Rock & Roll Camp Returns to Pendleton Center for the Arts

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The 17th year of Rock & Roll Camp runs Aug. 8-12 at the Pendleton Center for the Arts (Photos by E.J. Harris)

In a little over four weeks the Carnegie Library building that houses the Pendleton Center for the Arts (PCA) will be overtaken by a cacophony of piercing electric-guitar riffs, hammered drum kits, and loud teens. And the staff can’t wait.

After two years of having Rock & Roll Camp being offered in a virtual setting to control the spread of COVID-19, PCA is opening the doors back up to almost one hundred 13-18 year-olds for a week-long immersive experience. The 17th year of Rock & Roll Camp runs Aug. 8-12 and is completely free. Teens do not have to reside in Pendleton, or Umatilla County to attend.

In 2006, PCA hosted its first Rock Camp, fueled by the passion of local musician and music promoter Peter Walters and fostered by then grant-writer J.D. Smith, and then Executive Director Jane Hill. The annual event has become part of the fabric of the community, and several camp alumni credit their involvement for the confidence and continued engagement with music they enjoy today.

Camp Director Addison Schulberg leads the campers during the 2019 Rock & Roll Camp.

2022 Camp Director Addison Schulberg started his relationship with Rock & Roll Camp as a 13-year-old. After attending all six years the program allowed, Schulberg went on to serve as a volunteer, then instructor, and now leads the group of 15-20 northwest musicians who pour their heart and soul into making sure that teens have a week they will always remember.

Teens have a wide variety of activities to choose from during the day camp. Activities begin at 9 a.m. and wrap up at 4 p.m. and include everything from songwriting, music performance, vocals, sound mixing, graphic design, and journalism. Those not interested in getting up on stage can focus on interviewing counselors and campers, taking photos, drawing, and all the other tasks that go into creating the camp Zine, a handmade booklet that documents the week and showcases the participants. The week culminates in a Showcase Concert on Main Street on Friday, Aug. 12 at 7 p.m.

Camp counselors will be staying at the newly renovated Motolodge in Pendleton, thanks to the support of the property owners. The property has served in years past as a home-base for the camp, and the stylish upgrades and refurbishing of the conveniently-located property are fitting as PCA welcomes counselors back in person after the difficult hiatus.

The counselors come from a range of indie bands from across Oregon and Idaho, and from as far away as New Mexico. All are touring musicians who have spent years not only perfecting their craft but also devoting time to helping teens foster their own love of music. Counselors also include topflight music journalists and writers like Casey Jarman and Michael Heald.

Acoustic and electric guitars, ukuleles, drum kits and other instruments are available for free loan during the camp. Teens are also encouraged to bring instruments they play, including strings and brass.

Registration is now open at PendletonArts.org or at the Pendleton Center for the Arts. Early registration is recommended, as the camp is limited to 100 participants. The Pendleton Center for the Arts is open Tuesday–Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday noon to 4 p.m.. More information is available by calling 541-278-9201, emailing director@pendletonarts.org, or in person at 214 North Main Street.