Vesta & Kid Campers
JUNE 17 to 22, 2018
Celebrating 32 years
of fiddlin' fun!
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MISSION: The Bethel Youth Fiddle Camp was established in 1986 with the goal of promoting an inter-generational learning experience in a pastoral small town setting with minimal modern distractions in which young people could be tutored in the art of Missouri old-time fiddling by the master players of the day. The camp  is organized to provide mostly one-on-one instruction in fiddle playing, along with traditional square dancing. Since its inception the Camp has provided this opportunity for literally hundreds of young people. Many have continued to practice this art as adults and have even returned as master instructors. Fiddling is a lifelong pursuit, hobby and for some a way of life!
The Youth Fiddle Camp this year runs from Sunday, June 17 to Friday, June 22. The fee for the Youth Fiddle Camp is $350.

LOCATION: Bethel is small hamlet of 122 people (2010 U.S. Census) nestled in the rolling farm land in Shelby County, Northeast Missouri. It's an ideal location for studying the old tunes and immersing yourself in its history.
Where is Bethel Missouri
The town was founded as a utopian colony in 1844 by Dr Wilhelm Keil, a Prussian-born preacher. He and his followers, who were almost exclusively German immigrants to America, believed that the Christians should hold all property and means of production in common and they organized their Colony accordingly. No longer a religious organization, the Colony organization exists now to insure the preservation of the many historic buildings, of which Bethel is "chock-full". These historic structures from the 1800 along with the performance "barn" serve as the teaching spaces.
Wilhelm Keil
Wilhelm Keil - One severe old 19th Century dude,
but he doesn't come to camp anymore.
Kid campers are housed in several of the buildings, which have been converted to accommodations, used for the Fiddle Camp and other cultural activities held in Bethel throughout the year. An on-site staff chaperone sees to the young-uns at night.

Sumptuous stick-to-your-ribs Midwestern farm fare is served in the Bethel German Colony Fest Hall restaurant.
INSTRUCTORS (subject to change):
Vesta Johnson of Kirkwood, MO grew up surrounded by traditional music. Her driving fiddling inspires dancers and musicians of all ages. Vesta started playing the fiddle at age seven and has a repertoire comprised of both standard rare tunes and familiar hoedowns.
Steve Hall is a talented multi-instrumentalist. As Vesta’s grandson, he grew immersed in Missouri’s musical traditions. Whether playing fiddle, mandolin or guitar he is a fantastic addition to any band or jam session. More info at
Angie Lennie from Iowa and a former Bethel camper she brings not only her talent, but a background of experience and tunes learned at former camps from some of the best Masters in the field. She's traveled the United States taking old time music to audiences of all ages at festivals, fairs, concerts, dances, schools, libraries, camps, radio and TV programs.
Liz Amos followed Bob Holt and the Ava dancers home from Bethel years ago and spent the following five years fiddling and dancing twenty-seven hours a day (according to some.)  Guided by Bob's principle that "you've gotta give the dancers a place to put their foot down," her fiddling is driven by her love of dancing. Liz is the Artistic Director for the Kids Camp.
Kenny Applebee is one of the most sought after guitar players at fiddle contests in Missouri and the Mid-South. His tasteful choice of chords and impeccable rhythm make the accompanist of choice for many of today's traditional fiddlers.
John P. Williams, a former camper has been teaching fiddle for several years. He studied with some of the best Masters in the Midwest and has developed his own unique style. He is the living exponent of music from fiddlers such as Pete McMahan and Nile Wilson.
REGISTRATION: Ok, enough about how cool the Bethel Fiddle Camp is...HOW DO YOU REGISTER???
Just click the links below to print out the forms and information you need and send to the address indicated.
Youth Camp Registration Form
Youth Scholarship Application
Youth Health Form
Potential Youth Camper Letter
Weekend Event Info
CONTACT: For more information contact

Wendy Brumbaugh (

Camp Director

Historic Bethel German Colony

127 North Main

Bethel, MO  63434


Mo Arts Council Logo This event is sponsored by the Historic Bethel German Colony, private donations and the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.
The information on this website is provided for informational and educational purposes only by the Missouri State Old Time Fiddlers Association. All content subject to change without notice. For any issues related to this page please contact the webmaster at