We’re in paradise. Almost like 75 degrees, the air is cool and dry and the sun shines all day in Sun Valley. Averill Harriman probably paid a lot, a long time ago, for assembly of words just like these. No exaggeration, this week has been super for us in every respect, really.
Our RV parking is a large level ski resort asphalt parking lot with no utilities. The lot is in Ketchum, at the River Run Resort. We use the resort’s super-nice showers and have dancing lessons there. Much of each day finds us at Sun Valley Lodge or Sun Valley Inn or one of the other resort lodges.
Sun Valley Company does everything first class, from what we can see. The craftsmanship evident in the buildings and campus is stunning. Woodwork, tile, marble, stonework, all are beautifully done everywhere we look. Money doesn’t necessarily obtain first class results, but Sun Valley Company seems to do it right.
And so it is with the Sun Valley Jazz Jamboree, a first-class act. I know, I know, everyone has their favorite Jazz Festival whether in Mystic or Chandler or Pismo or Medford or Sun Valley or somewhere else. We don’t need comparisons, this one is the greatest for us.
Two hundred twenty-four musicians perform daily from 09:30 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. in eleven venues throughout Ketchum and Sun Valley. Twenty dance lesson sessions occur between Friday and Saturday, of which we attended seven. We’re currently expert in Balboa (pure), Swing, Lindy Hop, Foxtrot, and ChaCha. Not really, but we are getting the hang of Swing, after eight or nine years of trying.
And the music — we’ve attended over one dozen sets of great jazz bands from all over North America. We listened to sets by Cornet Chop Suey, Blue Street Jazz Band, Midiri Brothers, Tom Rigney, Brady McKay, Titan Hot Seven, Bill Allred’s Classic Jazz Band, Meshiya Lake & the Little Big Horns, Dixieland Express, and several others.
The last set of the jazz fest, for us, was one of the best with Jeff Barnhart, Bob Draga, and Danny Coots. Today provided us with several great sets, though. We heard Titan Hot Seven (also with Barnhart and Coots and with Flip Oakes‘ tremendous trumpet and cool cornet.) Professors Lite entertained us with their wacky humor and great music in the Sun Valley Inn dining room. And Midnight Serenaders played a swinging set at Warm Springs Lodge just north of town.
Seven hours of dance lessons, fifteen or twenty hours of hot jazz, and we’re pumped up. And we’ve filled the truck with gas and provisions for our 1,000 mile trip to Mesa AZ. Today has been our mildest day yet with partly sunny skies and warm temperatures through most of the evening.
The weather has been as great as we could have wished for. Low temperatures have been in the thirties, highs in the sixties, and bright sunshine every day. We’ve had a little rain, mostly at night when we’re in bed. Our solar panels have completely restored our batteries daily.
All around us, it seemed, the other RVs ran their generators every day. Our generator sat smugly under the rear of our trailer, ready for action if only we would pull it out from its shelter. We didn’t need the generator at all. We hit float voltage every day pretty early, so the batteries get polished nicely afterward. The furnace ran a few times nightly to keep our home above 45 degrees, and we still had plenty of battery each morning.
We volunteered over 30 hours between us this year and 24 hours last year. Volunteering is a great way to meet a lot of other people from all over North America and provide much needed help operating the jazz fest. The payback for volunteering is pretty sweet — the directors comp our passes and parking for the entire week. And we received a pretty nice luncheon with ALL the hundreds of volunteers.
Friends told us about this event last year and we signed on through the Airstream club, WBCCI. Region 10, a northwest U.S. and southwest Canada region of WBCCI, sponsors an Airstream rally in connection with this jazz fest. Sixteen Airstreams parked in a pair of facing rows creating a pretty cool spectacle. We attracted a lot of looks and questions from people walking through on their way to River Run lodge to hear music. We’re glad Region 10 continues to sponsor the rally so more folks can hear about it like we did.
Our plan, when we arrived, was to call this our last SVJJ for a couple of years. The plan, however, failed to consider how exciting and entertaining all the hot jazz is for us. Call it a benefit of full-timing — we can spend a week almost anywhere on the continent, right? We’re coming back next year — just can’t help it, gotta do this swing thing again. Listen to the music from any of the groups listed above and we’re sure you’ll understand.
Gotta go for now — big driving day tomorrow. Getting up early and heading south.
See you down the road!