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cheap flights to Djangofest NW

KarenAnnKarenAnn Virginia✭✭
edited September 2012 in North America Posts: 55
Southwest is selling flights all the way from the east coast to seattle for $120 each way. Started today, ends thurs. $40 and $80 for shorter distances..
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  • bbwood_98bbwood_98 Brooklyn, NyProdigy Vladimir music! Les Effes. . Its the best!
    Posts: 519
    Karen,
    More then the flight- I'm concerned about where to stay cheap in whidby during that time- any leads?
    Ben
  • KarenAnnKarenAnn Virginia✭✭
    Posts: 55
    I have never gone, so don't know too much about that, Ben. I did hear there was a campground that people could stay in. But also that it is very rainy that time of year. There are a lot of rental houses on the island. I would imagine several of you guys could go in together on one to bring the cost down. There was also a cheaper hotel that was on the sponsor page. I found a studio apartment that I could rent for the week.
  • cbwimcbwim ✭✭✭
    Posts: 140
    Staying at and doing DjangoFest - badly needed advice for those who are new to this:

    I stay at the Harbor Inn Motel in Freeland, which is about a 15 minute drive west of Langley. Much cheaper, and available, and the town is much less proud of itself and thus cheaper and friendlier as far as restaurants etc.. My room was a little musty at the hotel but felt secure enough so I left my undeserved yet wonderful Shelley Park #250 there during concerts. Am going to stay there again this year (assuming I can afford to go and room is available - money is tight!). The woman running it is very nice. There is a groovy natural food grocer on the main highway a mile or two before, and a farmer's market nearby at 10AM on Saturday. Best time of the year for this though don't expect anything exotic - we have had the coolest spring ever and tomatoes will probably never ripen!

    I was able to cook my own breakfasts there, make a lunch, and only eat lightly for dinners. Actually, I don't remember ever dining out last year (I avoid salt and all the restaurants in Langley are way too high in sodium for me!). Plan to spend a lot of money if you dine out. Again, Langley is a little too proud of itself in this regard. Probably why the Cliff House closed. Nobody can afford it and it only was full during DjangoFest!

    If that hotel or others in Freeland are full, I'll feel up to camping this fall at the fairgrounds. If we get into El Nino conditions the weather will be best for camping. Dry and warm. Last year was just the opposite. Still, there is a great late night session there I have heard among the campers, with some of the Ranger and the Rearranger folks and others participating, the hot shots gone elsewhere. $18 a night, no reservations needed, self serve I think. The town is vague about this detail. Outhouses and showers. Bring a tent and bag or buy something cheap on your way from the airport at a WallMart or Costco before you get to the ferry, if you don't want to schlep these on the plane - and donate them to Goodwill or some homeless organization afterwards on your way back to the airport.

    Only problem is that the fairgrounds aren't secure for instruments and as the economy worsens, ditto for your car. Crime is dramatically on the increase in the rural areas outside of Seattle, thanks to the crappy economy, so nothing is sacred despite what the Langley Chamber of Commerce would have you believe. The culprits will travel 100-150 miles from where they live and rob you (happened just down my street) and instrument thefts are specifically on the rise unfortunately. There is a Facebook Post called "To the person who stole my archtop guitar" from Vancouver BC that has been going around lately.

    WICA of DFNW badly needs to set up some sort of secure instrument locker for DjangoFest participants. If I camp I'll leave my SP home and bring the old Kay archtop w/ cutout that I got on eBay for $400, or bring my loaned out fact 2nd Gitane. Might do that anyway and just not take any chances with the good one made by Shelley. The old Kay is solid wood, and quite nice in its own right. And no tragedy if absconded. Easy to find another one. Anyone interested in a DG250 petit bouche set up well for cheap, contact me at <!-- e --><a href="mailto:caseyburnsflutes@gmail.com">caseyburnsflutes@gmail.com</a><!-- e -->. I paid $450 for it and will let it go for less.

    Am waiting before I sign up for any of Rosenberg's classes or even order tickets - afraid that DjangoFest will pull another bait and switch like they did last year when Stochelo and Angelo cancelled a few weeks before. They do this by habit it seems. Paulus was great and so was Samson, even though I was the rank beginner in their classes. Doudou was the most supportive. I wish he was coming back - he'd be a great class leader rather than supporting Samson.

    But I'd rather wait and see - there is always room for more students in these. John Jorgensen is one of the best teachers I've had ever, and 100% reliable and the most approachable, and a great person to be with. Ditto for Michael Horowitz who runs DjangoBooks. If you are new to DjangoFest and playing this music, their classes would be the best place to start.

    Gonzalo was very good as a teacher though they should schedule him in the afternoons only, for his sake and the students' sake. I think he would have been a bit more forgiving with our mediocrity as guitar players, had he not woken up on the wrong side of the bed, right at the time our class was supposed to start (9:30 AM - give the poor guy a break! WICA is managed by people who wake up at 5AM every day, and they are clueless when setting up these class schedules)!

    Bring lots of money to buy recordings and books. I can't stress this enough. Also, buy lots of raffle tickets. Great guitars and other gear get raffled. Leave extra space in your baggage for the trip back home.

    None of the concerts filled up last year due to the economy and this year the economy is worse. But the best seats front and center always go quickly. Bring some good binoculars (10 X 20 minimum - go to discountbinoculars.com - they are great people who run a storefront called Out of This World in Mendocino CA and sell excellent optics, nothing crap, and have the best deals around. If you call, tell James that Casey sent you). But leave your recording devices (video cameras and digital recorders) at home, except for workshops and sessions.

    Another recommendation - bring some sort of soft seat cushion at least 2" thick, thicker is better. The auditorium next to WICA was built for kid grades 6th and under and the seats are really narrow and painful after the first hour, especially if you are plus sized (I'm about 52" at the waist). My lower back, hips, and thighs were really sore for days afterwards and my thighs had bruises where the 50s vintage cast iron seat dividers dug into them. I noticed all the locals brought cushions. Too bad they have the big concerts there rather than at the more superior high school auditorium with much better acoustics and wonderful seats. And ventilation. It was hard to stay awake during the concerts in that awful sauna next door to WICA! They probably pay less for it.

    Not sure if the Cliffhouse where the important late night sessions occur is reopened, or if the new management is open to this. Don't count on this venue. Anyone know the status?

    Something to watch out for in Langley while taking a break from DjangoFest: whales! Another reason to bring binos. There are some resident Grey Whales that regularly dredge for clams just off the beach some days. Also, there are a few new groups of Humpback Whales that have taken up residence near the south end of Whidbey down to Olympia, with some hanging out between Kingston (where I live 15 miles away from DjangoFest - but a 3 hour commute due to the two ferry rides required!) and the southern end of Whidbey. The humpbacks frequently breach. Also, Pacific White Side Dolphins, Common Dolphins, Orcas (of course) and Minke Whales, and a few rare ones that don't belong here even. The OrcaSound Network documents sightings daily. Two years ago I flew over the Greys and circled over them in a 1931 Stinson Monoplane, piloted by a local stunt pilot.

    Hope that this helps. There should be a guide somewhere on how to "do" Djangofest. Due to the fragmented nature of it where each event is its own specific event its hard to fathom for the uninitiated sometimes. I went two years before I figured out where some of the sessions occur and there are others I still know little about. Such a guide and other things like secure instrument storage would make this festival easier to enjoy - and more worth attending. Some years its simply been beyond my mental capacity, and I have sold my tickets away, unable to deal with ferry and lodging logistics (I was in poor health then, suffering from bad doctors). Coming from far away I imagine its much worse if the experience is new to you. Good luck!
  • KarenAnnKarenAnn Virginia✭✭
    Posts: 55
    Thanks Casey for the detailed descriptions. I had read through back posts to see what I could find out about it. This clears up quite a few questions for me. As a newbie, I had not planned to come this year. But decided to take the chance when I read Stochelo was coming. I will really be more of a concert person this time. But at least I will have a handle on how things work, when I get ready for the workshops, etc...
  • cbwimcbwim ✭✭✭
    Posts: 140
    Stochelo was here before and I had to miss it due to health reasons. Then he was booked for last year. But then a few weeks before, he canceled (along with Angelo Debarre). Paulus Schaefer was an excellent replacement - but I would have preferred Stochelo, having missed him previously. I hope he actually makes it here this year. I consider these bookings kind of tentative, as stuff like this happens every year.

    I find DjangoFest NW a difficult festival to do easily, due to its fragmented nature and having to deal with Langley, which seems a friendly town - provided you have the money and timing to enjoy their open arms. Usually everything hotel or B&B there gets booked a year ahead of time, and the prices they charge are much more than about everywhere else in NW Washington. It would be better to host DjangoFest in Seattle, where its easier to get to for everybody, services are easy to find and less expensive, and most could avoid the ferry hassle. Its too bad that WICA has this franchise in perpetuity.

    They (DFNW) badly need a FAQ of how to do this festival in the Langley environment - so hopefully my post will be a first draft, and others with more experience there can correct it, refine it and add to it here.

    Its ironic for me that its a hard one to figure out especially since getting there is odd for me, yet I live only 15 miles away. But each round trip from home to WICA involves 4 ferry rides. So, do I try to stay at home, or stay on the Island? It doesn't help that to get home at night I have to take the 10:30 off the island. The evening concerts are only half done by then (these go Looooonnnnngggggg).

    So last year I was feeling extravagant with a little inheritance money. Ordered a Shelley Park guitar (her #250th) that I probably don't deserve and will never play like Birelli, got some other hardware that I have yet to use (Stimer stuff) and paid my way at DjangoFest, including lodging. This year my old Gitane will pay my way, unless I decide to donate it for the DFNW raffle (they have to get back to me on this).

    I'm sort of planning to do DjangoFest as a minimalist cheapskate again. Avoiding all salty restaurants (The Edgecliff is now under new management and who knows if there will be Djamming there). I'll camp out in a pup tent even if raining, and only go for 2-3 concerts and maybe one or two workshops.

    Casey
  • KarenAnnKarenAnn Virginia✭✭
    Posts: 55
    Casey, I think I am of a different mindset than you. I think you deserve the best you can possibly afford. So what if you never play like Bireli. Why should you not get to play something that sounds as wonderful as your Shelley Park. To me the pleasure of the sound is what makes all the practice worth it. I have only been playing since last year. And my teacher encouraged me to go for a Dupont as it would fit my hands well. And it does and sounds great, even with me playing. And if I ever want to sell it, they hold their value well. Besides, that is what the charge cards are for. The important stuff....

    Langley reminds me a lot of going to the outer banks of NC. There is is only one way in and a ferry to the lower part. I bet it is frustrating to live so close and take so long to get there. But it sure seems you live in a very pretty part of our country. When we go down to NC, several of us rent a house together. I would think that would be the smart thing to do at Langley. There were plenty available in April when I checked. But most were too large for my needs. But if several of you guys went together you could drop your costs. I do hope Stochelo comes. I believe he will because he is trying to build the Rosenberg Academy. Although right now it is kinda on hold. Stochelo is too busy touring to post a new lesson yet. Also with Mr. Eimer coming, I betting the odds are good. I already have my tickets...

    I am looking at this trip as my vacation for the year. I can't think of a better one. I plan to absorb all that I can while out there. Where else would I ever get the opportunity to hear 8 GJ concerts in less than a week? And the folks at WICA have been very nice to deal with. Thanks again for the info. I love long concerts. I could go till dawn...........
  • KarenAnnKarenAnn Virginia✭✭
    Posts: 55
    Btw, I meant to tell you John Jorgenson gave me my first GJ lesson. He is a friend of my teacher. And gave a beginning workshop. My teacher encouraged me to come. And at 2 1/2 months, I was clueless. I did understand the chords but had no concept of how to play that kind of rhythm. And I showed up with a thumb pick too. My teacher had said I should try playing with one to see how I liked it. And I had just bought it that day. I was the only girl and only grown up and wanted to crawl under the chair. But you are right. Mr. Jorgenson is a super nice guy...
  • redbluesredblues ✭✭
    Posts: 456
    Thank you for the advice on DFNW, a mate and I have planned, the next windfall, is to do both Django in June and then DFNW by car. Landscape and weather wise the NW of the USA is possibly one of the most beautiful places on the planet, adding some gypsy jazz is just a win win.
  • PhilPhil Portland, ORModerator Anastasio
    Posts: 665
    redblues wrote:
    Landscape and weather wise the NW of the USA is possibly one of the most beautiful places on the planet....
    Landscape yes, after the Yorkshire Dales, :) , weather wise...come stay in the NW between November and May and see if you can stick the long gloomy rainy season! ~ :mrgreen:
  • cbwimcbwim ✭✭✭
    Posts: 140
    KarenAnn, I do really enjoy my Shelley Park #250 no doubt about it! And I can't stress the importance of rank beginners such as myself going out and finding the best instruments available. Its what keeps the instrument makers alive (I know since I make wooden flutes for Irish music for a living).

    Weather here in September is usually dry though by late September you are taking chances. Night times you can expect a heavy dew if its clear, with brisk mornings in the upper 30s to low 40s. Overcast mornings its not so bad. In the afternoons it can still get up to the 80s with sometimes an uncomfortable (for us) mugginess.

    The potential for that time of the year is worth watching. We had one of the worst storms ever on Oct 12, 1962. 110 mph winds.

    A great blog for following the Pacific Northwest Weather can be found at cliffmass.blogspot.com

    Casey
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