Mando & Banjo Week – June 25-July 1, 2023



The Covid-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges to the safe presentation of in-person gatherings of all types. For next summer, our safety protocols will be guided by the recommendations of the national Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Buncombe County Health Department and those of Warren Wilson College. We anticipate that these measures will continue to evolve in response to the progress of the virus, but as of this writing:

All participants, including children, must provide documentation, verified with a photo ID, that they are up to date with a COVID-19 vaccine primary series and have gotten the most recent booster dose recommended by the CDC. For maximum immunity, please insure that your immunizations are up-to-date at least two weeks before your participation in the 2023 Swannanoa Gathering.

– We recommend that Gathering participants remain on campus throughout the week.

– Other Covid precautions may be imposed in the spring depending on conditions projected for July. Registrants will be notified in advance of additional safety protocols.

– Participants will be updated throughout the spring of any changes or additions to these safety measures.


Mando & Banjo Week

features classes in two of the instruments that are at the core of several of the most popular folk genres we offer, including bluegrass, old-time, Irish and Scottish, as well as some of the more adventurous blendings of traditional and jazz flavors known as ‘new acoustic’ music. For the mandolin students, we also offer classes in improvisation, traditional swing/jazz, classical mandolin and blues, while the banjo students can sample a variety of classes in three-finger plucked or clawhammer styles. Mando & Banjo Week has been paired with our Fiddle Week, offering classes in similar styles, to encourage students from both programs to jam with each other, and, with guitar classes in both programs to provide rhythm players, the possibilities for impromptu bands and jam sessions are rich indeed. There will be concerts throughout the week featuring our world-class staff, and the Student Showcase at week’s end will be an optional performance opportunity for those students who wish to show off what they have learned. Most classes are taught at the intermediate or advanced level, but we continue to offer a few introductory classes for students who want to gain confidence in learning and playing by ear, and for those who are newer to the instrument. For the intermediate classes, it is recommended that students have mastered beginning skills, be able to tune their instruments, keep time, play the principal scales cleanly, and know how to play a few tunes with confidence. This level is also appropriate for advanced players who would like to explore a style that is new to them, or for experienced players who need to get more fluent playing by ear. The advanced classes are designed to build on previous experience in the style. Advanced students should be able to easily learn by ear, have a basic repertoire in the style, and be comfortable playing in more challenging keys. During the last hour before supper, there will be a special class time for students of any skill level to form bands along with students from Fiddle Week, or participate in the Daily Bluegrass Jam, or visit our Luthier’s Exhibit featuring several luthiers including bowmaker Sarah Bystrom Andal and violin maker Gordon Gross who will be demonstrating their craft and will also have finished works on hand to sample. Master luthier Lynn Dudenbostel will once again be on hand to offer repair services. Mando & Banjo Week runs concurrently with Fiddle Week, and students are free to take classes in either program.