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Thread: My First Festival - which one?

  1. #1

    Default My First Festival - which one?

    So, I haven't been playing all that long and because I live under a rock in the Middle East I've only recently learned of what a cool community exists around bluegrass and roots music. I want to come to the USA and go to at least 1 festival or camp this summer.

    What are some of the ones that you really like, that you would recommend are fun and welcoming to a newcomer and not-very-skilled player?

    Thanks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: My First Festival - which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by BadExampleMan View Post
    So, I haven't been playing all that long and because I live under a rock in the Middle East I've only recently learned of what a cool community exists around bluegrass and roots music. I want to come to the USA and go to at least 1 festival or camp this summer.

    What are some of the ones that you really like, that you would recommend are fun and welcoming to a newcomer and not-very-skilled player?

    Thanks.
    Walnut Valley Music Festival
    Jacob Hagerty, Hagerty Mandolins

    James Moodie #8
    Michael Fraser #5
    Jacob Hagerty #1,#2,#3
    1918 Gibson A1
    https://www.facebook.com/hagertymandolins/
    http://foggymemory.com
    http://www.youtube.com/j87571

  3. #3
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    Default Re: My First Festival - which one?

    Go to your first one that is nearest to your home.

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  5. #4
    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: My First Festival - which one?

    Ahhh....He lives in the Middle East.

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    Default Re: My First Festival - which one?

    When you are back in the US, where will you be? There are lots of little festivals, and they can be lots of fun, but aren't well known outside their area.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: My First Festival - which one?

    Ghost Ranch, New Mexico

  8. #7

    Default Re: My First Festival - which one?

    My first stop is actually Hawai'i, so from there I can pretty much go anywhere on the mainland. I know that isn't much help to narrow it down. :-)

    I do have an internet-never-met-f2f friend in upstate NY. What's around there?

    Bill Findley, the Ghost Ranch looks like EXACTLY the kind of thing I'd hope to find. The only problem is that weekend is the Jacob's Ladder festival in Israel, and I'm already committed for that. Ain't that always the way?

  9. #8

    Default Re: My First Festival - which one?

    I answered my own question about upstate NY: Grey Fox. (Yes, Google is a thing!)

    It looks way bigger than I was thinking of, but on the other hand it's a chance to see I'm With Her again. I see from a forum search that many have been there in previous years. What are your experiences?

  10. #9
    Registered User JAK's Avatar
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    Default Re: My First Festival - which one?

    California Bluegrass Association's Fathers Day Festival, mid June, Grass Valley, CA, 4 days, best in the west! (check CBA website for details) Beginners to the professionals can be found, EVERYWHERE.
    John A. Karsemeyer

  11. #10

    Default Re: My First Festival - which one?

    I guess it depends what level of learning you would like to engage in.

    Camps will offer more instruction, lots of picking opportunities, and some shows typically by instructors (who can be really great heroic players).

    Festival is going to offer endless picking (depending on which one you pick), endless shows, and maybe some workshops for instruction.

    So, really depends what you are trying to get out of the experience. I went to Swannanoa Gathering a couple years ago and it was amazing. Some of the classes do fill up though, so best to check.

    There are also some camps that happen before festivals such as the Mount Targhee Bluegrass Festival/Camp where you could do both.

  12. #11
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: My First Festival - which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by BadExampleMan View Post
    I do have an internet-never-met-f2f friend in upstate NY. What's around there?
    Upstate NY is pretty big and you haven't given us any idea of time frame when you will be in the US.

    Some of the nicest gatherings are the low key mostly old time ones we attend. There is not really a stage or big names or even performances just a bunch of people gathering to play together. One of my favorites—and once again mostly old time music—is the
    Black Creek Fiddlers Reunion over Memorial Day Weekend near Albany, NY. They even have some informal workshops on various instruments.
    Jim

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    Default Re: My First Festival - which one?

    My emphatic answer is Walnut Valley Festival or Winfield as most call it. I have been to many great festivals around the country from time to time but I literally plan my personal and professional life around the 3rd week in September at Winfield. The whole festival is one big community and there is no campfire where a stranger is not welcome. Big variety in the stage acts and there is a great chance some of the best music you will hear that week is in the camp grounds.
    It doesn't matter . . . I'm going to WINFIELD!!!!!

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