Just got back from an incredible few days at DFNW. As a serial attendee of both DFNW and DIJ, I thought it would be helpful to start a discussion to compare and contrast both events for those who have not previously attended in hopes of attracting more future interest and support for these terrific programs.
Previous attendees are encouraged to share their experiences in this post.
Here are my observations:
- Takes place in Langley, WA on Whidbey Island in September
- Greater number of jams for average players in front of appreciative audiences at local venues including coffee shops, bars, restaurants, artist galleries, and at the local camp ground
- Upwards of 10+ afternoon and evening concerts + workshops on GJ basics with generally well-known professional GJ artists
- Many non-musician attendees
- Wide variety of accommodations ranging from camping to higher end hotels
- Multiple near-by food options including a number of decent restaurants
Django in June
- On the Smith College campus in Northampton, MA in June
- Immersive GJ learning experience that attracts a greater number of GJ musicians ranging from near beginner to very advanced players on a wide variety of common GJ instruments including not just guitar but also bass, violin, accordion, clarinet, etc.
- Audiences are generally made-up of other musicians
- Multiple learning tracks based on instrument and skill level (A, B, C)
- Food and boarding offered at Smith College dorms - although there are many off-site accommodation and food options
- Multi-day commitment minimum
Both venues are outside of metropolitan areas and require added travel time - but each have their own charm and are well worth the effort to get there.
DFNW is best for those who like to watch and listen with less emphasis on learning advanced techniques. Also more ego building for players who wish to get in front of friendly appreciative audiences at local venues. More relaxed, take it as you go vibe. Greater appeal for non-musician spouses and friends.
DIJ is best for those who want to take a deep dive into becoming more proficient GJ players. Instructors are uniformly top rated players who are generous of their time and who, in many cases, can provide 1:1 tips and helpful critiques of your playing. Each day is full of planned activities including workshops, jams, and some evening concerts.
If you are a player, be prepared to become somewhat sleep deprived due to watching and playing in inspiring late night jams which last until the wee hours nightly.
I'm always interested in jamming with experienced jazz and gypsy jazz players in the San Francisco - San Jose area. Drop me a line. Bass players welcome!