Good old-fashioned fun: Folksy musicians play Park Slope at annual jamboree

Dueling banjos: Banjo prodigy Nora Brown, 12, plays with and Lydia Sylvia Martin.
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They put the jam in jamboree!

Hundreds of fiddlers, guitarists, and other string-pluckers hit the grassy lawn outside Park Slope’s Old Stone House on Sept. 16, where the players jammed for a far more intimate audience as part of the nabe’s Blue Grass and Old-Time Music Jamboree, according a museum employee.

“There were upwards of 200 musicians, and some spectators too!” said Kim Maier, the executive director of Old Stone House.

The folksy performers gathered around the historic cottage on Fourth Avenue’s Washington Park, playing impromptu jam sessions with kindred musicians throughout the green space, Maier said.

“The fiddlers and the old-timey people got together, the blue grass people got together, and the more jazzy people got together, and everybody was just jamming and playing,” she said. “To have a day when there are 200 people playing is really beautiful.”

Other professional players offered workshops for jamboree attendees inside neighboring middle school MS 51, including 12-year-old banjoist Nora Brown, who shared playing tips with aspiring musicians young and old.

The tutorials and outdoor jam sessions followed blue-grass band James Reams & the Barnstormers’ Sept. 15 concert at the Old Stone House, which kicked off the jamboree. A second set of performers — including Vincent Cross, Lydia Sylvia Martin, Brown Jug Award, and Tin + Bone, among others — concluded the 19th-annual event with a four-hour show the evening of Sept. 16.

Maier hopes the Park Slope museum will be a lasting location for the jamboree, which organizers moved this year to Old Stone House from its long-time home at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture on Prospect Park West, and said her staff is already entertaining ideas for next year’s hoedown.

“We’re already started talking about what we’re going to do next year,” she said. “We’re looking forward to it.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:55 pm, July 9, 2018
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