Attend workshops, jam ’til midnight, at Winter Music Festival

Florence Festival features on-site jam sessions and daily workshops

Jan. 1, 2020 — It will be a hot time on the Oregon Coast this January during the 18th annual Florence Winter Music Festival.

Each day’s theme will keep concertgoers coming back for more — Bluegrass Friday, Americana Saturday and Folk Music Sunday — with nine high-caliber groups delivering sumptuous servings of musical flavors Jan. 24, 25 and 26 at the Florence Events Center.

New this year will be free on-site jam sessions and daily workshops by festival musicians on songwriting, guitar skills, and jamming. Workshops are free to concert ticketholders and $20 for non-concertgoers. Free, dedicated, on-site jamming space is available beginning at noon on Friday and 1 on Saturday and Sunday. Jam sessions take place in the workshop room any time other than when workshops are under way. The Friday and Saturday jams end at midnight and Sunday’s jam ends at 4 p.m.

Workshops include:

“Beginners How-to-Jam Workshop” led by Janet Wellington on Friday, Jan. 24, from noon to 1 p.m. All are welcome and will learn how to figure out the key others are playing in, how a round-robin circle jam works, what to expect at festival jams and how to apply the common 1-4-5 chord progression in each key. Handouts will be provided. Formal jam to follow.

“Learn to Jam Bluegrass Style” led by Annie Savage on Saturday, Jan. 25, from 9 to 10 a.m. Savage, fiddler extraordinaire for the Greg Blake Band with a Ph.D. in music education, leads this jam workshop. Attendees are encouraged to bring their acoustic instrument and will be introduced to the ground rules of jamming, how to lead songs and “fake” breaks, find melodies and sing harmonies — all at gentle tempos in a supportive, low-pressure environment.

“Guitar Workshop” led by Jim Hurst on Saturday, Jan. 25, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The master himself will lead an all-levels workshop with something for everyone. Hurst will cover the proper way to play rhythm, how to structure a lead “break,” develop flatpicking speed, and the basics of fingerpicking. Acoustic instruments and audio recording devices welcome.

“True North Duo Songwriting Workshop,” led by award-winning and nationally-recognized singer-songwriters Kristen Grainger and Dan Wetzel, will be Sunday, Jan. 26, 10:30 a.m. to noon. Think “Tangled Up in Blue,” “Poncho and Lefty” and “Alice’s Restaurant.” Story songs are a fundamental part of the American folk music. In this 90-minute interactive songwriting workshop you’ll learn the fundamentals of songwriting, including the basic framework and elements of a song, forms and arrangements, and how to identify key lines and ideas that bring a song to life.

The Florence Winter Music Festival is produced by the 501 (c) (3) nonprofit Friends of the Florence Events Center, an all-volunteer membership organization that helps fund capital improvements and performance grants at the venue.