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Frequently Asked Questions


What is "online registration" and how does it work?
Online registration lets you pay for camp with a credit card. To register online you must first choose your morning intensive class and then if there's still room in that class you can enroll for it, choose any other options (camping, meals, etc.) and pay with your credit card. You can see all the options on the online registration page.

Probably the easiest way to register online is to send an email message to:

and in that message include:
+ Your name and address
+ Your email address
+ Your telephone number
+ A parent or guardian's name if you're under 18
+ The morning intensive class you'd like to sign up for
+ Any second choice you might have (in case your first choice class is full)
You will receive back a registration code and instructions about how to pay for your class and any other options you may be interested in (meal ticket, camping, etc.).

Is this camp for children or adults?
Yes! This camp is for musicians. Typically, most of our campers are adults, so the classes are geared to an adult attention span. But campers of all ages are welcome as long as they’re into the music and can stay focused during an all-morning class.

Usually, out of about 200 campers, we have about 30 kids between the ages of 8 and 18. If a child is under ten years old, we generally recommend our “FunGrass” program for the morning class—this class is less intensive and, as the name implies, more fun! and includes arts and crafts and snacks as well as musical instruction. FunGrass students can attend afternoon elective classes to supplement their musical studies.

How do I get to camp?
The Nevada County Fairgrounds are located at 11228 McCourtney Road, 95949-7412, near the intersection of Hwy 49 and Hwy 20, in Grass Valley, CA. For directions and maps, see the fairgrounds website: www.nevadacountyfair.com

Can you help me find (or offer) a ride to camp?
Carpooling is in! If you are interested in sharing a ride to camp, let us know and we’ll put you in contact with any others from your area who are also interested in carpooling. 

Can I bring my family and pets?
Family, yes, though if they're not signed up for music camp, they should not attend classes. They may come to the evening events but will be asked to contribute to the scholarship fund in exchange for enjoying all the great music and dancing. All are welcome at the student concert and there is no charge for that. All adults need to pay for a camping permit if you’re camping, and meal tickets are available for family members; just let us know who’s coming with you and what they’ll need, and include the appropriate amount in your registration fees.

If your family includes young children, you should know that we offer a special class for children of campers who are not yet ready for camp, but interested in music. This class, called FunGrass, meets in the mornings from 9 a.m. to noon only, and is taught by Kathleen Rushing and her assistants.  Students will have a chance to interact with instruments and learn about each of the main bluegrass/old-time instruments. They will participate in fun, interactive music experiences; singing, dancing, performance, crafts, recording, musical drama, games and a great snack each day. 

The cost of this program is kept very low, scholarships are available for those who need them.

Pets—Starting last year, dogs are allowed, IF you can follow the rules, which can be found at this link: http://www.cbaweb.org/cba_news.asp?newsid=7886

If you’re traveling in an RV and have a cat or cats, it’s OK to bring them as long as they remain inside the RV at all times.

How early can I arrive?
You can arrive whenever you want—registration begins at noon on Sunday. We'll have someone at the gate to greet you from 10:00 on.

What do I need to bring to camp?
Clothing for hot days, warm or cool nights--be sure to include hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen. We say this, though we occasionally have an unseasonably cool year, which requires a whole different wardrobe, so check the weather forecast (for Grass Valley, CA), but usually it's nice.

If you’re tent camping, bring camping supplies! (tent, sleeping bag, etc) All you are supplied with is a space to camp, and access to water and bathrooms. There are showers, with limited supplies of hot water. There are no picnic tables at the sites, or BBQs, or anything like that, just some pine trees and a level space. So a camp table will be helpful, and a camp stool for jamming is nice. Also, you should bring a comfortable chair for the evening concerts. To help conserve resources, please bring a travel mug for drinks, and a water bottle.

For classes, a notebook and pen, battery-powered recording device, and extra batteries are very helpful and in some classes essential; extra strings, capo, etc. for your instrument; a tuner; a cushion for your chair if you’re into comfort. If you have a large or heavy instrument, you may want to consider bringing a wheeled carrier for making travel to classes easier. Lightweight, easy-carry gig bags are good for the same reason. You may like to have something soft to stand on if you’re a bass player and get tired feet standing on cement floors. Bring a yoga mat if you have one and want to attend the yoga classes. And don't forget your dancing shoes!

Is vegetarian food available?
Yes. You can sign up for vegetarian or omnivore meals. If you need to know details about what will be served, contact us and we’ll send you a sample menu.

What if I want some veggie and some meat meals?
You have to sign up for one or the other. BUT, at the end of the meal, after everyone has been served, it's OK to go through the line again to sample the veggie food if you signed up as an omnivore, or vice versa, if there's extra left. "After everyone has been served" are the key words here, like wait at least 45 minutes after meal time began.

How can I get one of those CBA Music Camp T-shirts?
When you register you can order this year's commemorative T-shirt right on the registration form! You can also check out this year's design right here.

Are there hook-ups for RV's?
Full hook-ups are sold by a lottery system and sell out quickly. But there are also spaces with guaranteed electrical hook-ups—for availability, contact the festival ticket salesperson, John Erwin, at john.erwin@sbcglobal.net or 707-448-1970.

I paid for pre-festival camping when I bought my festival ticket—do I have to pay again?
No. If you already paid for that it’s covered, and you will get your camping permit from the festival headquarters when you arrive (NOT at music camp registration).

Can I come for (and pay for) just part of the camp?
Yes, if you’d like to attend one or more of the afternoon classes, that can be arranged—email us for more information.

Can I attend instrumental classes for more than one instrument?
No, sorry. For two reasons--one, to ensure that class sizes don't get too big; and two, because often a teacher will build each day on what was worked on the previous day, so continuity is important. However, during the jams, elective classes, and office hours you can participate with any instrument you want, and work with any instructor you want.

How do I register for the CBA Music Camp?
You can register by postal mail, email, or online.
To register by postal mail, Print out the registration form, fill it in, and send it along with your check or money order to our registration office in Bellingham, WA.
To register by email, make a copy of the registration form, edit your answers into it, email it to us, and arrange with your bank to send us a check.
To register online using a credit card, fill in the online registration form, and submit it online. There is a small processing fee for online registrations based on the total cost.
Links to each registration form may be found here.

I signed up for camp but never heard if I made it into my class. Am I registered?
Don’t assume you’re registered for camp unless you received confirmation! All applicants are contacted when they sign up, usually by e-mail, and all registered campers receive confirmation (by e-mail, or fax or snail mail if you have no e-mail) which includes information about what to bring to camp, how to get there, etc.

Please wait one week from when you signed up (a few days later if you signed up by mail), or until one week after registration opens if you mailed in registration early, and then if you haven’t heard from us, there was a communications failure and you should get in touch to find out if you’re registered or on a waiting list. 
Where do I get information about local motels and restaurants?
The Nevada County Chamber of Commerce! www.gvncchamber.org or call 530-273-4667.

Can I split camping costs with a friend if we camp together?
No, unless you're in an RV. The tent-camping cost is a special low rate, based on a per person fee. But there's no camping fee for any children (under 18) you bring.

Can I just pay tuition now, and pay for meals and/or camping later?
Yes, if that makes things easier for you, it’s OK, but please let us know if you may be adding these options on later, so we know what to expect. It’s easiest for us if you pay for everything as far in advance as possible. And all prices go up significantly after May 1st!

Is there a way I can reduce the cost of camp by working at camp?
Yes, you can volunteer. Volunteers help the teachers in the morning classes (as "Teaching Assistants"), or run errands for the directors, or help in the Office, or help set up and tear down the shade structures (as "Roustabouts"), and so on. If you want to apply to be a volunteer, look here.

How early can I sign up?
Registration opens on February 7th. The intensive classes and teachers will all be selected by that time and listed on the Instructors page. If, after you sign up, you should change your mind about the class you want to take, you're free to change as long as the other class still has space, but the intensive classes tend to fill quickly.

Do CBA members get priority for camp registration?
Yes. Camp registration is basically first-come first-served with preference given to CBA members in the case of a tie. Registrations that come in before Feb 7th are held until Feb 7th to be processed. At that point all waiting registrations from CBA members will have priority.

Can I sign someone else up as a gift?
Yes! A registration for the CBA Music Camp makes a fun and educational Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, birthday, New Year, or whatever gift.

Can I sign up by phone and/or pay with a credit card?
Yes, you can access an on-line registration form from our home page. But no, we don’t take credit card orders over the phone, you need to fill out a registration form to sign up. But if you’re having trouble with the online system, then yes, we’ll help you by phone.

Can I sign up by email?
Yes, most banks offer a check service especially those with online banking. You can ask your bank to send us a check for the registration amount drawn on your account and then email us a pdf of the registration form, or all the infor requested by the form, and say that the check is on the way from your bank.

Is it better to sign up online or by mail?
Either way is fine. Signing up online involves some small processing costs, but may be more convenient than sending a check, but see the previous FAQ about having your bank send a check for you. As far as your place in line for getting into a class, we go by when you sign up, not when we receive it, and we go by which day you sign up, regardless of what time it is. So, mailing a check postmarked anytime on a Monday, for example, will place you in line along with everyone else who mails a check or signs up online that day—we wait a few days for the mail to catch up before processing online registrations. For the same reason, sending it priority mail is not necessary—we go by the date of the postmark.

If a class overfills on any given day, then we look at factors like age, prior attendance at camp, CBA membership, etc. when making decisions about who’s in the class and who’s on the waiting list.

I want to sign up for camp now, but don't have all the money together yet. Will you take a deposit?
Yes, you can send a deposit of $100 or more to hold your place along with your registration form, but you need to include a note letting us know when to expect the balance. The late fee of $50 will be added if tuition is not paid in full by May 1st, unless you make special arrangements.

I want to sign up for camp, but I may have to cancel. What's your refund policy?
If you’re not sure you’ll be able to come, the easiest thing to do is sign up with a deposit of an amount that you’re willing to donate to the scholarship fund if you can’t make it. That makes it easy for everyone if you have to cancel.
If you sign up with full fees and unexpected circumstances force you to cancel, we can refund your fees. We don’t charge a set cancellation fee, but we do ask that you donate a portion of your refund (any amount) to next year's scholarship fund, to make up for the inconvenience.

Exceptions: Cancellations received after June 1st may receive only a partial refund. And “no-shows” (those who don’t show up at camp by 9:00 a.m. on Monday, and don’t contact us ahead of time to cancel) do NOT receive a refund and forfeit their spot.

I want to attend, but can’t afford it. How do I get a scholarship?
There are two types of scholarships available: full scholarships, which cover full tuition and in some cases also meals and camping; and partial scholarships.

Most of our scholarships are partial scholarships—you cover any costs of meals and camping, and pay as much as you can towards tuition, and we cover the rest. To apply for a partial scholarship, fill out a registration form, entering the amount you can pay towards tuition, and mail it in, with a check for that amount, and also include a brief letter explaining your situation and requesting the scholarship. If you’re really broke, some complimentary meal tickets may be available; you can also bring and cook your own food.  If we can't offer you the scholarship we'll assume you're not coming and refund your money.

We also have a few full scholarships available. These are intended for low-income young people who are very devoted to playing bluegrass and/or old time music.  If this sounds like you, your child, or someone you know, please call 360-647-0741 and speak to Janet to apply.

Scholarship recipients, or their parents, are requested to help out at camp with a camp chore or two (there are many to choose from!)

The scholarship program is made possible through the donations of generous CBA members and other music campers who pay a little extra to help fund it. We are extremely grateful to them!

Is there a safe place to leave instruments on site?
Yes, there will be a designated instrument storage area which will be locked up at night.

Is there a place to charge my cell phone?
Yes, check at the camp office if you need help with this.