I attended Django in June in 2008 and it was a wonderful introduction to the GJ style, which I'd always loved but never seemed to get very far with. I basically followed Michael Horowitz around all week and took every single one of his classes, then of course purchased his "Gypsy Picking" and worked hard on it when I got home. Now after four years of hard work, I'm starting to feel like I can claim to be an intermediate GJ player! I certainly wouldn't claim to be advanced! But now I feel at least competent enough to attend Django in June again as a "competent" as opposed to "incompetent" player.
One aspect of Django in June back then which I'm hoping can be improved is the fact that every jam session somehow ended up turning into a huge circle of twenty or more players!
This wasn't great for me then because I was pretty shy as a novice about soloing in front of all those great players. But now that I'm not a novice player any more, I still wouldn't really care for that kind of playing setting for two reasons...
1) I'm not really into playing rhythm for 19 or 20 choruses while awaiting my turn to solo.
2) What I'm really hoping for is the kind of intimate two-or-three player jam session where if somebody plays a really cool lick, you can stop them and say, "Wow! How did you do THAT!" and they'll show you.
I've been tossing around ideas in my mind to talk to about with Andrew Lawrence, the festival organizer, to set up a situation designed to favour the small jam session: Perhaps some sort of designated area where everybody knows that the number of participants is limited?
I don't know if I'm the only one thinking along these lines, but if anyone else who's planning to attend Django in June 2012 wants to get together on this and talk to Andrew, that'd be great!
Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."
Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."