Open source banjo maven Patrick Costello writes,
We have been hosting folk musician retreats for the last couple of years here in Crisfield, Maryland. The idea is to bring musicians together in a funky old house on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay to jam and share ideas. From our very first event we have been able to draw musicians from all over the world and the mix ranges from rank beginners to seasoned professionals.
When we started the project we were charging a registration fee to cover food and lodging, but as the event started to grow we realized that we had to rethink how we running things.
For our last retreat on September 17-20 2009 we decided to take a risk and make the event free - food, lodging and access to the event all at no charge. We simply passed the hat and asked folks to contribute what they could to keep the event going. (Canada Goose Records has released a soundscape of our April 2009 Retreat under a CC-license.)
This probably won't surprise you, but we wound up bringing in enough to cover a good deal of the expenses for our next retreat on May 6-9 2010.
So we are going to continue running the Crisfield Folk Musicians Retreat as a pass-the-hat funded event. Four days of amazing music, fellowship, good food and amazing scenery for whatever you can afford to throw into the hat.
(Attentive readers will remember that Patrick had been legally and painfully deaf for some time, and recently had corrective surgery via a BAHA implant; he adds, "My Baha implant is amazing. I can hear! For the past month I have been wandering around like a little kid listening to birds and crickets. Most of all I can hear my instruments again. It has been so wonderful being able to just kick back with my guitar and play without struggling to make out the sounds or having to hunch over and rest my teeth on the upper bout.
My father caught the activation of the device on video. I have a hard time watching the bit where I hear my guitar for the first time in years.
Technology is just grand!)