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 Playing Advice: 4-String (Jazz, Blues & Other Trad Styles)
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Conventions


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/146953

PHIL WILKING - Posted - 05/02/2009:  08:48:43


I see questions and comments on topics of all levels here, and that's good.
Nothing beats face-to-face conversation and discussion, however.

Beginners especially would profit from attending some of the banjo conventions which are held around the country. You'll find some really awesome players, almost every one of whom will happily take the time to explain and demonstrate stuff to you; lessons which would cost much more than the price of the convention if you went to them in the normal course of business.

There is one in New Orleans in a couple of weeks (details at www.nolabanjo.com ) and the "Resonator" has a web site which lists them for all year.

Phil Wilking

neplusultra - Posted - 05/02/2009:  11:54:01


Excellent thread, Phil. Despite the reduction in number over the years...we sure miss the Southland Banjorama and Los Angeles Banjo Spectacular...there are some great banjo shows. When I was a kid, going to a banjo show was like Christmas, Easter and the 4th of July all wrapped up in one awesome weekend. I remember catching Don Van Palta warming up in the hallway, Buddy Wachter at the jam session on Saturday and I got to spend an hour with Maurice Bolyer as he warmed up in a side room before his performance. All of them the nicest people, glad to answer questions and show tips and tricks.

The Sacramento Banjo-Rama was fantastic this year...Kurt Abel and his Rhythm Knickers, Dave Frey's Southtown Strutters and Bill Lowrey & Steve Peterson. Coming up on the west coast is a new banjo show in Moraga, California hosted by the East Bay Banjo Club on June 14th.

Also, the Banjo Stompers from Tokyo will be headlining the Peninsula Banjo Band's Banjo Jubilee on Sept. 13th. Info can be found on the band's web-site...www.peninsulabanjoband.org

Compass56 - Posted - 05/04/2009:  03:57:44


Those banjo conventions are apparently great for others, but they are totally not my thing. I went to one once, and I doubt I'll ever go to another one

NYCJazz - Posted - 05/04/2009:  08:07:52


I'm with you 100%, Tony.

Over the years, I've tried attending a few of these events, but it seems like I always come away feeling snubbed. I've always assumed it's because I'm a youngster (50!), but maybe it's because I don't attend all of them.

The last event I went to was last year's Early Spring Banjo Fling near Boston. Cynthia was headlining, so I got to meet Dave Frey, Steve Caddick, and got to jam with Cynthia and Tom Stuip. Apart from that, I felt like I was invisible.

I was explaining it to Cynthia, and she couldn't understand my position. Of course, she has a different view because A) She's an amazing talent, and B) She's an attractive woman in a hall full of "mature" guys. Another one of Cynthia's students totally backed me up, and Cynthia was visibly bummed!

Anyway, I'm looking to attend the Bix Fest this July. Cynthia is playing, and I'm thinking maybe an event with a diversity of instruments might be better for me.



The Banjo savors strongly of the plantations through which the back streets of New York City run. ~ Joel Chandler Harris, 1883

neplusultra - Posted - 05/04/2009:  13:06:45


Compass and NYC...I understand your sentiments. Sadly, the 4-string world is rife with its own political issues. There is a bit of an art to the shows...first and foremost, you need to understand the objectives of the show. For example, the Peninsula Banjo Jubilee is all about the big Sunday show for the publlic and raising money for charity. (which means, not a lot of playing time for the bands and a very restricted list of performers...I believe Cynthia was out to play this in the late 90's...that's where I picked up the one CD I have of hers)...sadly, there is not a lot of jamming scheduled, but plenty of places where it could happen if the right people showed up.

FIGA is more about vendors and workshops...the shows each evening are open to anyone and there's lot's of jamming both big and smalll and lots of rooms to hold your own jam sessions. (In 2002 I had the good fortune of playing with Buddy Wacther, Steve DiBonaventura and Ed Jones on bass for two hours....thankfully, no one of lesser ability tried to jump in which would have upset the balance of things) Sadly, the all-comer jams can be a bit frustrating unless you really want to travel 2000 miles and drop over $1,000 in hotel, food etc just to play Bye Bye Blues for the gajillionth time in three days.

The Sweet Home jam, hosted by the Martins in Sweet Home Oregon, is five days of jamming and good food. Very low stress. I hope to make that for the first time this summer.

One of the challenges is that so many banjoists see these shows as a chance to show off and you end up with a whole lot of players and not enough listeners. I enjoy leaving my instrument in the case during some sessions...especially early on until I learn who is who... and then jamming with the smaller groups. I wouldn't give up on banjo shows after just one...you may benefit by doing more research and being more selective. Or, let's pick one and all show up...then at least we can have our own breakout sessions.

NYCJazz - Posted - 05/04/2009:  14:49:32


Do you have Cynthia's String Swing?

I designed the cover & set it up for printing!



The Banjo savors strongly of the plantations through which the back streets of New York City run. ~ Joel Chandler Harris, 1883

Compass56 - Posted - 05/04/2009:  16:41:11


I guess didn't enjoy my one banjo convention experience because the interests of the conventioneers seemed worlds away from mine. They love banjo. Period. They talked banjo. They compared banjos. They made plans to go to other conventions and talk and compare banjos. That's just not where I'm at. I like to get together with friends and talk gigs, composers, and tunes. For me, the instrument is just a tool. My approach to music doesn't seem to jive with the banjo convention crowd.

neplusultra - Posted - 05/05/2009:  12:47:20


there is certainly no shortage of banjo nerds at these conventions. If you're not into long conversations about string gauge, pick shape, head tightness and Buddy Wachter's last trip to the restroom then it could be a long weekend.

Compass56 - Posted - 05/05/2009:  19:08:01


I'm a little surprised that Cynthia Sayer is involved in them. Her hipness quotient is off the charts! Well, I'm sure they pay her well. A gig is a gig. Still, it's hard to picture. It would be like John Irving at a Harry Potter convention dressed as a wizard.

NYCJazz - Posted - 05/06/2009:  09:47:15


quote:
Originally posted by Compass56

They love banjo. Period. They talked banjo. They compared banjos. They made plans to go to other conventions and talk and compare banjos.




Reminds me of something that one of my artistic heros wrote:

"The difference between painters and photographers is that painters don't sit around talking about brushes"

- William Mortensen, photographer/teacher



The Banjo savors strongly of the plantations through which the back streets of New York City run. ~ Joel Chandler Harris, 1883

neplusultra - Posted - 05/06/2009:  13:26:22


The big money doesn't typically come from the honorarium, but more from media sales while you're there. Sure, it helps...but, sadly, the banjo show is still the best way to reach 500 people at once many of which are looking forward to leaving with a few CDs of the hot acts.

NYCJazz - Posted - 05/06/2009:  14:30:30


Cynthia is doing a tour of Denmark this summer.

Last summer, it was a tour of Switzerland.

Tough life she has!



The Banjo savors strongly of the plantations through which the back streets of New York City run. ~ Joel Chandler Harris, 1883

NYCJazz - Posted - 05/07/2009:  07:09:33


Cynthia Sayer will be playing with the Mighty Aphrodite Jazz Band at Bix Fest in Davenport Iowa July 23-26.

Hot jazz played by hot babes? What could be better?????

http://www.mightyjazz.com/home.html

http://www.bixsociety.org/festival.htm



The Banjo savors strongly of the plantations through which the back streets of New York City run. ~ Joel Chandler Harris, 1883

Compass56 - Posted - 05/07/2009:  14:09:06


"there is certainly no shortage of banjo nerds at these conventions. If you're not into long conversations about string gauge, pick shape, head tightness and Buddy Wachter's last trip to the restroom then it could be a long weekend."

--It was a long weekend.


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