String Camp



A String Camp in Southern Maine!

 July 18th-22nd 2021: The Ossipee Valley String Camp is for everyone! Whether you are a professional musician or a newcomer, we will have something for you, and some delicious food & great community for you at camp! What people like most about camp is
the relaxed atmosphere where you get to spend quality time with some of the finest roots musicians in the country. Unique offerings such as yoga, elective classes, and river tubing accompany the traditional lessons and jams. And you and your camp band perform on the festival Main Stage on Thursday night!

Tickets are all inclusive and offer all meals, snacks, lessons, workshops, yoga, and more!

There are discounts for children (17 and under), and some limited scholarships available. You can camp, or just check in at the gate each morning.

The string camp ticket also includes a pass to the music festival, for a whole week of musical celebration.

The smell of fresh pines, the summer jungle of the river’s edge, smiling faces, and small classes where you get to know everyone, The Ossipee  Valley String Camp is worth the trip!

Lessons at String Camp

Before you arrive, you will choose your primary and secondary (if you have one) instrument you wish to study. Since classes are for all levels at camp, you can bring an instrument you have studied, as well as a fairly new instrument and take classes in both.

The first class of the day is always your primary instrument class. For the second class you can stay with the same instrument, or switch it up!

Some level of proficiency with scales and chords is required for all levels, tab and sheet music reading is helpful, but not required.

Electives at String Camp

Each teacher at camp will teach one elective class in the afternoon. When you first arrive at camp you will choose the electives you wish to attend. There will be a choice between 2-3 electives each day, so each student will attend four elective classes in all. There will also be a new Jumpstart session for instruction in an instrument you are a raw beginner on (Time TBD)

Previous electives have included:

  • Drawing on influences from other cultures
  • Crosstuning on the fiddle
  • Listening to and drawing inspiration from field recordings
  • Improving from underneath: creative chord and rhythm playing
  • Jazz chords and tunings
  • Quickfire ear training!
  • Harmony singing
  • Song sharing circle

Band Class at String Camp

Based on what you put in your string camp registration (instrument/level), you will be sorted into a camp band. Your band will have the same coach all four days of camp, and you will choose a song to learn and perform on the Main Stage at the Festival!

While instrument classes are divided by level, bands will most often have a mixed level of proficiency, and vocals and harmony singing will also be practiced.



Food at String Camp

Alex Steed returns this year to bring you three delicious, balanced meals each day, complete with local farm fresh ingredients. And there’s snacks! Many campers have said that the meals at The Farmer’s Belly, with all their camp comrades, were some of the best times at camp.

Jams at String Camp

Each night a group of instructors will lead three different jams where everyone is encouraged to name songs, lead, solo, or just strum along. It is a great opportunity to practice fluidity and structured creativity on the fly! Each evening there is a Slow Jam (for beginners), a Folk & Songs Jam (all songs with words/singing versus a mix of instrumental and songs), and an Anything Goes Fast Jam (for all levels) with more bluegrass, uptempo, and mixture of songs. There will also be a songwriters meetup & circle each night for songwriters to share their own work.

Age and Background of Campers?

We have an enormous age range at camp, from 12-80! However most people fall under the 45-60 age range, or 25-40. We typically have between 15-20 children under the age of 18 each year. Most campers come from New England, although some come as far as Australia! Each person comes to camp with a diverse background of experiences, knowledge and questions, which help to foster the deep sense of community and active learning that makes camp special.

Camp Cost

All attendees in 2021: $550


Includes all meals and your festival pass!

*Ticket prices were increased this year to accommodate adding an additional instructor, raising instructor travel stipends, and the increasing camp costs of meals, grounds rental fees and insurance. This is the first time that fees have increased since 2016.

Meal plans for adult spouses: $160.00

Meal plans for your kids: $110

Please email us for information about scholarships. We are especially eager to provide for students from within Oxford County, rural Maine and New Hampshire, and senior citizens 65+

Other camp offerings

The camp also offers a complimentary daily yoga class each morning, lots of free time for exploring local hiking and swimming options off the festival grounds, playing or reading a book, and a few special treats such as the instructor concert and the barn dance!

Camp & The Festival

Can you believe it? A ticket to the camp (Sun-Thurs) also gets you a free pass to the festival (Thurs-Sun)!–Note in 2021 we are only doing a  Microfestival, Friday and Saturday

Please note: This is for the adult ticket–kids get in free to the festival, so it does not apply to the child ticket

Please note that tickets to the festival are non-transferrable!


Camping at String Camp

Tent camping is free!

RV hookups (there are plenty) are $15/night/site during the camp and the festival

Dumping is $25/dump

Dogs are not allowed.

*if you are a parent, you are also welcome to drop your child off at camp for the day. We just ask that your child is reasonably old enough to attend classes by themselves. You can also camp at the grounds as a chaperone for $20/night/site for tents or $25/night/site for RVs.

Different Levels of Profficiency

Everyone is welcome at camp!

We have multiple instructors for fiddle, mandolin, and guitar, singing and songwriting, and one instructor for  banjo,ukulele and bass. Classes are medium size and teachers are able to work with each student and be very accomodating.

We do ask that you have some familiarity with your instrument in terms of scales, chords, and intonation. However, we are truly a camp for all levels and ages, you will learn from each other as well as the instructors! If you would like to have a quick introduction to a new instrument, in 2020 we will be offering a Jumpstart workshop (time TBD) for new players.

In your registration form please do your best to indicate your level:

Raw beginner: You can tune the instrument, and can play a major and minor scale pattern, at around 50-70 beats tempo on a metronome. You understand what a song key is, and you know a few major chords, maybe a few minor ones, you can play them slowly, you are working on intonation. You have been playing less than a year, or have been playing on and off for several years but with long breaks in between. For vocals: you sing in the shower, but never in front of people.

Beginner: All of the above, fairly good intonation in the basic positions, plus you understand the basic I IV V chord pattern and can transition between those chords for a major key song, maybe you know a few minor chords too, and can strum along, or play those scales. You do not have much experience playing solos or improvising, or chopping0. You can play scales from 80-150 or so. You have been playing less than two years, or play on and off with long breaks in between. If you sing: You are interested in learning how to harmony sing, and want to build your confidence in singing in general.

Intermediate: All of the above, good intonation, you know major and minor scale patterns, and you have at least a bit of experience improvising, or playing a written solo. You understand a bit about music theory, you can play many songs along with a recording at their original tempo, unless they are very fast. You can play scales pretty fast (double time 110 and up) You have a consistent practice. For vocals: if you sing, you can sing and play at the same time, or have some familiarity with harmony singing.

Advanced: You might play in a regional band, or play often with other people. You are comfortable with improvisation, can play scales very quickly in several positions and can go up high on the neck or are starting to experiment with that more, and are playing with several styles of music, you might know jazz chords or other styles besides bluegrass, can chop, are comfortable taking solos, you can play in several positions, and know lots of songs. Vocals: if you sing, you can sing and play, or harmonize, maybe you write songs. You have performed before.

Kids at Camp

Childen are welcome at camp! They also get in free to the festival.

We recommend that kids have had lessons prior to attending the camp, with a minimum age of 12 years old.

Parents are welcome to camp on the festival grounds for $20/night/site, or drop their older children off for the day.

Parents will also be given a special wristband that will allow them to see their child perform on stage Thursday night.

Parents are also welcome to attend the camp and festival themselves!

Scholarships to Camp

We have a limited amount of scholarships available to us through grants.

We also have special funds reserved for senior citizens 65+, and students from rural New Hampshire and Maine, and School District 55 students ages 12-17.

Please contact us at for more information.