Tips and Tricks

How to Get the Most out of Midwest Banjo Camp

See also Tips on the Program

- Location: Camp is at Olivet College. Directions are available through the web site. Or, use this address:

320 S. Main St
Olivet, MI 49076

to put into your GPS or print from your favorite online map program,
e.g Google Maps, Map Quest

- Check-in is on the ground floor of the C.S. Mott Academic Center, which is where the classrooms are located. Basically, go in the main entrance and it's one flight down by stairs or elevator (just follow the signs). If you are arriving late in the evening, go directly to Shipherd Hall (across the street to the south of Mott). Signs there will direct you to the Olivet student in charge who will have your room key for you.  Check in for the Full Camp begins at 3:00pm on Thursday; check in for the Weekend-Only option begins at 11am on Friday.

- Parking: There is absolutely no parking problem at Olivet. Spaces are available around the Shipherd Hall and Dole Hall dormitories, near the Kirk Cafeteria, and several other locations. For parking locations, see the map.

Linens & Bedding: Students staying in the dormitories must either supply their own linens and bedding, or rent a set from Olivet College (the charge is $12 per set). To order a set of linens in advance, simply check the appropriate box in the housing section of the registration form. (NOTE: We strongly recommend you bring your own linens, pillow, blanket, and personal items as you will be more comfortable with them than the college-supplied bedding. The mattress size is 38” x 80”, extra-long twin sheets.
 Even if renting linens, you may want to bring your own pillow and pillowcase for a little at-home comfort.)

The linen sets rented from Olivet come with the following items:

  • pillow and blanket
  • 2 sheets & 1 pillow case
  • 2 bath towels & washcloth
  • Packet containing shampoo, cream rinse, body wash & drinking cup

Students staying in the dormitories must either supply their own linens and bedding, or rent a set from Olivet College (the charge this year is $12 per set). To order a set of linens in advance, simply check the appropriate box in the housing section of the registration form.

- General Logistics: There is air-conditioning in the Shipherd Hall Dorm, the classrooms, dining room, and auditorium. Assignment to Shipherd Hall is on a first-come-first served basis. There is no air-conditioning in the other dorms. Note that you will have to walk outdoors from both dorms to the Mott Academic Center where classes are located, and at mealtimes you'll have to walk about three minutes across a central quad between Mott and the Kirk Cafeteria. If you're assigned to Shipherd, you just have to walk across the street to get to Mott. From Dole Hall, you have to walk across the quad to get to Mott.

- Those with Difficulty Walking: Students who have difficulty walking, please contact us ahead of time. We have been promised that a golf cart -- driven by Olivet students -- will be made available at mealtimes and perhaps at other times as well.

- Be Prepared for the Climate: Although seasonal averages for early June in Michigan indicate otherwise, we have sometimes had warm, muggy weather during Camp. Although the weather at Camp the last few years has been quite mild, we still strongly recommend that you come prepared with an adequate supply of shorts, T-shirts, and other warm-weather gear. Do carry a sweater or light jacket with you in case they crank up the a/c too far. We also recommend that you have with you a light waterproof jacket with a hood, in the event of rain. Above all, MONITOR THE WEATHER REPORTS for Olivet, Michigan before departing for camp.

- If you are assigned (or choose to be in) a dorm with no a/c, we recommend that you bring a small fan along to make your sleeping conditions more comfortable.

- Bring a Gig Bag?: Camp logistics dictate that you'll be carrying your instrument around quite a bit throughout the course of the weekend. Unless you are comfortable carrying it around in a hard case, you might want to consider bringing a "gig bag" (soft padded carrying case) so that transporting your banjo will be more comfortable. Of course, we recommend that the gig bag you use be substantial enough to afford your instrument a reasonable degree of protection. Elderly Instruments will be selling merchandise in the vendor store and will endeavor to have an assortment of gig bags and other items for sale at Camp.

- Instrument Check-In: We will provide instrument check-in, staffed by volunteers, for portions of the day where we think it will be most needed (these times will be announced at camp). Although we are providing this service, we are concerned that if everybody uses it at once this could become a major bottleneck. In other words, if 200 people want to check their instruments before lunch and uncheck them after lunch, we unfortunately have neither the staff nor the facilities to deal smoothly with this volume. In order to keep this situation from getting out of hand, we have a request. If you are staying in the dorm, and carrying your instrument is not a huge hardship, please park it in your dorm room during meals and concerts, or simply carry it around with you. Similarly, those commuters who don't mind carrying their instruments are also requested to hold on to them.

- Please Note: Instrument check-in is provided as a courtesy. Although we will make every effort to secure your instruments while they are under our care, and we fully expect them to be safe, ultimately we can not be responsible for their safety.

Recording Devices Many of our instructors teach by ear, so we strongly recommend that you bring recording devices to listen at home to the tunes and techniques you learned at Camp. Nowadays your smart phones have built-in recording features that are surprisingly good; otherwise there are quite a number of excellent inexpensive dedicated recording devices on the market.

Other Music Related Items to Bring To Camp We strongly recommend that you bring the following items with you to camp: an electronic tuner, a music stand, capos (at least two, in case you lose one), at least two sets of spare strings, and (if you use them) lots of spare picks. If you do forget any of these items, never fear; you can pick them up at the store that Elderly Instruments runs on site.

- Emergency Phone Numbers: For real emergencies, call 911. The Campus Safety number at Olivet College is 269-749-7911. Other useful numbers will be provided later and/or may be published in your programs.

- Vegetarian Meals: There will be vegetarian options available as part of our regular meal service and these will be clearly labeled as such.

- Other Special Diets: Vegans and those with food allergies or special diets can usually be accommodated by the Olivet kitchen. Be sure to mention your dietary needs on the registration form. Then - either upon arrival or at the start of your first meal at MBC - also talk to the food service people at Kirk Cafeteria.

- Meal Tickets: Commuters who don't have meal tickets may purchase individual meal tickets at the Cafeteria (as may Weekend Only attendees ). Other Places to Eat: There are other meal options in downtown Olivet and environs (see below).

- Downtown Olivet (a short walk from campus) offers a coffee shop and a corner restaurant sells pizza, ice cream and offers a full Itialian menu. There are also some eating options in the opposite direction, including a Subway and a sports bar.

- There are numerous places to eat in Charlotte (c. 10 miles North on I-69) and Marshall (c. 10 miles South on I-69).

- Email Lists in the Program Booklet: We intend to print all students' names and email addresses in the program booklet. If you do NOT wish to have your name and email address printed in the booklet, please email us at May 20.

- Audio and Video Taping in Class: We feel that having the opportunity to tape at least portions of your classes is a valuable learning tool, but as a courtesy YOU MUST REQUEST PERMISSION FROM YOUR INSTRUCTORS.

- Taping at the Faculty Concert: Students may record the concert on personal recording devices provided that their set-ups are relatively simple and do not interfere with other audience members' ability to enjoy the proceedings. We do ask that no audio or video recordings made of artists at MBC be posted on the internet without their permission. Those who come up with good footage are urged to send us copies for possible use on the web site (we too will get permission of the artists involved, of course).

- Visiting Elderly Instruments: Many students have inquired when Elderly Instruments might be available to visit. Elderly will have instruments, accessories, and an assortment of other things at MBC. For students who wish to visit the store the normal business hours are Thursday (11am to 9pm), Friday (10am - 6pm), and Saturday (10am - 6pm). The store is not open Sunday.