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LoarFest West - It's Happening at SuperGrass in Bakersfield, California - February 2-5, 2006

By Craig Wilson and Hal Johnson, Festival Co-Directors
September 11, 2005 - 5:00 pm

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SuperGrass - Bakersfield, California

SuperGrass - Bakersfield, California

"LoarFest West" has the specific objective of presenting background information on the development of the Lloyd Loar influenced Gibson F-5 , and its contribution to bluegrass and other acoustic styles of music. This will be the focal-opener for SuperGrass 2006. following is a preliminary schedule:

Thursday, February 2, 2006

12:00 1:30: A no-host luncheon
Enables the participants and attendees re-connect, set agendas, visit, catch-up and enjoy mandolin camaraderie.

1:30 2:30: Lloyd Loar mandolins on display
Tables will be provided on which Loar mandolin owners will have the opportunity to display their instruments. Folks will circulate, look at, inspect, possibly play if the owner allows, these unique instruments. Additional security will be provided.

2:30 - 4:00 "The Lore of the Loar"
The Loar F-5 has become the "Holy Grail" to many mandolin makers; getting something near the Loar sound has been an on-going discussion. A panel of historians and Loar specialists will discuss the mystique of the Loar, what is unique about it and its contribution to the growth in popularity of the mandolin. There will be Question and Answer at the end. The panelists are:

Scott Tichenor Panel Moderator Founder, Mandolin Cafe, musician In addition to creating an exciting mandolin-centric high traffic web site, Scott was a founding member of Last Kansas Exit, winner of the 1985 National Bluegrass Band Contest and has toured extensively as a representative of the Kansas Arts Commission and Mid-America Arts Alliance. He is also very visible in the annual MandoFest held in Kansas. Scott always looks forward to sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm for the world's finest and most versatile musical instrument with the mandolin community.

Darryl Wolfe F-5 Journal, historian, luthier, musician - For over twenty-five years, Darryl has collected and assembled a log book on vintage Gibson mandolins in addition to library research, photographing instruments, studying previously published data, and sharing information with other interested people. In the end this study provides significant in-depth information about the known Gibson F-5 Master Model mandolins and aids in the preservation of these fine American made instruments. He has owned many Gibson mandolins over the years, including four Lloyd Loar signed F-5's.

Roger Siminoff Historian, luthier, author - Roger is a virtual treasure-trove of Loar memorabilia. Not only has he conducted extensive research, and documented, the development of the Lloyd Loar F-5, through his friendship with Mrs. Loar, was able to acquire several of Mr. Loar's personal instruments. Roger's web site is a tour de force of Loar history as well as Orville Gibson. Roger has been prolific in his documentation and writing on acoustic music history and technology. In the mid 1970's he published Pickin' magazine and was the founding editor of Frets magazine launched in 1979. Of particular importance, Roger validates Loar's approach to "tuning" the various wood components of the Loar instruments.

Dan Beinborn Mandolin Archives, musician, archivist - Dan is the designer and operator of the Mandolin Archive, a repository of details on thousands of vintage Gibson mandolins. Lloyd Loar signed instruments were the first focus of this project, and continue to be one of the centerpieces of the web site. Dan works closely with Darryl Wolfe and several instrument dealers and collectors to expand the number of documented mandolins that appear in the F-5 Journal and in the Mandolin Archive. Dan is an active Celtic musician, currently completing his second CD.

Bruce Harvie Owner, Orcas Island Tone Woods Bruce is a musician, recording studio operator, luthier and tone-wood specialist. His interest in the Loar focuses more on the tone producing woods found in various Loar mandolins, what role the various tonewoods had in shaping the "Loar tone", and why a specific piece of wood may have been chosen for a particular instrument. Bruce's vast tone-wood experiences have taken him into the upper echelons of fine violins as well.

Charlie Derrington, Loar enthusiast, musician, master luthier. His remarkable restoration of Bill Monroe's mandolin after it was vandalized in 1985 is one of the most famous repair stories in modern luthiery. Some of the best Gibson instruments produced since Lloyd Loar left the building in 1925 bear his signature, and many of the finest players of today play instruments that were produced on his watch.

4:00 5:30: The Loar Ensemble
Recognized players of the Loar mandolin will demonstrate some of the characteristics of these great instruments that keep them coming back to their "special axe." Different styles of music will be demonstrated using these remarkable instruments. We have received agreement from a dazzling line-up of top notch mandolinists who have agreed to create the Loar Ensemble. They are: Mike Compton, Mike Marshall, John Reischman, Tom Rozum, and Tony Williamson. The Loar Ensemble will also be the closing act at the Thursday evening concert (9:00 pm). More information will follow as this great act comes together.

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