Home | Bios | Calendar | Programs | Recordings | Photo Gallery | Bluff Country Gathering | Lanesboro Barn Dance


   The 2021 Gathering will offer online workshops on Saturday May 22 from 12-4 PM. The schedule is posted below.

   These will be held via Zoom. If you are interested in participating, please email us at bluffcountrygathering@gmail.com and we will send you the link.

   We do not require registration for these and there is no fee, but we will be collecting tips for the  the workshop leaders.  

   Look at the bios below for more information about the workshop leaders.



12 PM Central Time 
Dan Gellert-Fiddle  
"All These Old Time Fiddle Tunes DO Sound the Same!"
Hearing the common patterns of phrasing and how we make these crude, repetitious little ditties into such good dance music.

Dave Landreth-Clawhammer Banjo  
Two Missouri tunes at an intermediate level. The keys and tunings will be decided based on the overall skill level of the group.


1 PM Central Time 
Fred Keller-Mandolin   "Filling Up the Sound"
 Using a couple common jam tunes to explore playing lead with more sound, drive and rhythm; also discussing backup techniques with doublestops, drones and rhythmic techniques.

Geoff Seitz-Fiddle  
Learning/playing some of Geoff's favorite tunes with an emphasis on Midwestern style tunes. A good session of playing and stories.


2 PM Central Time 

Henry Barnes-Fiddle  
Teaching the tune "Grapevine Chain" from Lincoln Taylor of Roan County, WV (all skill levels) and then "Bostony" from Roger Cooper of Lewis County, KY, a more intermediate/advanced tune.

Elizabeth LaPrelle-Appalachian Ballads 
Breaking down a few of these beautiful, unaccompanied story-songs and learning melody, lyrics, ornamentation and style, all by ear.


3 PM Central Time 

WB Reid & Bonnie Zahnow-Old Time Stringband Songs Jam  
WB and Bonnie have led this jam at music camps for years. Play and sing along with accessible classics from the likes of Uncle Dave Macon, Tommy Jarrell, Charlie Poole and the Georgia Yellow Hammers. It's a party, not a class!

Brian DeMarcus-Clawhammer Banjo for the Beginner to Intermediate Player  
Learn some easy and neat Round Peak, NC
style tips, tricks and elements to enhance your playing and move you to a higher level of comprehension in your playing.



 Please put the Bluff Country Gathering on your calendar for May 19-22, 2022.


2020 Staff




    Dan Gellert was on the staff of the first Bluff Country Gathering and in 2020 makes his fourth appearance here. A master of fiddle, banjo and guitar, Dan now makes his home in Aiken, SC. He says of himself: “I've been playing various stringed instruments and singing old songs for nearly 60 years, and still haven't figured out how to make that into a job, so am still happily an amateur. "Cultural appropriation" has become something to be avoided these days, but I found out long ago that there were lots better musical ideas out there to be stolen than those I could come up with myself. I could say I'm atoning by trying to pass them along, but that's far too much fun to be any sort of penance.”




    Henry Barnes says his approach to traditional music is to teach the same practice techniques he regularly uses for himself, techniques that can be used for more than fancy fiddling. His biggest recorded influences are Doc Roberts, Mike Humphreys, John Johnson, and J.P. Fraley, along with his lived experiences with Bobby Taylor, John Morris, Dan Gellert, and Roger Cooper. Henry has won the Ed Haley Memorial Award multiple times as well as 1st place in fiddle and band at the Appalachian String Band Festival at Clifftop, WV and 1st place at the WV state folk festival in Glenville, WV. He lives in Washington Courthouse, OH.



    Elizabeth LaPrelle has been performing and studying Appalachian ballads and old-time songs since she was eleven. Raised in Rural Retreat, Virginia, Elizabeth attended old time fiddlers’ conventions and sang harmonies with her family, who encouraged her to sing their own favorite American folk music. As a teen Elizabeth learned the ‘mountain’ style of singing from mentors Ginny Hawker and Sheila Kay Adams, which led her to explore archives and field recordings for ancient and little-known songs. She received her undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary with a major in Southern Appalachian Traditional Performance. Elizabeth has been touring and recording traditional American music since 2005, first with her family band and later in the duo "Anna & Elizabeth". She now tours the US and abroad, both performing and teaching. http://elizabethlaprelle.com




    We don't know if the South City Serenaders are really a band or just a figment of the imagination. We are, however, very pleased to have these four old time players from St. Louis, MO.

    Geoff Seitz has been playing music since age eight and fiddle for over 45 years. Throughout his years of fiddling Geoff sought out traditional master fiddlers and learned tunes in the old time style. Although he has spent many hours with the Missouri Valley and Ozark fiddlers, Seitz also learned from Appalachian and western fiddle players. And he has never been above learning and sharing tunes from fiddlers of his generation and younger. Geoff’s style of fiddling could be described as danceable, regularly playing for dances and concerts, and has won numerous awards including the fiddle contest at Clifftop, WV. Geoff is also a violin maker and repairman. http://www.seitzviolins.com
    Dedo Norris spent a lot of time in her young adult life absorbing the music of Galax, Virginia and the Round Peak area near Mount Airy, North Carolina. This remains her lifelong love, and she is passionate about sharing these traditions. She currently plays fiddle in St Louis’s premier old-time string band The Missouri Possum Tamers and bass in the Red Squirrel Chasers. Well known and highly respected for her fiddling, her driving and rock-steady rhythm also make her one of the most sought-after bass players throughout the American old-time music world. Dedo has taught fiddle and bass at the CROMA old-time festival in Colorado as well as at the Banjo-Fiddle Frolic in North Carolina and works with private students at home in St. Louis.
    Jim Nelson has honed his back-up guitar skills over many years of playing with older dance fiddlers, including Bob Holt and Lotus Dickey. He has played with The Volo Bogtrotters and the St. Louis-based Ill-Mo Boys for over two decades and has taught numerous old-time guitar classes and workshops at music camps and festivals across the country. These days he plays in the Red Squirrel Chasers, the Hoosier Crackerjacks, The Mississippi Possum Tamers, and the reconstituted Volo Bogtrotters.
    Dave Landreth
has been teaching banjo for over well over 35 years with 20 years of that being in the St Louis area. Well-known for his strong, rhythmic and exciting clawhammer style, Dave has played such bands as the Allen Street String, New Bad Habits, The Combine and, most recently, Dugout Canoe. He has taught at dance camps across the country and has also taught workshops at the Montana Fiddle Camp, Augusta Heritage Arts Festival in West Virginia, and the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old Time Music Festival (MBOTMA). http://banjoboysbrain.com




    At the center of the Northwest old time music and dance community for decades, WB Reid & Bonnie Zahnow of Seattle have played for concerts, festivals, and dances as a duo and in collaborations with musicians of all ages. Both are accomplished fiddlers and guitarists, and WB (aka Bruce) also plays both five- and six-string banjos. Their repertoire is centered in old time songs, classic and quirky tunes, and rags, with side trips to music from Tin Pan Alley and The Mississippi Sheiks. They also study and perform duet fiddling from the Tohono O’odham people of Arizona and the Purépecha people of Michoacán. Together they toured Alabama with Lee Stripling and recently toured Europe with Craig Judelman. WB was the Tallboys’ fiddler for four years, and plays regularly with Eric & Suzy Thompson in The Todalo Shakers jugband. Each summer they teach at Lark Camp in Mendocino, and serve as staff musicians at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, where they first met. http://www.wbandbonnie.com


    With a music and dance career dating back five decades, Brian DeMarcus began attending fiddler conventions in 1967 and has been hooked on the music, dance, and culture of the Southern Appalachian Mountains ever since.  Starting in 1971, he spent 12 years touring professionally with a music and dance group from North Carolina called the Green Grass Cloggers, taking the rich traditional sounds of old-time string band music, dance calling, and Southern Appalachian clogging out of the mountain regions and into venues around the world.  He has lectured and led workshops across the country on Southern Appalachian music, dance, and culture, and continues to be involved in the culture through music and dance calling. He plays in an Old-Time band, a Cajun band, and a zydeco band in Alaska, where he lives. He has been a banjo, band, and flatfooting judge at the Appalachian Stringband Festival (also known as Clifftop) in West Virginia many times and was the featured caller in 2017 at the Dare To Be Square West Festival in Portland, and at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend in 2019. 


Fred Keller is a mandolin player and historian with a passion for Minnesota history and local stories. He's also a professional musician with over twenty years of experience, steeped in the traditions of Irish, early American, blues, Tin Pan Alley and ragtime music.  He has played all over the Upper Midwest and Saskatchewan,currently performs with The Skally Line and calls Sandstone, MN home.


About the Bluff Country Gathering

The Bluff Country Gathering is a four-day event presenting traditional American music, dance and singing styles. Workshops, conducted by a staff of nationally acclaimed musicians, singers, dancers and folklorists, are designed to pass along the traditions of old-time music to participants at all levels of experience. If you want to take workshops, you must register for the whole weekend. Cost is $225 and includes workshops, concert and dance. The registration form is at the bottom of this page.

PUBLIC EVENTS: A concert on Friday night features all the staff musicians. The Barn Dance on Saturday night includes live music by staff musicians and caller. No experience or partner required for this dance.

CONCERT: Friday May 15 at 8:00 PM at the Lanesboro Community Center. Tickets available at the door only. $15.00

BARN DANCE: Saturday, May 16 at 8:00 PM at the Lanesboro Community Center. Tickets available at the door only. $10.00

REGISTRATION: $225 for all events. If you plan to take workshops, full registration is required. No refunds after May 1. Registration accepted beginning January 6, 2020.

Registration Form

(Printable PDF)

Please fill out the entire registration form. Registrations not accepted until January 6.

Name: __________________________________________________________________________________

Address: ________________________________________________________________________________

Phone: __________________________________________________________________________________

Email: __________________________________________________________________________________

Name/address on the roster? Yes _____ No _____ (The roster will be available to all students.)

Any student age 16 or under must be accompanied by a fully registered parent or guardian.

Meals: Please select only one Veggie___ Meat___   
If you have food allergies or special needs, you must notify us before May 1st.

Interested in volunteering? Most of our registered students help out doing small jobs at the weekend, like setting up tables and chairs for meals and concerts, helping in the kitchen, sitting at the sales table during the public concert or dance, to name a few. Even the smallest help is greatly appreciated. If you check yes, someone will contact you about matching you to an agreeable task.

Yes, I'd like to help. _____ No, not this time. _____

Make checks payable to Bluff Country Gathering and mail to 18287 Gap Drive, Spring Grove, MN 55974.

Or pay online and be sure to submit your registration information.



Housing is not provided by the Gathering. Lanesboro has many B&Bs, boarding houses, motels and campgrounds in town and nearby. For a listing of these go to www.lanesboro.com or call the tourist office at 800-944-2670.

Thursday Night Potluck dinner starting at 6 pm. Bring a dish to share. Plates/cups/napkins/silverware will be provided. The kitchen is available only to the caterers and will not be available for cooking/ cleaning up/storing leftovers.

Friday and Saturday Lunch will be at 12:00 PM in the Sons of Norway Hall.

Sunday Potluck will be at 9:30 AM in the Sons of Norway Hall.

What else to bring? Recording devices are suggested, since most of the workshops will be taught aurally.


E-mail:  bluffcountrygathering@gmail.com




The Bluff Country Gathering is a 501(c) non-profit organization. Any donations are tax deductible.                                                 







Hit Counter