It’s been about a month now since we announced that LMI is no longer going to produce the Healdsburg Guitar Festival. We were touched by the understanding of all those who loved the festival and emailed to thanks us for the great run the festival had. The text of that announcement appears below here. I just wanted to use this month’s blog to answer some common questions we received.
Q: What is the real reason you are closing the festival?
A: The announcement is the honest truth. Despite the success of the festival, we are eager to embark on a number of exciting improvements and products, and now we have the time to complete them.
Q: Are you actively looking for someone to produce a new festival in the wake of the Healdsburg festival?
A: No, we are not looking to sell the brand or bring in another team to do the festival. However, we have already spent a number of hours consulting with several parties who are considering doing a festival and will continue to lend guidance when asked. We are cautiously optimistic that something will evolve.
Q: What are your feelings about the Memphis Guitar Festival?
A: Bob Singer, who is producing the Memphis show, reached out to us months ago for advice and seems well on his way to presenting an outstanding event! I encourage everyone to give him their support. Unfortunately, LMI will not be in attendance as we will be participating, as we always do, in the A.S.I.A. Symposium (Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans) which will be held the week after Memphis. We were very happy to hear about the success earlier this year of the Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase (Woodstock, NY) and the Holy Grail Guitar Festival (Berlin, Germany).
Text of the Announcement:
As many of you know, in the Spring of 2014 Luthiers Mercantile International (LMI) issued the following statement regarding the future of the Healdsburg Guitar Festival:
“…. having taken a closer look at our investment, especially in the amount of hours which could have been focused on expanding LMI’s core business, it became obvious that our ‘labor of love’ had many intangible costs, especially to our overworked staff. For this reason we have made the tough decision to postpone the next festival to 2016…. It has not been an easy decision to make and we understand the ramifications. Besides being a great reunion of friends and colleagues, the festival has been successful in its mission of strengthening the marketplace for handmade instruments…”
We are proud of the festival and our many other contributions to the craft of lutherie, but with our year off it has become clear to us that to best continue this support, our focus should remain on our core business. For this reason, we have decided to no longer produce a festival.
The positive role that festivals play is obvious to us. In fact many, perhaps smaller, festivals may serve luthiers better than one or two large ones. We hope to encourage the ongoing festivals (and any that should arise in the future that serve the craft of lutherie) with counsel, advertising dollars and referrals.