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Rick Turner
11-21-2014, 07:46 AM
I got this email a few minutes ago from Chris Herrod of LMI:

Dear Friends,

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.

Sincerely,

Chris Herrod
Sales Manager - LMI
Director Healdsburg Guitar Festival
Toll free: (800) 477-4437
International: (707) 687-2020
extension 204

It was never a big uke show, but it was fabulous. I totally understand what a drain it was on the LMI folks, and the shows will be fondly remembered by many luthiers and players.

gyosh
11-21-2014, 07:59 AM
Darn!

That has long been on my list of "I need to check this out some day" things to do.

I better make the other ones happen. Thanks for the info Rick.

Ukejenny
11-21-2014, 11:21 AM
At one point they said postpone until 2016 and then further down they said they weren't doing it, period. Does that mean no 2016?

gyosh
11-21-2014, 11:32 AM
At one point they said postpone until 2016 and then further down they said they weren't doing it, period. Does that mean no 2016?

I think that was a typo. They postponed last year until this year 2015 . . . but have just announced it isn't going to happen any more.

sonomajazz
11-21-2014, 11:51 AM
That's really lousy to hear Rick...was always a great time to catch up with luthiers from all over...

May be it's time for a "Ukulele Builders Festival"...Rick can you handle that?? (in your spare time...!??!!?)

Rick Turner
11-21-2014, 12:11 PM
I can only imagine what a headache the HGF was to put on. Behind the scenes there was way too much pressure put onto Natalie, Chris, and the rest of the LMI crew...just stuff like prima donna builders wanting all the shipped guitars to be unboxed and inspected...by the LMI crew...and then the boxes and packing materials carefully stashed. And then there were the complaints from unhappy builders whose sales at the show were not up to their expectations, a situation that goes back several years even to the show held in San Rafael sponsored by Acoustic Guitar Magazine...

From what I'm seeing and hearing, the big boom in "luthier built" acoustics may have peaked out, and a Darwinian (or Malthusian!) thinning of the herd may be happening as luthiers who thought they could break in selling direct only for what would be barely over normal wholesale find it really hard to do so. It's really easy to sell your first dozen instruments, whether they are ukes or guitars. Then you start to understand that selling costs money...that's why stores need to mark up instruments above wholesale.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
11-21-2014, 12:33 PM
The Memphis show in June 2015 is shaping up to be a very good one.- Will you be there Rick???

pakhan
11-21-2014, 02:03 PM
Super sad day; I'm sure Bob Singer's Memphis show will bride the gap!

Ukejenny
11-21-2014, 02:14 PM
I think that was a typo. They postponed last year until this year 2015 . . . but have just announced it isn't going to happen any more.

That is sad. Someone needs to pick up the baton and get something going.

Rick Turner
11-21-2014, 04:27 PM
I haven't heard about a guitar show in Memphis; I'm probably not one of the "in-crowd-to-be-invited-to-apply" on that. I'm such a newbie... Or such an old fart that they figure I'm dead by now.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
11-22-2014, 08:01 AM
hahahha

http://www.memphisguitarfest.com/

Rick Turner
11-22-2014, 11:45 AM
You know, that crowd thinks of me strictly as an electric builder. I'm not, but that's how it is. And when the luthiers from that bunch do see my acoustic guitars, they're all shocked by the visible tilting neck joint I put on them. Guitar players love it because you can literally reset the neck in fifteen seconds. Luthiers hate it because they see hardware. "Go pick up a banjo!" is my response. Besides which, I'm kind of over it with guitar shows showing primarily to other luthiers; they don't buy guitars!

spongeuke
11-22-2014, 07:18 PM
The important thing for me is that LMI is there as in close by. As an amateur repair/rescue I always look forward to their open house sale they have every year. I've picked up real nice top wood by combing through the mismatched or half rejected top wood. Always find other stuff that makes it to my shop that suit ukulele dimensions and are passed over by the big guys.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
11-23-2014, 07:55 AM
You know, that crowd thinks of me strictly as an electric builder. I'm not, but that's how it is. And when the luthiers from that bunch do see my acoustic guitars, they're all shocked by the visible tilting neck joint I put on them. Guitar players love it because you can literally reset the neck in fifteen seconds. Luthiers hate it because they see hardware. "Go pick up a banjo!" is my response. Besides which, I'm kind of over it with guitar shows showing primarily to other luthiers; they don't buy guitars!

This will be my first festival- im sure ill be dazzled by all the talent ill be surrounded by- hopefully will get some orders out of it.

I hope to meet you one day Rick- your never ending quest to refine methods and materials reminds me of my old boss, Gerard Gilet :) its a good trait.