Jump to content

Music Camp Ripoffs?


Recommended Posts

Hello concertina comrades..... I hope not to offend, but I am frustrated & need your unbiased opinion on the economics of music festivals. I found one ...that charges $450 for 4 days.....sleep in a pup tent, plus $150 for meals times 2 if you want to bring your non musical partner plus $50 parking fees ....package deal for approx $1300! Not to meantion travel expenses in getting there. I am a novice in this experience...is it worth it?. Yes we all love our music but some of us are on a budget. What say you? HURRY UP!! with your reply otherwise they won`t be able to squeeze me in. The web site provides no place to ask questions.....just send in advance your check or money order ,thank you... Oh yea...NO REFUNDS!! If you bring your toddler they might cut you a brake and give you a discount. Just like in church...or whatever else our passion may lie... are there alot of Demons in sheeps clothing out there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But what are you getting in the package? World class entertainment? Small group tutoring? Being left to get on with it in a field? The cost you quote might be extortionate or reasonable and we couldn't tell you.

 

It sounds a lot for the right to camp, if that's all you get. If that IS all you get, don't go...

 

Actually, being serious, you sound lukewarm, so don't go anyway. If you subsequently find you missed out, well, go next year. The good ones carry on and you'll have another chance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Dirge's conclusion, squeeze.

 

If this is Lark Camp you're writing about, it's not a rip-off, it's a big musical whoop-dee-do with food to buy and bills to pay. It's not a necessity, it's a vacation in the Redwoods with some learning attached to it. As far as cost is concerned, you're already living in California where people endorse their state government's spending of more money than it gets in revenue and, after all, not the cheapest place to live in the world either. Can you realistically expect anything "cheap"? If you go to Lark Camp you'll be around more music than you apparently can imagine---music styles from around the world. The instructors have good credentials and wide ranging experience. If you're rugged enough to camp, it looks like you'll get plenty to eat three times a day, approximately $12.50 per meal per person. The rest of your time will be what you make of it.

 

If you go there worrying about whether you'll be getting enough value for your money, you'll probably be miserable. Don't consider going if you're not accustomed to camping in damp conditions because it happens. Don't go there just to learn the basics of playing some instrument; you can do that a lot cheaper.

 

Go there to experience how much fun playing music can be, to dance with strangers, and to mingle with a few people who are plenty weird.

 

Otherwise, consider saving up for personal musical instruction. Better still, save up for travel to the Northeast Squeeze-In. If you're going to pay for dampness you might as well be surrounded by squeezers. Bring sweaters and rain gear. The Fall foliage is beautiful, the food's good too and there's a bar.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello concertina comrades..... I hope not to offend, but I am frustrated & need your unbiased opinion on the economics of music festivals. I found one ...that charges $450 for 4 days.....sleep in a pup tent, plus $150 for meals times 2 if you want to bring your non musical partner plus $50 parking fees ....package deal for approx $1300! Not to meantion travel expenses in getting there. I am a novice in this experience...is it worth it?. Yes we all love our music but some of us are on a budget. What say you? HURRY UP!! with your reply otherwise they won`t be able to squeeze me in. The web site provides no place to ask questions.....just send in advance your check or money order ,thank you... Oh yea...NO REFUNDS!! If you bring your toddler they might cut you a brake and give you a discount. Just like in church...or whatever else our passion may lie... are there alot of Demons in sheeps clothing out there.

 

 

Hey, is that the one in Northern CA? Or is there one in SoCal? I see that you're from SoCal too.. is it me, or does it sometimes seem as if SoCal is devoid of our kind of music with concertinas and such? I do medieval reenactment myself, less with the concertina, but it can provide an outlet for playing music with other musicians. I haven't found much else here though to play at.

 

(Though I can handle listening to Mariachi... I'm sure a concertina wouldn't be appreciated. ;) )

 

 

Patrick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello concertina comrades..... I hope not to offend, but I am frustrated & need your unbiased opinion on the economics of music festivals. I found one ...that charges $450 for 4 days.....sleep in a pup tent, plus $150 for meals times 2 if you want to bring your non musical partner plus $50 parking fees ....package deal for approx $1300! Not to meantion travel expenses in getting there. I am a novice in this experience...is it worth it?. Yes we all love our music but some of us are on a budget. What say you? HURRY UP!! with your reply otherwise they won`t be able to squeeze me in. The web site provides no place to ask questions.....just send in advance your check or money order ,thank you... Oh yea...NO REFUNDS!! If you bring your toddler they might cut you a brake and give you a discount. Just like in church...or whatever else our passion may lie... are there alot of Demons in sheeps clothing out there.

 

 

I think that cost is what i would expect for 4 days in California ata musical festival: I go to the Sebestopol Celtic festival - it costs 120$ for 2.5 days (for the cheap seats), no room or board though parking is free.

 

The Healdsburg guitar festival I believe is 1500$ for 1 week, no room or board, don't know about parking.

 

Some music camps provide dorm style rooms, never been to one though a former co-worker would go to a fiddle camp where they stayed in dorms for a week.

 

450$ for 4 days sounds appropriate in california, as stated, this is CALIFORNIA ain't nothing cheap but dirty looks and 4 letter words...

 

Though I wouldn't want to camp for four days ina tent - if its at a KOA camp at least you will have showers and bathrooms.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been going to Lark Camp for 26 years now, and since the mid eighties I've been the concertina instructor. (Irish style) If you have never been to Lark Camp it's kind of hard to describe, but it's not your typical summer music camp. There's so much going on it's kind of hard to focus on "learning" and much easier to get lost in the fun. If you're determined you can isolate yourself somewhere and concentrate on your instrument, but only the most obsessed learners accomplish this. The instructional setting is casual, but most instructors can spot people who really want to learn and can provide as much as they need.

 

As far as the distractions go -- there's a cornucopia of different ethnic music scenes going at just about any time, some all through the night. There are dance classes during the day and multiple dances through the evening and night. Sessions are continuous and ubiquitous.

 

The camp is broken into three villages that are linked by a shuttle bus system that runs from 6 am to 3 am. If you get stuck in one of the camps you can still walk to the others, but if you get stuck in the Middle Eastern camp you may not want to go back to your tent… if you catch my drift.

 

Each village has it's own ethnic theme and multiple dances in the evening. If you bring your sweetie they will enjoy going to these with you and might be interested in learning a little about them during the day while you're taking music workshops. If you want something different you can go to the lovely swimming hole too or hike in the gorgeous coastal redwood forest.

 

The surroundings are unbelievable and the weather is usually mild and agreeable. It can get warm, but it rarely gets hot – and there’s no humidity like you would have on the East Coast. At night it can get chilly, but there are fire circles and nearly 24-hour cafe's at each one serving teas and coffees along with baked treats fresh-baked on the premises. There are always music sessions going around these fires, and there are lovely cabins and public inside spaces to have sessions and impromptu dances.

 

So I don't mean to be sounding like a commercial for Lark Camp here, and I don't profit from it personally, but it has been my summer holiday for a couple of decades now. Where else can you go and stay in a charming cabin or camp out in the redwood forest, have all your meals cooked for you and have loads of musical pals to play tunes with? It's not as if Lark Camp even needs a commercial anyway because it always sells out. In fact last heard there were only 8 spaces left this year. If you do decide to go -- I would go for the full-camp instead of half-camp. If you do half-camp you'll feel like you're just getting into the swing and it will be time to leave already. If you have to do half-camp, do the second half rather than the first or you'll feel like you must have done something bad and you're being sent home early.

 

See you at camp.

 

http://www.larkcamp.com

Edited by Phantom Button
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I found one ...that charges $450 for 4 days.....sleep in a pup tent, plus $150 for meals times 2 if you want to bring your non musical partner plus $50 parking fees ....package deal for approx $1300!
Whew - things are expensive out your way. The two music/dance camps I go to are Pinewoods and Ashokan. Both are week-long events with everything included for about $850.

 

Pinewoods is on a large, beautifully clear pond pond, has good chow, you stay in little (very clean and well maintained) cabins, and there is a myriad of planned music/dance/fun activities in addition to the music/dance "classes". Ashokan is on a smaller, scummyish pond - but has a really nice sauna! - and great food, you have a choice of dorm, camp-in-the-woods, or bring your trailer/camper-to-the-field for accommodations, lots of music/dance classes and less planned (but much sillier) "extra" activities. Not every week of these camps has a concertina staff person though there are always participants with them (more at a northern than southern week).

 

Of course there's the Northeast Squeeze-In which may be largest concertina event in the US, but it's only a weekend long. But at least there pretty much everything is squeeze-oriented. Accommodations span the gamut from rooms with private baths to rustic cabins to camping ... and can be had with or without food, so staying at the event ranges from about $50 to $250.

 

-- Rich --

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In fairness to cost, yes some music camp weeks can set you back a few dollars. In my experience, which I will share, many things in my own playing are a direct/ indirect result of music camp. My flute playing although influenced heavily by recordings is my own. It is a blend of the normal recordings, combined with the experiences of travel. It would be impossible to absorb everything handed out during a week long camp,however....... The class is only a part of the experience. Listening to others taking the class, some form similar background, others from different. The chance to watch, as well as listen to the instructor.. Recording comments about the history of the tune, the place learned, etc. Joe Heaney said in an interview, that a song without a history, or story is just words( paraphrased).Late night spontaneous sessions. I attended the Augusta Heritage camp on flute from 1989 through 1995. I met many people that I consider friends to this day, and still stay in contact with. The tutors I had were jack Coen of Galway/ The Bronx on flute, Seamus Egan of Solas fame, and a bouzouki class ( don't ask) with Zan McLeod.James Kelly on the fiddle. Lessons with Mike Rafferty on flute, Benedict Koehler,and Keiran O'Hare on pipes. I have had classes with Gearóid ÓhAllmhuráin three times in the Catskills, Tim Collins, in Gainesville,and The Catskills. Dympna O'Sullivan and Edel Fox in Kilrush. I do not sound like any one of these players on any instrument, however the knowledge gained from each of them may appear in some aspects of my playing. So like the mastercard commercial. Cost of Airfare 350, cost of room 350, cost of tuition 350, cost of beer XXXXXX, cost of learning priceless.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I met many people that I consider friends to this day, and still stay in contact with. The tutors I had were jack Coen of Galway/ The Bronx on flute, Seamus Egan of Solas fame, and a bouzouki class ( don't ask) with Zan McLeod.James Kelly on the fiddle. Lessons with Mike Rafferty on flute, Benedict Koehler,and Keiran O'Hare on pipes. I have had classes with Gearóid ÓhAllmhuráin three times in the Catskills, Tim Collins, in Gainesville,and The Catskills. Dympna O'Sullivan and Edel Fox in Kilrush. I do not sound like any one of these players on any instrument, however the knowledge gained from each of them may appear in some aspects of my playing. So like the mastercard commercial. Cost of Airfare 350, cost of room 350, cost of tuition 350, cost of beer XXXXXX, cost of learning priceless.

 

 

Perhaps for those of us in california, just flying out of state may be the cheapest option when its a week long event. I wanted to go the zook fest last eyar, but it required flying out to it, so I didn't go do to work schedule plus I didn't really feel like the hassle of flying.

 

With fuel prices up, those of us lucky enough to have such camps within driving distance should take advantage of them.

 

My "Music Camp" is just going to shows, sitting quietly, listening and watching very intently. I believe 90% of learning is just watching.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So like the mastercard commercial. Cost of Airfare 350, cost of room 350, cost of tuition 350, cost of beer XXXXXX, cost of learning priceless.

The only reason I haven't gone to the Catskills is because I'll hear stories about the stifling heat on some years. If you're used to the East Coast it might be easier, but in SF we never experience heat like that -- we're a bunch of weather sissies I suppose.

 

Lark Camp might not have the same critical mass of imported Irish stars, but the weather and setting is incredible. The other draw back with the Catskills is that the pubs are separated in a way where you need a car to navigate them.

 

So instead of saving money to get to the Catskills, I prefer to save my money and go to the Ennis Trad Fest in November when the tourists are gone and the weather is still agreeable. All of the same stars from Ireland you’d find at the Catskills are there, and then some. The 15 or so pubs that have sessions are all in easy walking distance in the medieval town center of the city. The whole flavor of Ireland is served up with the musical experience and they have incredible concerts featuring the hottest Irish bands every night starting at midnight after 6 hours of sessions. Truly "priceless."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I found one ...that charges $450 for 4 days.....sleep in a pup tent, plus $150 for meals times 2 if you want to bring your non musical partner plus $50 parking fees ....package deal for approx $1300!
Whew - things are expensive out your way. The two music/dance camps I go to are Pinewoods and Ashokan. Both are week-long events with everything included for about $850.

Richard says, "Whew - things are expensive out your way."

 

Actually -- it's cheaper out our way by $30

 

Lark Camp, week-long event everything included is $820

 

$570 - full camp

$250 - full meals

------

$820

 

http://www.larkcamp.com/registration.html

Edited by Phantom Button
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I found one ...that charges $450 for 4 days.....sleep in a pup tent, plus $150 for meals times 2 if you want to bring your non musical partner plus $50 parking fees ....package deal for approx $1300!
Whew - things are expensive out your way. The two music/dance camps I go to are Pinewoods and Ashokan. Both are week-long events with everything included for about $850.

Richard says, "Whew - things are expensive out your way."

 

Actually -- it's cheaper out our way by $30

 

Lark Camp, week-long event everything included is $820

 

$570 - full camp

$250 - full meals

------

$820

 

http://www.larkcamp.com/registration.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mr Phantom & Mr Morse.... Can you not see your biased views?? You guys are big (no doubt talented) INSIDERS!!! You talk as if $800 plus bucks is a small pittance for frolicking in the woods playing your music. My parents would probably roll over in their graves if they saw the prices paid for such pleasures!! Yes value is in the eye of the beholder... It helps to be alittle nuts. Its like paying a million dollars for a Jimi Hendrix guitar. Its easy & rational if you got that kind of ego & money. Taking a family of 4 would cost over 4 THOUSAND$$ including travel expenses! It might seem rational to me (maybe) going solo or better yet......STAYING HOME BUT PURCHASING A NICE CUSTOM MADE WHEATSTONE VINTAGE CONCERTINA FOR THE SAME PRICE!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wasn't suggesting, "$800 plus bucks is a small pittance for frolicking in the woods," I was just correcting Richard's misconception about things being expensive out here in the West. Indeed $800 and the multiples of it for bringing a family can be a lot to swallow, but it's within the realm of being reasonable for what it is.

 

A lot of musicians come to camp sans spouse for that reason, but if you can afford it, it's a nice family holiday option. Your spouse and kids might become bored if they don't share your affinity for folk music, and that's why a lot of musicians make this trip a solo one. But if you compare what this camp has to offer to other camping opportunities that include meals and are packed with activities -- it's a bargain -- as are the other music camps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is all about point of view. I don't have the ready dough, so I wouldn't go. I see no indication of ego however. And while yer on about vintage concertinas, we carp about prices but in reality do have it rather easy.

 

Last Tuesday at session we were talking during a lull and I was asked how much my Morse cost. The two fiddlers snorted a bit. "Zat all?" "You can't even buy a decent bow for that sort of scratch" was one reply." Their incredulity snapped of the charts after one asked the price range of a Jefferies and I put forth my best guess. Both of them are fantastic musicians, but make their daily bread in the work a day world. A fiddle of quality and tone costs what it costs, and they paid the price because it was important to them.

 

The session's general consensus was that we lot need to stop cryin' in our beer and count our blessings ;) .

Edited by Mark Evans
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mr Phantom & Mr Morse.... Can you not see your biased views?? You guys are big (no doubt talented) INSIDERS!!! You talk as if $800 plus bucks is a small pittance for frolicking in the woods playing your music.
I just posted what I know about the camps. It's true that I'm an "insider" as I've been going to these camps for about 25 years. OTOH, I've *never* paid full price as I can't afford it. I've always been on the highest compensating "work scholarship" (usually in the kitchen) or was paid to go (being a staffer).

 

So on the money end of things I'm very much an "outsider". I note that both of these camps are so desirable that they have waiting lists and sometimes "auctions" to get into. There are so many people for whom money is not an issue that that people like me are very much an anomaly.

 

And people wonder why our Hayden duet and other "vintage" concertina models are taking so long to fruition!

 

-- Rich --

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well Rich, we did offer to buy stock if you offered it, before you opted to set up as a sole-owner small business there in the Bay State!

 

Seriously, I can aver that I have always been amazed that someone who organizes a festival does not give himself a free ride at least on food for all that work, but this man does not. That tells me all I need to know to believe in and support the cause.

 

If you want qualified music teachers, you usually have to pay them to come to a camp - and if you ask, you'll find the teaching staff rarely get rich off this either. Volunteer teachers? OK, that's the NE Squeeze-In. I've been to one event that might appeal if you don't have two coins to rub together, the Sugar Hill dance weekend in southern Indiana. I think it was 15 bucks, and every penny went to buy groceries. Volunteer callers, volunteer bands, everyone gets a work shift in the kitchen and a shift washing dishes. This presumes everyone already knows the music and dance, of course, as there no classes; just dance and play your head off!

 

I find musicians and their ilk are supremely aware of everyone's financial limitations and are rarely ostentatious for no reason. Look at how many jazz immortals had to hold "rent parties" in the old days to avoid eviction.

 

Back to the squeezebox.

Ken

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...