Twente Guitar Festival 2008

There it was again, the long awaited third edition of the Twente Guitar Festival. With respect to holidays it had a perfect timing: in this week, we had the Queen’s Birthday, Ascension Day and for many people the ‘Day after Ascension’ which is often part of the ‘shorter working hours’ regulation in Dutch companies. Once again, the organisation of the Twente Guitar Festival Foundation (Bobby Rootveld, Jaap Majoor, Niels Ottink and Paul Driessen) and a lot of family, friends and supporters were ready to make this event a success.

I had subscribed for the masterclass by Yves Storms and an additional package Let’s Improvise. The latter package even included a workshop Flamenco, a nice opportunity to get a taste of this ‘guitar application’.

I had written a report on the first festivals with great pleasure, so I decided to describe this one too: Third Time Lucky! ;-) If things proceed nicely, I will be able to publish a Twente Guitar Festival Anniversary Book in two years!

My impressions are quite subjective indeed. I am no historian. Obviously, I am not claiming that these ladies and gentlemen are completely objective (the victor writes history, remember...), but they have graduated as historians anyway. So please find comfort from the fact that I consider myself subjective if you read something you do not quite agree with: my opinion and impressions are just one from the many possible.

Organisation of the Festival

At first sight it seemed that the organisation of the festival did not differ much from last year: three days of masterclasses and workshops in the Artez Conservatory, competitions and recitals in the Concordia Theatre and finally an open podium in Concordia as well, all adding up to four days.

According to schedule there were masterclasses and workshops in the morning and the afternoon, with some free time for the lunch concerts. Consequentially you had to have a bit of luck with your schedule if you wanted to attend the preliminaries for the professionals and conservatory students, to listen to all competitions for the amateurs and to take a look with the Scharpach guitar exhibition. It is almost impossible to take these events into account in the schedules with almost 60 participants.

I wrote ‘at first sight’. True, because at second sight, there had been quite a number of refinements in the concept. I’ll mention a few:

  • Chanterelle Music Publishers had been invited with a stand. They have quite a collection of sheet music, so it was a pleasure to browse a bit through scores which are quite rare in the shops in the direct environment. Additionally, they had a large collection of guitar CDs, even more than Broekmans and van Poppel in Amsterdam! A perfect opportunity to spend some pocket money.
  • The luthiers from Scharpach Guitars had a nice room for demonstration of their guitars. The had hired a classical guitarist for a demonstration of the sound of the instruments ‘at a distance’, but it was also possible to play the guitars yourself. I must say that I am a bit enchanted by their classical model! I’m afraid that it will take some time to reserve the budget.
  • (Extremely useful) There was a locked room for safe storage of your guitar during the lunch- and evening concerts. A pleasant circumstance and quite a relief, even though I have not heard about problems with stolen or damaged guitars in the previous festivals.
  • The announcements via email (city maps, master class and workshop location, schedules and the list of competitors for the Scharpach Competition) were well done. The schedule required some playing with the magnifier in Adobe Acrobat, but some screen dump software enabled to make a readable printout.

In brief: every year the organisation has used the experiences of the previous festivals for improvement of various aspects. Well done!

The Suggestion Box was new this year. A nice way to submit useful tips and questions which may help next year’s organisation!