About the Wellington Bluegrass Society

The Wellington Bluegrass Society has been in existence since 1990. From the beginning the emphasis has been to support and foster bluegrass and old time music in a friendly and appreciative environment for music lovers. The WBS also attracts performers of other styles of acoustic music. Contact details on this contact page.

A sample of music – Winnie Winston playing his track “Nashville to Bakersfield” from his album “Misty Morn”.


All meetings are held at 54 Richmond Street, Petone, a meeting room adjacent to the Petone Community Library – plenty of free parking in the Library car park.  (Note – this address is not the mailing nor courier address for the Society. Please send a request by email if you require a mailing address.)

Workshops and the regular second Sunday jam sessions are held at the Petone Community House – 6 Britannia Street, Petone.

For a location map for the venue, click on the Google Map link below:

Venue Location (then click on the “+” button to zoom in on the map)

The WBS has been meeting at this venue since the outset in 1990. We use this venue as it has fine acoustics – essential for bluegrass in its native state and for unamplified performance which is predominantly the case with Society nights. The venue also has excellent facilities which suit our style of gatherings – a kitchen, foyer, good location and easy access. There is plenty of free parking adjacent to the venue and also in the adjacent streets.

The Wellington Bluegrass Society provides several types of functions – Society nights, concerts, workshops and jam sessions. These feature performing artists – whether solo or groups, featuring bluegrass where possible but also extending to fine acoustic entertainment – the best that New Zealand has to offer or indeed internationally. The format of these functions are:

Society nights – held year round on the third Friday of the month. They start at 8:00pm with a Guest Spot by a feature artist or group. The Guest Spot is half a concert, i.e. 45 minutes. This is followed by a tea and coffee break then support acts and a jam session for one and all. Admission is generally $20 for general admission, $15 for members or children – includes tea and coffee. Door sales only. (There is also an occasional ‘blackboard’ concert without a featured Guest Spot.)

Concerts – by arrangement and typically on Saturdays, starting at 8:00pm, featuring a group or artist performing two sets of 45 minutes, with a tea and coffee break in between. Tickets are generally $30 for general admission, $25 for members or children – includes tea and coffee.  Ticket prices may be higher for some concerts. Concerts may be pre-booked with door open for them at 7:20pm. Otherwise door sales on the day from 7:50pm.

Occasional Special Workshops – by arrangement and typically held in conjunction with either a Society night or concert. Two hours duration, featuring a group workshop on an instrument played by the tutor where the tutor has featured in the associated Society night or concert. Cost to be advised for each such special workshop – includes tea and coffee. Bookings are essential.  These are hosted by the Wellington Bluegrass Society and held at the Petone Community House.

Old time and bluegrass music jam sessions
These are hosted by the Wellington Bluegrass Society and held at the Petone Community House between 2 pm and 5 pm on the second Sunday of each month. The jam sessions focus on Old-Time Music and Bluegrass Music. Admission is free and booking is not necessary.

The old-time jam will be the first half (2:00-3:30pm) and bluegrass jam the second half (3:30-5:00pm).  You can come for one. or the other, or both!

Regular Banjo Workshops – These are hosted by the Wellington Bluegrass Society and held at the Petone Community House between 2 pm and 4 pm on the second Sunday of each month. These banjo workshops focus on Old-Time Music (clawhammer banjo) and Bluegrass Music (bluegrass banjo). Admission is $40 – includes tea and coffee. Bookings are essential.

WBS Bar & catering – the WBS runs a licenced bar, which allows you to purchase a glass of quality New Zealand red or white wine and a range of boutique beers. Our licence does not allow for BYO. At every function the kitchen provides complimentary Dilmah tea, coffee, quality cakes, biscuits, savouries and slices. You may also purchase locally produced quality soft drinks and juice. Cash sales only.

WBS email circulation list – The easiest way to be notified of all events is to sign up for the WBS email circulation list. This is free to one and all. Please send an email to bluegrass(at)xtra.co.nz. Provide your name – first name and surname, a landline phone number where you can be contacted, and please state that you are responding to the website invite to join the WBS email list, and you will receive a reply by email welcoming you to the list. From there on you will receive the WBS email news, which comes out around the beginning of the month, with reminders sent a few days prior to each event through the month.

Membership – There are two ways to become a “member” of the WBS. “Member” means life membership, which is awarded to those who either perform as a Guest on Society nights(not concerts) or to those who attend Society night meetings for a year continuously or the equivalent thereof(i.e. 12 times). The WBS does not collect subs nor has an annual membership.

National Treasures – for details on the WBS National Treasures, see the National Treasures page.

The Founder and President of the Society is Andrew Bicknell.   Announced in the Queens Birthday Honours on Monday 3rd June 2019, Andrew was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for thirty years of services to music!

“I am very happy to receive this award. I am most grateful to whoever nominated me and feel this is a celebration of all involved in bluegrass and old time music, and am so happy to share my passion with so many! Including artists, those who help in many ways to run the shows, and the general public alike, this has been a wonderful journey so far and I fully intend to continue for many years ahead. From the very start in August 1990, there have been so many involved in the Wellington Bluegrass Society, so many performers and people helping to run events… all of whom have been appreciated, it is a celebration for us all”.                                  (photo by Donald Laing)

to become a fan of WBS on Facebook click on the WBS Facebook link.

and to see a selection of WBS videos click on the WBS YouTube Video link

Wellington Bluegrass Society, Petone New Zealand
for good fun and fine music !