[Dixielandjazz] Festival memories

Robert S. Ringwald robert at ringwald.com
Wed Apr 28 16:43:49 PDT 2004

 Dave Hanson wrote, regarding his Sacramento Jazz Jubilee experience in

> While reading the emails concerning the Sac jazz festival, cuts in drink
tickets, fewer European bands, but the pay schedule intact for the players,
I remind myself of a band I played with at the festival in 1984.
> The city of Sacramento is very friendly, with beautiful neighborhoods and
lots of venues. Our hotel accommodations were splendid and I even had about
an hour to take a swim after about three days.
> I found the volunteers quite helpful but the problems started immediately.
TRANSPORTATION from venue to venue was very difficult to obtain and we found
ourselves walking many times. The only food we had time to find was "junk"
food and though we had all the drink tickets we could ever consume, it only
added to our physical condition. After three days we were all running on
empty. Add to this, most venues were in the direct sun and our fluid loss
was high. We rarely had enough time to drink water, eat a decent meal and
were always on the move.


 Dave, I know what you are talking about.  This was 20 years ago when we
were all 20 years younger.  Frankly, I don't think I could handle that sort
of schedule any more myself.

20 years ago, the Festival was still growing, with lots of growing pains.
Bill Borcher, the director, was an organizational & idea genius.  His idea
was that it was all fun & we would play till we dropped.  He had more
stamina then all of us put together.  This was back when the Festival was
more of just a fun thing & not so much a business.

After a lot of talking, we finally convinced Bill to make the schedule
easier on the musicians.  Thus, since about that time, the schedule makes
much more sense.

For instance, if a band starts early in the day, they do not play late in
the evening.  Likewise if a band plays late on one evening, they do not
start early the next day.

Also, instead of running all over town, a band will play 2 sets in close
proximity.  For instance, when a band has a set in Old Sacramento, they
usually have 2 sets in the area & then some time off.  No more of this
playing one set down town, another at Cal EXPO, another at some hotel &
maybe a 4th back in Old Sac.

Back when we started the Jubilee, it was quite a novelty.  There were really
none others quite like it in the States.  At that time, I don't even know if
there were any like it in the world.  Naturally, new ideas were tried and
sometimes mistakes were made but, changes were made to fix the mistakes.
Through the years, things have been more & more streamlined and the festival
has increased in attendance.  The problem has not been a declining audience,
it has been over spending.  We have taken steps to correct this and are
looking ahead for a successful Festival in 2004.

robert at ringwald.com

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