A jam session has its own etiquette and pacing, its momentary 'genre' and transient 'style.' The fun of a jam session is its unpredictability, its potential for truly fine music performed off-the-cuff by traditional musicians who share the art and the aesthetics of the genre, but may never have met before. Good Jams can truly be moments of grace.
Jam sessions, where musicians gather to share music, play casually with friends and acquaintances, meet and play with new musicians, and try out material, are the 'trade shows' of the traditional musical world. In the back rooms at oprys and at campsites at festivals, at specially scheduled meetings in designated meeting rooms -- whether musicians gather at a store or a 'picking barn' -- all you need to know is when and where, and you are welcome to go, to play, and to listen.
Jams are ephemeral events where magic sometimes happens: two or more musicians 'click' and create something special, and never-to-be-repeated; beginners play with, and learn from, old timers (and this may have nothing to do with a musician's age. A 70 year old beginner can learn from a 16 year old experienced pro) and a youngster can be validated and encouraged by a seasoned performer.