For the first time in its 70 year history, the Accordionists and Teachers Guild is bringing its annual festival west of the Rockies to California. The celebration takes place this week — from July 21 to 25 — at the Hilton in Santa Clara, south of San Francisco and just down the road from Let’s Polka headquarters.
This year’s festival includes performances by featured artists and festival orchestras, numerous workshops (from “Bass Patterns” to “Understanding and Playing Balkan Rhythms”), and plenty of opportunities to rub bellows with some of the world’s best accordionists. There’s also the Anthony Galla-Rini Classical Accordion Competition, with over $10,000 in prizes at stake, and special screenings of the documentary “Behind the Bellows”. If you’re a more casual fan, there will be concerts every night (Thursday-Saturday) featuring the likes of Alexander Sevastian, Cory Pesaturo, and more; admission is just $15.
Cory Pesaturo and the Galla-Rini Festival Orchestra will also be performing a special concert on Saturday afternoon at the Great America amusement park. Roller coasters + accordions… what could be better?
I’m going to try to sneak over to the festival for a couple hours to see what’s going on and hopefully meet some of the folks we’ve been writing about these past few years. If you see a guy with a red “Let’s Polka” shirt wandering around, be sure to say hi!