DC Bluegrass Union VFW Bluegrass Jams
At the Takoma Park
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 350
, 6420 Orchard Ave, Takoma Park, MD
20912, 301-270-8008. The VFW Post is at the corner of Orchard Ave and 4th
Ave, just a few blocks from the intersection of New Hampshire Ave and
Eastern Ave. Please show appreciation for the VFW Post's kindness in
providing a venue for the Jam by being generous to your bartender,
especially when we continue playing later than 10:00 PM.
On the first and third Mondays of each month. Nominally the jams go from
7:00-10:00 PM but if people want to continue we sometimes keep going after
No, there are no jams on the fifth Mondays of the month.
No, the jams are free.
Musicians of all levels of ability are welcome, as are those who simply
want to come and listen. We get everyone from the rankest beginners to
full-time professional musicians. The jams have something to offer everyone
who comes; good musicians get a chance to have a good time with fellow
jammers, and novices are supported and encouraged. Children may come but
they must be supervised. As the VFW is a bar, minors who come must
not drink alcohol and should avoid drawing attention to their age.
We all stand in a big circle around a table and take turns. Some stand
in the front row and some in the back. As we go around the circle, each
person has a chance to choose a song (or instrumental). If a beginner wants
to play an instrumental really slowly, then that's what we do. If you're
not comfortable with your playing, stand in the back; and if you don't want
a turn just say, "I pass." No need to feel pressured.
No. Some try to sing different songs every time we get together, but others
have shorter lists that they repeat more often. Best would be to learn to
play songs by ear. Listen to a bluegrass station like bluegrasscountry.org,
105.5 FM in Reston VA, 93.5 FM in Frederick and Hagerstown MD, or Sirius
XM, and try to play along.
Acoustic instruments are used. Guitar, mandolin, banjo, dobro,
fiddle, bass fiddle, and sometimes harmonica (if they're good). No drums,
no electrified instruments such as pedal steels. (Electric bass is the
exception.) I host the jams and play bass fiddle, but as a representative
of the DCBU my job is to make all pickers feel welcome, so if another bass
player comes I let him or her trade off or even play the majority of the
This is a bluegrass jam, but country, pop, rock, and folk songs may be
acceptable if played in a bluegrass style. We ask only that you choose a
song at least vaguely bluegrass-related, and easy to follow.
Yes, a few days ahead of each jam, I send out an email notification.
I maintain an email list, and also send the notification to DCAB-L.
To be added to the list, send an email to
You may if you wish, but it's not necessary.
The VFW Post is a bar. Since it's a bar, it's not polite to bring your
own drink. Also, since the VFW Post is defined as a private club for tax
purposes, guests must sign in (this is the law). The signin sheet is to
the right immediately upon entering the door. Please show appreciation
for the VFW Post's kindness in providing a venue for the Jam by being
generous to your bartender, especially when we continue playing later
than 10:00 PM.
No, the VFW Post serves drinks but no food, so plan to eat before you come.
Yes. The closest Metro Station is the Takoma Station on the Red Line. At
Takoma Station, walk to Bus Bay D. Take the F1 Bus towards Cheverly Station.
Get off at the stop at Eastern Ave and Tuckerman St NE. From there, walk to
6420 Orchard Ave, Takoma Park, at the corner of Orchard Ave and 4th Ave
(about 0.2 mi.)
Last updated 1/30/2016