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  #1  
Old 01-14-2020, 02:12 PM
wguitar wguitar is offline
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Default Harrisburg Artisan Show & Woodstock Invitational

Hi,

Plan on going to my 1st Artisan show (Harrisburg) this year AND perhaps the upcoming Woodstock Invitational. How would you compare the 2 shows in general -- are they similar or very distinct from each other ? Who has been to both ? From what I see online both appear to be great events to attend !

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Old 01-14-2020, 09:52 PM
The Bard Rocks The Bard Rocks is offline
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I've been to both more than once. Harrisburg is not nearly so crowded. They have a lot more space available and probably not as many attending. There are a couple of vendors there who are not strictly guitar-related. Those who show there are top notch, as they are at Woodstock as well. Woodstock is far more homey feeling, less hotel-sterile. And it's a zoo. I have enjoyed the performers at Woodstock more - you may attend both and disagree. While well-formed, my tastes are not necessarily the most popular. Woodstock has more classes and sessions. Harrisburg has more parking and is easier accessed by interstates. Lots more places to stay thanWoodstock, in case you want to attend more than one day. I think it is quieter than Woodstock too - which means less excitement, but you'll have a better chance of hearing what you are playing.
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Old 01-19-2020, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by The Bard Rocks View Post
I've been to both more than once. Harrisburg is not nearly so crowded. They have a lot more space available and probably not as many attending. There are a couple of vendors there who are not strictly guitar-related. Those who show there are top notch, as they are at Woodstock as well. Woodstock is far more homey feeling, less hotel-sterile. And it's a zoo. I have enjoyed the performers at Woodstock more - you may attend both and disagree. While well-formed, my tastes are not necessarily the most popular. Woodstock has more classes and sessions. Harrisburg has more parking and is easier accessed by interstates. Lots more places to stay thanWoodstock, in case you want to attend more than one day. I think it is quieter than Woodstock too - which means less excitement, but you'll have a better chance of hearing what you are playing.
These are shows that everyone from the northeast that is on this forum should think about attending. They are a great chance to see and play some amazing guitars, and to learn just how good an acoustic guitar can sound.
I think the bard nailed it, both are fantastic shows. The Woodstock show has a steady stream of music playing all day long, so it's like you are paying one price for both an acoustic guitar music festival, and a guitar show featuring some of the best guitar makers in the world. The Woodstock grounds are beautiful, especially in the fall with the colors changing. Also of interest is the fact that the Woodstock venue has a new owner and is being remodeled, so it will be interesting to see all the changes and updates.
The Artisan show is nice also, like the Bard said, there is a bit more room in the exhibition space and there is more lodging near by, making it a bit easier for a last minute trip. Like Woodstock, there are many of the best guitar makers around. It should also be noted that these shows are a great place to run into many incredible players as well.
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Old 01-19-2020, 08:14 AM
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I attended Woodstock once. I enjoyed it immensely however I would agree that it was cramped/crowded and not a place where you can demo guitars. I played a few Veillette guitars and couldn't hear them at all. The restaurant in the venue was packed. My wife and I ventured out looking for a place to eat lunch.
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Old 01-19-2020, 08:28 AM
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The previous posts nail it. I have not been to Harrisburg, but I have been to Woodstock several times. You will see many gorgeous guitars at Woodstock, but it’s unlikely that you’ll really “hear” them. Woodstock is crowded - it’s not uncommon to be carrying a $12,000 guitar over your head to the practice area, thinking, “OMG, please let nothing happen to this guitar.” (or, “Well, honey, I broke it, so I was obligated to buy it.” )*

At Woodstock, you will rub elbows with dozens of interesting folks, hear an incredible parade of guitars and guitarists on stage, and be visiting one of the prettiest parts of the earth during its peak season. Woodstock has workshops of many types: One of the most interesting is always the luthier’s coffee talk on Sunday morning.

I do love the opportunity at Woodstock to talk with folks - it’s a very friendly atmosphere. It always feels like I have travelled back in time to 1972, except that everyone’s a lot grayer.

But I think your decision is easier than just going to one. Go to both. Woodstock 2020 should be very special. The venue has been refurbished and everyone will be aching to attend as the year 2019 did not have a show.

Best,

Rick

* I really wish I was stupid enough to try this lie!
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Old 01-19-2020, 08:55 AM
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I also have not been to Harrisburg, but have been to Woodstock several times. I met Srick there as a matter of fact and well as Mr. Kraus.

I have a love/hate with Woodstock. It is cool, pretty, but always seems to be raining. I have gone 4 times, and the parking lot was mud all 4 times because of all day rains. It is held that time of year in Upstate NY...That being said, once inside it is cool, but so crowded with every corner packed with people and guitars. It is a little ironic in that you are there to try out and purchase luthier built guitars, but you can't hear anything nor really have a conversation without yelling. There are few places to try out guitars....let's just say 500 to 600 people in a room smaller than an elementary sized gym, filled with guitars, and there is one room 5 by 8 that has a door to try out a guitar. You can go upstairs to a small sitting area, but you still have the ambient noise of the room preventing you from hearing what you are doing. As it turns out, the alcove outside of the bathrooms is probably the best area to try out a guitar, but it is often in use because only one person can sit there.

There is a second building which is even smaller, more cramped, hardly enough room for two people to walk down the aisle together and to try out a guitar there, you have to go outside into a tent they set up. I am always afraid I am going to knock someone's guitar over in there. One year I wanted to try out a guitar made by Bill Kraus and it was raining so I did not even want to go out to the tent in the rain with this several thousand dollar guitar.

Now having said all that, to some, this is what makes it a great show, the crowds, the noise, the people, the excitement. I obviously have gone back and back again, but if you think you are going to give a $30,000 Ryan a good go, forget it, just not going to happen. I did once get to go downstairs with a luthier to a little room they had access to and that was nice, but I don't quite know if anyone can go there or not. It looked to be just for them to store stuff etc.

It was because of Woodstock, that I started my little show, trying to get the same quality on builder (done), but with a smaller attendance (obviously), and in my home. Trying to get the best of both worlds.

Overall, go to Woodstock, Baker is great, they do a great job, but I just think the festival has outgrown the environment in which it is held. But, if you can deal with the crowds, you will see more guitars in one place than probably anywhere and may run into people you know etc.
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Last edited by TomB'sox; 01-19-2020 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 01-19-2020, 09:21 AM
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Re: WILS2020

Along with Baker’s Facebook page, there is an ongoing blog about the renovations at http://www.bearsvillecenter.com. Apparently, the buildings were in pretty sorry shape, but the new owner is very committed to preserving and improving the property.
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Old 01-19-2020, 09:22 AM
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Default My $.02

I have been to both: Artisan (3 times) and Woodstock (7 times). Both are excellent but different.

Artisan: This is a newer show (this year is #4) and it is located completely in a hotel (exhibition hall, audition rooms, seminar/performance rooms and attendee accommodations). Because of this, people bring their personal instruments, there is a centralized social scene at the hotel lobby and bar. You really want to stay at the hotel (Holiday Inn) if you attend to experience the show. The organizer is a pro who has experience promoting shows in another industry so the room is well organized. Another difference is your door admission gives you access to all seminars where at Woodstock they are in addition. Since it is a newer show, across the weekend, I would guess 500-1,000 attendees come. Saturday is always the busiest day. The hotel rate is quite reasonable ($112/night I believe) so book early before the rooms sell out.

Woodstock: This year will be #11 for WILS. It is a very well established show and draws about 1,000-1,500 attendees across the weekend. The venue is spread across two buildings and it is fairly tight quarters. There are some quieter areas to audition instruments, but you need to know where they are and not be shy to ask a builder to take their instrument their to audition them. Most are happy to let you do that. As I said, the instructional seminars are offered in addition to your entry fee. Accommodations are spread across the area varying from motels, B&Bs and rental houses. A large part of the Woodstock experience is outside the show in the evening. People get together for group meals and many of the rental houses host by invite guitar centric parties. Since accommodations are sparse it is always wise to book long in advance.

Both have about 50 luthiers exhibiting. There is some overlap in exhibitors between them. Moving forward, I suspect we may see these shows go in opposite, alternating years (tbd). Both promoters (Baker and John) are friends and putting these shows on is a bunch of work.
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Old 01-19-2020, 09:27 AM
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It was because of Woodstock, that I started my little show, trying to get the same quality on builder (done), but with a smaller attendance (obviously), and in my home. Trying to get the best of both worlds.
Yes, but do you have the mud?
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Old 01-19-2020, 09:28 AM
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Yes, but do you have the mud?
No LOL, but we have fire ants that make a fine replacement.
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Old 01-19-2020, 10:08 AM
Lkristians Lkristians is online now
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Originally Posted by TomB'sox View Post
I also have not been to Harrisburg, but have been to Woodstock several times. I met Srick there as a matter of fact and well as Mr. Kraus.

I have a love/hate with Woodstock. It is cool, pretty, but always seems to be raining. I have gone 4 times, and the parking lot was mud all 4 times because of all day rains. It is held that time of year in Upstate NY...That being said, once inside it is cool, but so crowded with every corner packed with people and guitars. It is a little ironic in that you are there to try out and purchase luthier built guitars, but you can't hear anything nor really have a conversation without yelling. There are few places to try out guitars....let's just say 500 to 600 people in a room smaller than an elementary sized gym, filled with guitars, and there is one room 5 by 8 that has a door to try out a guitar. You can go upstairs to a small sitting area, but you still have the ambient noise of the room preventing you from hearing what you are doing. As it turns out, the alcove outside of the bathrooms is probably the best area to try out a guitar, but it is often in use because only one person can sit there.

There is a second building which is even smaller, more cramped, hardly enough room for two people to walk down the aisle together and to try out a guitar there, you have to go outside into a tent they set up. I am always afraid I am going to knock someone's guitar over in there. One year I wanted to try out a guitar made by Bill Kraus and it was raining so I did not even want to go out to the tent in the rain with this several thousand dollar guitar.

Now having said all that, to some, this is what makes it a great show, the crowds, the noise, the people, the excitement. I obviously have gone back and back again, but if you think you are going to give a $30,000 Ryan a good go, forget it, just not going to happen. I did once get to go downstairs with a luthier to a little room they had access to and that was nice, but I don't quite know if anyone can go there or not. It looked to be just for them to store stuff etc.

It was because of Woodstock, that I started my little show, trying to get the same quality on builder (done), but with a smaller attendance (obviously), and in my home. Trying to get the best of both worlds.

Overall, go to Woodstock, Baker is great, they do a great job, but I just think the festival has outgrown the environment in which it is held. But, if you can deal with the crowds, you will see more guitars in one place than probably anywhere and may run into people you know etc.
But Tom, It wouldn't be Woodstock without being able to chant "NO RAIN!" would it?!
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Old 01-19-2020, 10:14 AM
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But Tom, It wouldn't be Woodstock without being able to chant "NO RAIN!" would it?!
Yes, well, I guess there is a history there of a little rain right?
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Old 01-19-2020, 10:37 AM
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Now having said all that, to some, this is what makes it a great show, the crowds, the noise, the people, the excitement. I obviously have gone back and back again, but if you think you are going to give a $30,000 Ryan a good go, forget it, just not going to happen.
Tom, to be fair, I did indeed take 3 of Kevinís guitars off to a quiet place (stage control room) for an audition the last time that he was exhibiting at WILS.

Kevin actually was happy to let me go to a quieter place. The only luthier in my 7 times attending the show who does not seem to allow this is John Monteleone. If you are respectful, polite, and ASK, luthiers are happy to let people audition their work either downstairs rooms, mezzanine, audition room by bathroom or external tents set up for this.
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Old 01-19-2020, 10:57 AM
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Tom, to be fair, I did indeed take 3 of Kevin’s guitars off to a quiet place (stage control room) for an audition the last time that he was exhibiting at WILS.

Kevin actually was happy to let me go to a quieter place. The only luthier in my 7 times attending the show who does not seem to allow this is John Monteleone. If you are respectful, polite, and ASK, luthiers are happy to let people audition their work either downstairs rooms, mezzanine, audition room by bathroom or external tents set up for this.
That was not my point Bob. I never intended to say that any of the luthiers would not let you do that. My point was if I had that guitar in my hand, I want to hear every nuance is has to offer, not just be happy I can hear a G chord. Everyone I ever talked to there encouraged me to do so for sure! Kevin offered to let me as well, my point is I was not comfortable doing so. Walking through that crowd with a 35 thousand dollar guitar was not something I was comfortable with. If you feel there are lots of quiet places to try stuff out there then you and I have been attending different shows or you have access to places I do not. I tried your Sexauer out in the quiet room just fine, but it was an hour before the gates opened.

You also mentioned the after parties, well frankly, you have to be "in the know" for those and I have never been invited to one.

As I tried to make clear, what makes this a great event for some, makes it a not so great event for others. I am not a big fan of crowds so for me, it is a little overwhelming. This is for me personally, others will love it and I said so.

I am very likely in the minority based on the attendance each year and I fully accept that. As I also said, I think Baker and friends do a great job with the venue they have to work with.

Well, I have said enough, Woodstock is a great tradition and anyone with a chance to go should go, but I do not want to hijack this thread.
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Last edited by TomB'sox; 01-19-2020 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 01-19-2020, 12:54 PM
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Regarding the Woodstock show being loud and tight, it will be interesting to see what the future holds. With new, engaged owners, maybe there will be some additional room provided for the show. Perhaps an addition to the Utopia Soundstage building, or a new building added to the site?, nice to think about. Maybe even adding an extra day to the show, who knows.
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