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We just got back from the Southeastern Harp Weekend in beautiful Asheville, NC and thought we'd share some photos with you. We spent most of our time inside the vendor hall, so these photos don't do justice to the gorgeous fall scenery and wooded setting of the Lutheridge Retreat Center, but here's a glimpse into the harp festival experience from a vendor's point of view.
Owners Sue and Ray take a break from chatting with people at the Dusty Strings booth. This kind of festival is a fun opportunity to meet new harpists and say hello to current Dusty owners, and it's also a sort of family reunion with other harp makers from around the country. Sue and Ray have known many of them for 30 years and it's always fun to share old stories and catch up on each others' new developments.
A harpist tries out a cherry FH36S inside our plexiglass sound shield, which reflects the sound of the harp and filters out some of the noise from surrounding booths. This particular harp was played in the harp tasting and was also played by Sunita Staneslow in the Friday concert. Sunita plays a bubinga FH36S in Israel, but borrows a harp from us at festivals rather than traveling with her harp.
Ray installs a pickup in someone's harp. A festival can be a great opportunity to get your harp worked on by the pros. Ray found himself in high demand for Dusty Harp Pickup installations and there was no extra room in the booth, so he carved out a makeshift workshop space in a nearby storage closet.
He did a few regulations in the storage closet as well...
...and an impromptu regulation class.
With so many requests for pickup installations, there was more work than we could fit in three days at the booth, so Ray and Christy did a late-night regulation at the hotel in their pajamas.
Ray does a mini spa treatment on a customer's harp.
Ray finishes preparing the pallets for shipping back to Seattle. Many of the other vendors road-trip to Asheville with their gear, but Dusty Strings and the other west coast harp makers have to send our stuff ahead with a freight company. It took us about three hours to tear down the booth and carefully pack our boxes, and then we took our aching feet off to bed before catching a plane home in the morning.
We'll see everyone next at the January NAMM show in L.A.!