‘The young people we have each time are inspirational! Blues Boot Camp is a two-day workshop engaging 30 – 40, 13-25 year-old students. We encourage teamwork, communication, and cooperation. It’s about music industry skills including OH&S, group and ensemble tuition, we talk about marketing, responsible use of social media, stagecraft, sound reinforcement, song writing and of course – performance. The public outcome is a performance with both students and tutors.’ We hear from founder Wayne Jury.
‘It started while I was the Music Director of the Echuca Winter Blues Festival. The first Blues Boot Camp was in July 2009 in Echuca just prior to the festival, in fact we opened the festival with the Blues Boot Camp concert featuring all the participants. It was a full house.
‘There were a lot of teenagers in the district with a passion for music but not a lot of avenues to express it. I was bringing 150 musicians to Echuca for the festival and I thought let’s get a few musicians a few days before the festival and we’ll do some workshops for those teenagers. This year will be the 10th anniversary!
‘The first Blues Boot Camp in the Geelong area was in 2013 at the Potato Shed in Drysdale and thanks to the support of the City of Greater Geelong Arts and Culture Department, I’ve been able to run one each year since. The Courthouse Youth Arts has also hosted Blues Boot Camps in 2013 and 2015.
‘The young people we have each time are inspirational. Their talent and commitment contribute to making great music and great friends. I not only get to work with these brilliant young people but also the amazing tutors. Between myself, Sarah Carroll, Sweet Felicia, Tim Neal, Michael Pollitt, Dave Robertson, and Chris Wilson, we have 200 years of experience in the Industry. The students have access to a living library.
‘There have been well over 600 kids and young adults attend Blues Boot Camp, and that’s not double counting the kids that have been back a few times. I get many wonderful emails from parents whose kids have attended telling me how much their kids have been inspired and come out of their shell since participating in Blues Boot Camp.
‘I know this will sound like a cliché but every boot camp has many memorable moments. To see young people go from being shy and introverted to stepping onto a public stage and opening their hearts during a performance is a spine tingling experience for me. During the workshops there is laughter and sometimes tears but life for a musician is like that – exhilarating and heartbreaking.
‘At the moment there are two Blues Boot Camps a year. One is in Echuca the last week of July and the other is in early January at the Potato Shed in Drysdale. The best way to find out more is via the website:’ www.bluesbootcamp.com.au
Photos Supplied: The January Blues Boot Camp group with tutor Sarah Carroll. Wayne Jury (foreground) and Michael Pollitt (tutor).
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