The Fandango, as we call it here in Austin, starts on Wednesday with the first classes and milonga. It's not too late to book a flight and a room. Drive on in if you are close enough. Although in Texas, that's a loaded statement. Nothing's close in Texas.
Los "maestros" are:
Fabian Salas y Maria Paz Giorgi
Guillermo Merlo y Fernanda Ghi
Diego di Falco y Carolina Zokalski
Nito y Elba Garcia
Alex Krebs y Luciana Valle
Pablo Pugliese y Noel Strazza
The topics of the classes are not announced until the morning of the day of the classes. The DJ's for the milongas are not announced in advance either. You find out when you get there. It's one of the most expensive, if not the most expensive festivals in the U.S. $589 for the full, unlimited pass. $159 for the "all milonga" pass (seven milongas), $119 if you skip the Thanksgiving brunch milonga (six milongas). Plus, there's no 'a la carte' class pricing, only full day passes. You could ski all four mountains in Aspen, rent skis, have lunch and drink apres ski at Ajax Tavern for less. Ricardo won't like that I am being negative, but it's a festival that really discriminates against local dancers (especially our UT student contingent), and sometimes the truth hurts. But, he's been doing it for 10 years now, and I'm sure he knows what works for him.
The hotel/venue is a nice one - the Omni Hotel Southpark - 5 minutes away. I had a luxurious delusion at one point of getting a suite, and having a "hospitality suite", sort of like a green room that all festivals are sorely lacking. It's an extravagance I can't justify right now. My recent move and then the long road trip set me back about four or five festivals, including airfare and hotel. Or two festivals in Europe, or three trips to Buenos Aires. Or one Nikon D-3 body. Oh well. We do what we gotta do.
This festival has a "ballroomy" undertone to it. At least that's what I felt last year. I understand that the organizer Ricardo comes from the ballroom world, and I hear that the event organization and pricing structure is similar to what you might encounter for a ballroom dance event.
That being said, I had some really good dances last year, one or two amazing dances, reconnected with old friends, and made some new ones. I'm looking forward to seeing friends from Dallas and Houston. My Phoenix cohorts can't make it though. Bummer.