[Dixielandjazz] Sun Valley Festival

Vaxtrpts at aol.com Vaxtrpts at aol.com
Sun Oct 23 00:39:15 PDT 2005

It just dawned on me, that other than talking about DJML "face to face"  
meetings, there isn't much said on this list about festivals.
I have been in Sun Valley all week.  It is a beautiful place and this  
festival has to be one of the best two or three in the country for "more  
traditional" forms of jazz.  There is a great mix of traditional bands,  swing bands, 
big bands, show bands and even some vocal jazz.  The musicians  are taken care 
of better at this festival than any other that I know.  Of  course the pay 
isn't great, but we are put up in very nice places and there is a  special 
restaurant (GREAT food) open from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM with free food  for the 
musicians.  So - that does help with the finances.  The  festival has gotten so 
successful that it now starts on Tuesday night with a  free concert for anyone who 
would like to come, and goes through Sunday  night.
The festival is run by people who do understand how to keep the musicians  
Every venue is packed.  This has to be one of the most successful  festivals, 
I would love to see them pay the musicians a little more, but we have made  
our bed on the festival circuit and I guess we must lay in it.
One of the most popular concerts happened this morning.  About 50 of  the 
musicians from all the bands joined together to play Sousa Marches.  It  is one 
of the most popular concerts of all, at the festival.  And -- the  musicians 
have a great time doing it.
Another innovation that they have done here, is that we have a jazz class  
running concurrently with the festival.  Teachers are getting a unit of  
continuing education credit from Idaho State University.
I am the coordinator of the classes and the teachers have been:
Steve Lilly - St. Louis Rivermen
Dave Ruffner - Blue Street
Bill Clark - Queen City Jazz Band
Jeanne Kitrell - St. Louis Rivermen
The head sound person for the festival, and others.
It is going very well and the students range in age from high schools  
students to retired teachers and principals.
Being a "roving guest artist" besides running the continuing ed classes, I  
have had a chance to play with High Sierra, Sun Valley Jazz, Chet Jaegger and  
Nightblooming Jazzmen, the all star big band, the Swing Design Big Band from  
Holland, the Kings of Swing Big Band from Boise, and a few others.  Great  Fun!
Anyway, I just thought I would make a little report from the festival in  
case any of you are interested.
Mike Vax

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