Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Sweeney Early Banjo Convergence 2017

Event Details

Sweeney Early Banjo Convergence 2017

Time: September 8, 2017 to September 10, 2017
Location: Appomattox Courthouse National HIstoric Park
City/Town: Appomattox, va.
Event Type: banjo, gathering, festival
Organized By: David Wooldridge, Mark Weems
Latest Activity: Sep 15, 2017

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Event Description

Schedule to follow soon!

Comment Wall

Comment by Rob Morrison on August 21, 2017 at 9:32am

Just got off the phone with Dave Kirchner.  He wanted me to warn y'all that he will be attending the Appomattox event.  He also wanted me to alert Dave Wooldridge that he plans to camp in the park.--Rob Morrison

Comment by CURTIS PAYNE on August 22, 2017 at 10:11pm

I am attending along with my sister who plays the tamb.  My first time down to the fest.   Is there any news about protest and things of that nature? 


Comment by Strumelia on August 24, 2017 at 9:48am

Curtis, I'm hoping Dave W. will jump in here to elaborate and reassure, but I can say that from my experience last year, the site is hardly a place where protests would be likely or feasible, for many reasons-

-park rangers everywhere, looking out for visitors and grounds

-no lawful assembly permits would be obtainable

-families with children all over the place exploring the park and historic buildings

-very restricted parking options

-no monuments that might be focal points for protesters or demonstrators 

I think of our group as a very thoughtful little band of friends and musicians.  I know we are kind and caring and that we'll not only make our hosts at the Park proud, but will also honor and be considerate of each other regardless of our possibly diverse views.  :)

Comment by Jacalyn Thomas on August 24, 2017 at 1:35pm

Plus, it is pretty out of the way and not a place that would serve as a rallying point for anybody but us banjoists.

Comment by D. Wooldridge on August 25, 2017 at 8:57am

Curtis, David from Appomattox Court House NHP here.  Just getting back from work travel & so I'm just seeing this.

There is no plan that any of us at APCO know of for any sort of protest or demonstration by any groups. We have had First Amendment events here in the past including the Flaggers group out of Richmond but we have had no requests for any such 1st Amendment activities.

We are home to one monument to the soldiers of North Carolina that fought and died here as well as the Confederate Cemetery which is the final resting place of 18 Confederate & 1 Union soldier.

Appomattox is a large part of the collective memory of all of the United States which is, to my mind, all the more reason to host our celebration of the early banjo and ALL of those who played a part in its evolution. This in addition to the incontrovertible fact that some of the most important of those early banjoists lived, learned, performed, and died in and around the village that is Appomattox Court House. 

And this "little band" as Strumelia so aptly put it has proven itself over the past years as fine interpreters & representatives of the importance of this instrument and these musics in American culture.

We are truthful and honest in what we do, and not divisive or derisive. This event will be a great one in a great place full of great players & playing, dancing and learning for Convergence participants & the general public as well. Can't wait to see you there! 

Comment by Strumelia on August 25, 2017 at 4:05pm

Thanks for elaborating Dave!   :)

-Hey Dave I sent you a PM, check your inbox please.

Comment by Timothy Twiss on August 25, 2017 at 6:14pm

Ah, the lyrics of theses songs are nothing compared to an offensive Confederate statue now are they ?   :)         

Comment by CURTIS PAYNE on August 25, 2017 at 6:49pm

I am looking forward to it, and meeting everyone and learning as much as possible.  I wasn't really worried about the protest, I have been in reenacting now for over 35 years. 

Comment by Jacalyn Thomas on August 26, 2017 at 7:08pm
So, I understand that food can be a challenge at the event. I don't know if campers are planning to cook over open fire. I have cast iron cookware and some experience. I am happy to bring a cooked country ham, biscuits, fixings for Johnny cakes, and sweet potatoes. Don't want to impose on anyone's campsite or plans.
Comment by D. Wooldridge on August 26, 2017 at 9:54pm
Tim- it has been the tradition of our "little band" to refrain from using offensive lyrics of the period, esp. being that we are fortunate to be able to have this event at the National Park that was home to Joel Sweeney & the black banjo player(s) he learned from. Unlike the gathering at Antietam, Saturday intentionally allows for quite a lot of interaction b/t the general public who may come with very little knowledge of the history of the banjo AND this great group of amazing interpreters of the early banjo we are lucky enough to draw from all over!!!


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