Kompanion get-togethers, room and meals.

The Kompanions are not permitted in the main class rooms for any reason unless assisting a handicapped Kamper.

In addition to the two two-hour long daily classes, we offer slow and intermediate jam sessions, morning mountain dulcimer lessons, vocal classes, master classes (Students only), organized jamming classes and more. These sessions are available to Students as well as Kompanions. These sessions are not separated by level or instrument.

The evening Kamp concert series is open to all Kampers, Kompanions and the general public. The concert series is included in the registration fee and is designed to really show off our instructors. They are mostly known for their concert performance so you will really see these stars shine. This is their evening to stretch out so your guess is as good as ours what to expect!

Note that the concert series is now becoming the grandest of it’s kind in East Tennessee. Many Kampers tell us that the Concerts are worth the price of the Kamp alone. This year’s concert series will be in the new Clayton Center for the Arts on the Maryville College campus. You can order the 2 CD Sets of the concerts called “The Best Of The Kamp Concert Series” currently with 7 Volumes dating from 1998 to 2004. Order Yours Today!


Kompanions having a Mountain Challenge Get-AWay

The Schedule
The schedule may differ slightly but as a whole it looks like this:

7:30 am - 9:00
Breakfast - Food Service replenishes from 7:30-8:30 but you can stay until 9am

8:30 - 9:30
Slow Jam Period / Kamp General Store Opens

10:00 - 12:00 Noon
Morning Class

12:00 - 2:00 (Lunch served 12-1 PM)
Lunch/Rest/Jam Times

1:00 - 1:45 or 12:30-1:30 - (Check Schedule)
Two Separate Instructor Led Jams

2:00 - 4:00
Afternoon Class

4:15 - 5:00
Break Out Sessions/ Master Classes / Jams

5:00 - 6:30 (Dinner served 5-6 pm)
Dinner/ Rest/ Jam / Kamp General Store Closes

7:00 - 7:30
Open Mic. On the Main Stage

7:30 - 10:30
Evening Concert Series

10:30 PM - Midnight
Open Mic in Issac's
Beginner's Jam in the Bartlett Hall

Midnight - 7:30 AM
Sleep/Jam Period

Schedule subject to slight change

Breakfast is Breakfast is Breakfast: Good food, decent coffee

Slow/Beginner Jam Periods: These are times when students can get together for controlled jam sessions with a jam leader. The Slow Morning Jam will take place in the Alumni Gym each morning Tuesday through Friday. The Slow Beginner's Jam will take place after the concert each evening in Issac's in Bartlett Hall. Nothing should exceed 100 Beats Per Minute or 45 Miles Per Hour. Slow/Beginner Jams in the AM and after the evening concert.

Morning and Afternoon Classes: These classes are two hours each with a few minutes break in the middle. You rotate with your assigned group through the week eventually attending each instructor's class. This input from every instructor and every possible angle and direction helps to make you a more rounded player and tends to avoid the clone syndrome that many students suffer.

Lunch/Rest/ Jam: Lunch is Lunch:
Good Food! Near the end of the Kamp you will be looking for rest periods. It is our intent at SK's Acoustic Kamp that you feel "whooped" by the end of the week. These are great chances to catch up on sleep, go to town and visit the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (about 20 min. away) or jam with new or old acquaintances.

Break Out Sessions and Up-Close Classes: Kamp Staff will conduct special afternoon topic discussions. Also each instructor will conduct Master Classes. Eight Students to the class for One to One attentions. Must sign up at the Kamp Store.

Dinner:  Dinner is Dinner - no one has ever complained about losing weight while at the Acoustic Kamps.

Each Night: Open Mic Time is a time that the students can try new material and play the big stage. Slots will be roughly Five minutes each and is available through a sign up sheet at the "Kamp General Store".

Open Mic Time: 7:00 - 7:30 PM and Concert Start Time 7:30 PM

Every Night: Instructor Concerts with special guests.

All Kamper and Kompanions

Orientation Sunday Night   8:00 PM

Things to do in the Area
There are many, many things to do in East Tennessee. From hiking, camping, biking, shopping, theme parks, horse back riding and lots more. We go over the things to do to the Kamp Kompanions during their lemonade social Monday morning. The Kamp Kompanions have always been a welcome group at The Acoustic Kamp.

Their numbers in attendance grows every year. The inspire us and allow us our interests and we all surely appreciate them. The Kompanions band together early in the week to see what their shared interests are. Starting in 2005 the Kamp Kompanions officially had Stage Time on the main stage to perform and best show some of their known and unknown talents.

We at Kamp Central try to show to the Kompanions all the finer points of interest in East Tennessee to help them spend their time. Donna Dixon also holds a Cookie and Lemonade Social for the Kompanion when the students begin their first class Monday morning. This meeting gets them together so they can buddy up and see what their common interests are and what they may want to do through the week.

We have a list of some of the things to do and places to see in the area. More will be added as time grows closer to Kamp.

Mountain Challenge has come up with tours of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and great things to do for the Kompanions during the week and for 2 Week Kampers with a Saturday Stay Over.

The Smoky Mountain Visitor's Center
is a great place to find out what's going on at the Foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains (just 20 minutes from SKAK).


Camp Grounds

Misty River Campground - Maryville

The college does not permit living in a camper on campus.Here is a spot given to us by Kamp Alumni John and Marlene Dillard

It is a full service campground just 8.5 miles outside of Maryville
5050 Old Walland Highway,
Walland, Tennessee 37886
Office (865) 981-4300

These campgrounds are up in Townsend, TN. Townsend is usually 20 minutes from the college.

Big Meadow Family Campground

Townsend TN  *  888-497-0625  email to: or visit

Lazy Daze Campground

Townsend TN  *  865-448-6061 email at

Little River Village Campground

Townsend TN   *  865-448-2241

Tremont Hills Campground and Log Cabins

Townsend TN  *  865-448-6363

Big Valley Campground

Townsend TN - 865-448-6191

Mountaineer Campground

Townsend TN - 865-488-6421

Tuckaleechee Campground

Townsend TN - 865-448-6681

Townsend Great Smokies KOA

Townsend - 800-562-3428

Theme Parks

There are several in the Pigeon Forge Area
For More Info call the Smokey Mountains Convention and Visitors Bureau
800-525-6834 or 865-448-6134

Dixie Stampede

Outdoor Activities

For More Info call the Smokey Mountains Convention and Visitors Bureau
800-525-6834 or 865-448-6134 

Outdoor Adventures

Guided interpretive hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park  *  865-774-5885

Scoot the Cove

ATV Rides and the River Rat (tubing down the Little River) 865-448-8888

Lost Sea

America's Largest Underground Lake - Sweetwater TN (about one hour drive) - 423-337-6616

Other Regional Information
What to Bring to Camp
An Audio Recorder: Be sure to bring a audio recorder or a mini disc recorder to record your classes and preserve your Kamp experience.


Video Camera: You can video the concerts if the artists have no objections. This will be let known at the beginning of their concert.
Instruments, picks, capo… multiple instruments are encouraged for better jams.

LinensBring your own. Be prepared to bring a pillow and sleeping bag or Twin Tall size sheets, blanket, wash cloths, towels along with soaps and shampoo. You may also want to bring a fitted mattress pad to avoid contact with the plastic covered mattress. 

Linen Rentals are available but you need to reserve before  May 31 - no exceptions. The college needs to reserve them ten days in advance. Linen Sets include: bottom and top sheet, thin college blanket, small college pillow, tiny college washcloth and towel - Call 865-982-3808 to reserve before May 31. Cost: $20 depending on college rate. This is paid on the registration form or you can decide before May 31 and we will add it to you bill at Kamp check in. To understand the use of the word "college" in this description, replace with "cheap". Extra sets can also be ordered before May 31.

Trash Can for Your Room: The college will provide garbage bags for you to keep up with your trash but they do not supply trash cans. You may want to bring a small receptacle for your room.

Clothing: Our June temperature is generally between 70-95 Fahrenheit during the day and 60-70 degrees in the evening. The humidity is between 75% and 110% due to the Great Smoky Mountains 20 miles away. Bring appropriate clothing, raincoat, umbrella, comfortable shoes, etc.  Most classrooms are air conditioned. All dorm rooms are air conditioned. Classes are held in several buildings with up to a 5 minute walk. Stair climbing is necessary.   There is a laundry in most dorm buildings.

Communication Devices: Optional - There are phone jacks and computer lines in all of the rooms.  Wireless Internet is available throughout the campus. We will get our codes Monday morning at the College orientation.

A Flashlight: For getting around to those late night jams. We do have lights in Tennessee but this is just another something you may want to pack with you.

A Watch/Battery Powered Alarm Clock: (optional but advisable - late evenings with early morning risings.) No Wake Up Service is provided (g).

A Desk Lamp: The college dorms have only overhead lighting. A small bed lamp or desk lamp might be nice to have.

Spending Money (and lots of it): All of the instructors and performers will have tapes, CD’s and/or instructional books and DVDs for sale. All money goes to the artist and instructors (and the government, of course).

A Sharpie for Autographs!  

The Acoustic Kamp Store will have new items this year along with our Kamp Kazoos, Case Covers and Gig Bags, Tote Bags, Koosies, Instruments, Kamp Ear Plugs, Foam Seat Cushions (a survival necessity), Key Chains, Embroidered Kamp Ladies Golf Shirts, Embroidered Kamp Baseball Jackets, Embroidered Kamp Fleece Jackets, Case Stickers, Fishman Pick-ups, CD Holders and more. Along with a fresh stock of T-shirts, hats, batteries, Fanny-packs, sun glass holders, coffee mugs, guitar strings, picks, Capos, Tylenol, Kamp group photos and other camp souvenirs.

Please notify us if you have any special needs or concerns
What to do Before you come to Kamp
Our Kamp is an instrumentally based Kamp. We have vocal classes but the core of instruction is based on instrumental work. This can help you back-up yourself or another vocalist. Learn the exercises, scales, rolls and fiddle tunes that will make you a great musician.

Note: The paragraphs that call for practicing up on the 4 Hour Bluegrass Workout songs are for all the classes except Fingerstyle. Though some fingerstyle pickers can play these tunes, they generally pull from a totally different set of tunes. Fingerstyle players should work on what they are working on and possibly try to find arrangements to some of the
Work Out series tunes. Bass, fiddle, dulcimer, flatpicking, banjo, mandolin students should concentrate on this list (The Work Out series) along with what they are currently working on.
1.   The use of fiddle tunes in your plectrum (pick) repertoire helps to coordinate right and left hand, strengthen hands, develop ear skills, sight reading and scale work plus they give the player something to share with another player ie. A jam.
2.   Prioritize Your Goals
What do you want to get out of Kamp? To be a better picker? To be a better Jammer? To develop a particular style? To try out a new instrument? Narrowing your focus can help you prioritize so you will gain the most out of Kamp. Decide on a few topics of interest before you arrive. Listen for those topics or ask about them and let the rest of class go.

Focus on a few things for this coming year and the following year work on a few other topics. Don’t expect to master these or any topics at Kamp. You learn it and understand it
here in Tennessee and then practice and perfect when you get home.
3.   Arrive Well Rested
Get plenty of rest before you come to Kamp. You will be busy from the AM to the PM to the AM again. You will probably return home exhausted, so don’t start out that way.
4.   Strengthen Up Your Calluses and Vocal Cords
The month before Kamp, ramp up your practice time. You won’t want to sit out of the evening jam sessions because your fingers have given out on you. If you will be doing a lot of singing, try to strengthen your vocal cords as well.
5.   Examine Your Instrument
Check out your instrument for any work that will need to be done. We are one of the very few Kamps that has Kamp Doctors on hand. You may want to take care of instrument issues before Kamp but you can also make appointments and discuss any repairs with our staff luthiers – The Kamp Doctors. Donnie and Debbie Barbra will be on hand both weeks to do repairs. You can contact Donnie in advance at if you think you will need extensive or time sensitive work done to your instrument. A well set up instrument makes life so much better.
6.   Review Your Repertoire
Avoid having to stop and say. “I used to play that song” by going over the tunes that you know. You can link over to a List of songs that many people play at Kamp. This will give you the chord structure. Many of these tunes can be found in Steve’s Four-Hour Bluegrass Work-Out (Book and 4 CDs) Volume 1 and 2.
7.   Write Your Name on Your Stuff
Use a laundry marker or similar to label all things that you bring. You will be amazed at what turns up in Lost and Found. Thank you through the years for all those capos, straps, T-shirts and more left behind.