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Death of the Gypsy Camp at Djangofest Northwest



  • fritzffritzf New
    Posts: 7
    Really appreciate hearing the comments and observations of what happened from those who were there, compared to past experiences. Please keep the observations coming, it will help fix the problem!

    So, it was my own firepit that was confiscated, nay ARRESTED! Didn't know until reading here there was a Langley constable involved - it was a real arrest!! I missed almost all of Djangofest this year due to a family memorial event, but I did get the firepit, firewood, and chairs setup beforehand as usual. (and paid for a powered space for it for the duration also).

    In the day before the Great Firepit Arrest, I received emails and voice messages from the campground manager (Roxy Taylor), describing the firepit as an "attractive nuisance" and demanding that I remove it. (I was out of town). Good heavens, an "attractive nuisance"! It was attracting....musicians!!! and music!!!

    Don't worry, the firepit, chairs and accoutrements have been sprung from jail and are now out on bail.

    So folks, we got ourselves a genuine Alice's Restaurant Massacree moment here!!!! We desperately need a songwriter to pick this up!!! Humor and satire will help, trust me. There will be a determined effort to return music to festival, for next year! But we really need to commemorate the event in song!


    p.s. for those who haven't been to the campground, its not all bluehairs up there.....much higher proportion of younger folk there.

    p.p.s, for those younger folks, maybe you need to look up Alice's Restaurant:'s_Restaurant
    BucoWim Glenn
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,250
    Hopefully it’s a one-time gaffe. It sounds like there was a new campground manager who was over-eager or oblivious to the fact that a jazz festival was going on. What do people think is going to happen around a fire-pit in a campground? Silent candle-light vigils? Lol. It’s a public fire-pit. Eating, drinking, telling stories & playing music… those things have been happening around public fire-pits since early hominids roasted cave-bear meat and told jokes comparing their mothers-in-law to Wooly Mammoths.

    IMHO There needs to be a new “jam-incubator”. It used to be the Edgecliff (the huge nightclub across the street from the venue which had half a dozen good little nooks in which jams would form) The big central jam would get to about 20 people and invariably some people would get fed up with waiting too long to take a solo and split off to go find somewhere to jam. That big central jam created all those little jams and hence the vibrant jam-scene. But without the Edgecliff, there’s no “Jam Central”. Primo Bistro does Saturday night and that’s really cool. There were three jams there Saturday — two intimate ones with local players and one big one with Samson & Antoine & Samuelito & Kliphuis to name a few… that was a h*** of a jam as you’d imagine. But Primo is too far away from the venue to be a true jam-incubator. The magic of the Edgecliff is that people would come out of the concert and hear music and walk over to see what was going on.

    But since a developer razed the Edgecliff and put townhouses there, the link between hearing music at a concert and then hearing jams upon exiting the venue and going to investigate… that flow of people from concert to jam was what caused the vibrant jam scene which was lubricated by the good selection of local micro-beers and fairly impressive list of imported whiskeys at the Edgecliff. I don’t know the town well enough to offer a good solution, but that’s what’s needed - some kind of Biergarden within earshot of the venue. People need to walk out of the concert hall and hear jams and suddenly find themselves with a beer in one hand and a guitar in the other and no excuse not to lighten up and have some fun. That’s what ignited the jam scene. Otherwise, people just walk around asking each other if they know where a jam is happening and eventually give up and go to bed.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • edited September 2017 Posts: 88
    For those who have questions, the email of the campground property manager can be found here:
  • Posts: 2,876
    As Bob noted, probably the case of a new person who's inexperienced at this and going strictly by the book thinking that's the way it has to be.
    I'm sure she can learn to relax a bit but it sucks that the experience has been ruined already for many.

    Never been to DFNW but at DiJ the people who attend are so incredibly varied and diverse and that's one of the things that's great about it: young, young at heart and blue-haired, tattooed dudes, punk-rock girls, aircraft engineers, unemployed bums (me), city people, country folk...everything in between.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • edited September 2017 Posts: 88
    I sent an inquiry to the campground manager and here is her reply:

    "Hi Lewis,

    Thank you for your email to try to understand the facts instead of believing rumors.

    The djam sessions in the campground were unfortunately violating the Langley Noise Ordinance, and the police were anonymously called Thursday night and twice on Friday night due to excessive noise and disturbing the peace by those around the fire pit drinking and playing music.

    Before the festival, on Wednesday, Sept. 13 (see the attached), we provided alternative locations to play music within the Fairgrounds property, outside of the campground, where music could be played throughout the night without disturbing the peace in the campground (every year we get complaints – and they seem to get worse each year). Other campers stay in the campground, some are long-term, and are not here for Djangofest. We want to accommodate those campers who are here for music, which we are not required to do, nor asked by the official organizers at Djangofest. In fact, the they do not condone nor want to be associated with impromptu djam sessions that violate laws and disturb the peace. It sheds a negative light on what they are trying to accomplish with their world-renowned festival and on the musicians who come to participate. The Djangofest officials stand behind our rules and regulations 100%, and of course, stand behind the law 100%.

    Because of the police being called with complaints being made against the music and drinking in the campground after hours on Thursday and Friday nights, we removed the unattended fire pit that was the central focus and attractive nuisance for music to be played after hours, on Saturday afternoon with the support of the Langley Police Department. Unfortunately, some campers were rude and confrontational with us. Those campers who confronted us and the police officer were instructed to read and inform themselves of the posted rules, regulations, laws, and alternative locations where music could be played after hours that would not disturb the other campers.

    We merely removed the fire pit – and djam sessions could still occur in the locations that were allowed and provided. If musicians chose not to play in the alternative areas, that was their choice.

    If you intend to come next year and are interested in the djam sessions that may occur here on the Fairgrounds property, please check our website for information on the locations that will be provided for afterhours djam sessions. We welcome musicians who want to come stay and play, but everyone needs to follow the rules and regulations. (Including paying for camping – that is another issue that we encounter with Djangofest campers – a lot claim they had no idea they need to pay for camping.)

    Thank you,

    Roxy Taylor"
  • cbwimcbwim ✭✭✭
    Posts: 134

    Why does Langley have a hold on this festival? Why not move it to a better facility such as Centrum in Port Townsend? Maybe its time for it to move on.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,923
    Well, the campground manager sounds quite reasonable. It just sounds like it isn't a campground amenable to late night djamming. For example, there is a festival down here (not GJ) in SB where they have jamming all night but they rent the whole campground and it is pretty far out in the sticks. Live Oak music festival. Really fun but again not GJ. DFNW needs to rent a whole facility if they want their own rules I suspect.
  • fritzffritzf New
    Posts: 7
    The campground manager may "sound" quite reasonable, but I have found her very, very difficult to deal with in person. Please note the frame shifts in her writing:

    She attempts to speak for "Djangofest officials". Best to let them speak for themselves. There would be two parts to that, WICA and Nick, and I think they'd have somewhat differing opinions, but best to listen directly to them.

    Djangofest campers in general portrayed as "non-payers" - press her on that and its ONE this year, and ONE last year, and we're not sure they were even here for Djangofest. I suspect better than average for typical campground use.

    "drinking and playing music" - the campground manager has portrayed what happens as "partying" to other people and to the Langley community. To my knowledge she has never once witnessed a jam session at the campground. I much prefer Bob Holo's description of the dynamic of a jam session (see his earlier post)!

    Anyway, your mileage may vary, but please think carefully about where things get subtly manipulated. I'm not one who usually has trouble getting along or working with people, and I am challenged to the extreme on this one.

    Really, this is a mountain made out of a molehill. We'll find a solution!
  • This is NOT rumor. I was there and saw alot of it with my own eyes and ears.

    First of all I have been going to DFNW for at least 10yrs. 9 of those years I have stayed in the campground. I have never heard nor have had any problems there. There are no drunk people stumbling around causing problems. The police have always made an appearance only because there are alot of people there and they are just checking the scene out. The only thing that happens is an amazing experience with food, drink & music around a campfire. Acoustic Jazz music not Heavy Metal or Punk. No arrests No problems ever.

    When I got there Roxy came over and collected our money. Told us no fire and no jamming after 9pm and if there was she told the long term campers to just call the police if they heard anything. She said there was a place to play out of the campground down the hill close to the school. I assume still no jamming even there after 9pm. That was a very unreasonable place to play. Too far away to be stumbling around in the dark if even allowed. More like shoved in the corner.

    The next day a fire pit was set up with chairs at the entrance because the fire ban was lifted that day. Away from the supposed long term camper. This was a reasonable place. You could barley hear the music at the far end. My wife and her friend said they could barley hear the music and they were 50ft closer than the long-term camper. Also many times at the end of the evening concerts the officials of DFNW announce the places in town where the jamming will be INCLUDING the campground so Roxy saying they don't condone it is absolutely wrong!

    The problem was really Roxy Taylor. She was very verbally abusive and disrespectful. As far as people saying they didn't think they needed to pay, in most campgrounds around the country you pay for the spot. Some people have kids and they want to set up a little pup tent. She was making people pay by the tent and vehicles. So a family with 3 kids with their own little tents and the vehicle for the parents would have to pay $80 a day. Thats if they even stayed! I know several that left and said they were done. They'll only do a day trip or not at all.

    Thur, Fri and Sat mornings I observed Roxy showing up between 8-8:30am. Shaking tents, banging on car window demanding money. A friend was woken up by 8:30 with Roxy banging on his car saying, "You owe me money" Others were woken up with her saying you owe me for 2 days. I have pictures of your tent being here for 2 days now give me money. Not good morning or a civilized tone. She came in, disturbed the campers making her demands then left not to be seen again. She should at least be in the campground for more than 45min and talking to people after they have woken up and stay through out the day.

    Just to clarify the unattended fire pit was in the middle of the day when there was NO fire going at all. Roxy and the Port did all they could to accommodate a long-term camper and ruin the 75-100 other campers that were or would have been there if they weren't run off.

    To cater to the one or two long-term campers when you have a huge amount of campers coming in for the week bringing alot of money for the whole town is ridiculous. If things don't change back to what they were (fire pit and jamming) this will be a huge economic hit to all of Langley and DFNW. There have never been any problems till now.

    So what changed? I'm sure we all can figure that out. The new owners and manager.

    I hope Langley and DFNW can seriously work this out with the owners of the campground. Next year I will ask about all this before coming. If nothing has been resolved I will make it a day trip or not at all. So the $500 that went to Langley (restaurants, grocery store, camping) and DFNW (concerts,merchandise, vendors) will stay in my pocket! I realize that's not much but times that by at least 75-100 people and it starts adding up. I'm on a limited budget but I know others that spent alot more than I did.

    Like I started this. This is NOT rumor. I was there and experienced it. There are nearly 100 people that can attest to this not to mention all the others that couldn't believe there was NO jam or anything going on in the campground. First time in 17yrs!!!
  • fritzffritzf New
    Posts: 7
    Thanks toneblasters for posting those observations! Would be great to collect more observations here, from folks who were actually there at the campground.

    Last year, I also observed Roxy banging on doors, shaking tents, being rude, disrespectful, and some wierd OCD type things, like banging loudly on Kurt Blazich's camper door and yelling into it FOUR times within the span of a few minutes, even though Kurt had a paid sticker plainly posted on his vehicle....she just kept going back again and again like she could not leave it alone. It was wierd - well outside the bounds of normal human behaviour.

    Another local person who camped there this year, Rich May has stepped forward with me to try help be the "glue" that holds these discussions together and try to effect some change for next year. We both volunteer at Djangofest as well, so that should help with communication with WICA and Nick. We'd welcome any other help! But in the meantime this forum is a very useful place to collect observations of what happened, and could be a place to keep folks up to date as we move along.

    One thing we're doing is collecting examples of how other music festivals handle late night jamming, especially county fairground campgrounds adjacent to music venues. I went to Port Townsend yesterday to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds and met with their manager to see how they handle camping for the adjacent (Fort Worden) Fiddle Festival - they also have a noise ordinance (most towns will, but things usually get worked out). One of their strategies is to separate music festival campers from regular ones, using a local volunteer coordinator to help make it happen smoothly. Anybody here have other music festival examples we can research, especially festivals adjacent to county fairgrounds?
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