DelFest Academy takes place the Sunday through Wednesday prior to the festival. The Academy is a friendly, encouraging, and intensive four-day learning experience with some of the finest musicians in bluegrass serving as instructors for students of all levels. The Academy currently offers instruction for guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, bass, and dobro. The all-star instructors provide lessons to students which target their individual needs and leave ample time for plenty of one-on-one interaction.
In addition to our Grammy-winning host band The Travelin’ McCourys Rob McCoury (banjo), Ron McCoury (mandolin), Jason Carter (fiddle), Cody Kilby (guitar), Alan Bartram (bass)], several DelFest performers arrive early to teach each year. In 2020, Academy Instructors will also include Frank Solivan (mandolin) and Dirty Kitchen bandmate Mike Munford (banjo), Chris Luquette (guitar), Ronnie Bowman (guitar and vocals), Garnet Bowman (vocals), Jay Starling (dobro), Jacob Jolliff (mandolin) of The Jacob Jolliff Band and formerly Yonder Mountain String Band, and Deanie Richardson (fiddle) founding member of Sister Sadie as well as a member of the Grand Ole Opry staff band.
What to Expect
The Academy begins each year on the Sunday evening prior to the festival. Students must bring their own instrument and should plan to arrive on Sunday evening for registration and opening reception (with food and drink provided). This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know the instructors and staff, along with fellow students.
Each day begins with a morning jam session by the instructors, followed by a brief Q & A. The individual classes break off from there. Class schedules vary but students can expect one-on-one instruction, class instruction, mixed instrument classes, and vocal classes. Everyone’s favorite segment is Bluegrass Karaoke, where students perform their favorite song with the instructors as their backing band. Another favorite is the Band Scramble where students are assigned a group number to form a band for the chance to perform on the Grandstand Stage at sound check on Thursday night!
Students can look forward to late night jam sessions, impromptu lessons from classmates, and hanging with heroes. Lifelong friendships will be forged and good times will be had. You can join the Delfest Academy Group (click here) on Facebook where current and former students continue their musical learning, share ideas, and find information about the upcoming Academy.
A More Few Details
Please note, food is NOT provided for the duration of the Academy except for the meet and greet on Sunday. Please bring your own food.
Any friend or family member who would like to accompany you, but not attend DelFest Academy must purchase a DelFest Academy Guest Pass. To purchase, after the student has registered for the Academy, email firstname.lastname@example.org to request the purchase of an Academy Guest Pass.
Upon arrival, please be prepared to drop your camping gear off at your campsite, and then be directed to the designated parking area to park your vehicle.
Everyone attending DelFest Academy must also purchase a vehicle parking pass, sold separately from the DelFest Academy Pass.
On-Site Fairgrounds Parking Passes for vehicles shorter than 18ft are available for purchase by visiting the DelFest Ticketing Page.
If you plan on bringing an RV to the Academy, you must purchase a DelFest RV pass. Any vehicle longer than 18′ requires an RV Pass.