I spent last weekend in Switzerland, not far from Geneva, in an area known as La Côte, at a flute festival . I have never been disappointed by this kind of event. There was a standard mix of extraordinary things: masterclasses, concerts, exhibitions of flute-related things, and plenty of people who were enthusiastic about making music with flutes.
I have always come away from this kind of event with two conflicting emotions: there's "Why do I bother, I'll never be as good as these guys", and also "Hey, there's lots of interesting new techniques I can use to improve my practice, and playing".
The simple truth is, that the professionals that I admire started from about 6 years old, practiced two hours a day in their early teens and five hours a day in their late teens and early twenties. Aint going to happen for me. On the other had, I do it purely for pleasure. I have spent considerable time doing things I was good at that I didn't particularly like, so now I'm doing something different, just for the enjoyment.
How about these plastic flutes and piccolos? They hardly weigh anything, and are bright and colourful, with a good sound. What kid wouldn't want to play one? I quite fancy one myself.
The main venue was architecturally dodgy; soviet brutal style, with the inside finished in concrete. But the on-site theatre and music rooms were well-appointed and comfortable. There were other (prettier) venues around the town where some concerts and classes were held, with a shuttle bus service between them all.
The two highlights for me were the jazz jam session with Geoff Warren and his amazing band, and the concert by Wissam Boustany and Aleks Szram, but these are personal preferences. There was nothing not to like.
It was all organised by a petite bundle of energy; Carol Reuge. Nice work.