I started this thread in hopes that others who attended this year's guitar gathering would share their experiences also.
It took me a long time to decide to come to the 2015 Guitar Gathering, not because I didn't want to go or I had other commitments but simply because I was intimidated. Which for me is a rare and uncomfortable feeling.
I started my guitar learning in November 2012. In that time I have mastered sessions 1-6. For the last year I have concentrated on learning and playing songs, mostly to play open chords and get comfortable with making chord changes, and partly because barre chords are in session 7.
I wanted to come to Gathering but I didn't think I knew enough to feel comfortable around some of the really great players that I knew would be there. After much consternation and a little soul searching (I know seems a bit much for a guitar conference) I decided I was going to attend, Where/when else would I get to meet Steve, see Jack Pearson, Nokie Edwards, Bret Mason, or Johnny Highland live and within touching distance? Not to mention a personal guided tour of the Musicians Hall of Fame and tickets to NAMM.
So I paid my fee, packed the car and drove the 12 hours to get here. (My wife helped me do the driving God bless her.)
And as I thought when I got here I felt a little out of place because everyone here was a better guitarist than me, and had been playing longer than me. But as I started to introduce myself around the room I noticed 2 things, First everyone was very friendly and second nearly everyone else was just as nervous as I was.
The learning part of the gathering was fantastic, Will, Tom and Dino were fantastic, great players and even better human beings. Steve took time to answer some of my questions and encouraged everyone to participate as much as we could in all the sessions.
Last night I had the chance to have dinner with Desi Serna, He gave Dave_White and I a little private lesson on fretboard theory and the philosophy behind the books. Desi was great, very personable and even took selfie's with several of us after the concert.
On the registration form Steve asked if we wanted to participate in the Student Showcase by playing a song or two for the group, needless to say I checked the NO box on that one. But after talking to some of the other students I realized that everyone was pretty terrified at the thought of playing in front of the group.
After the first day we went to see Jack's concert and while waiting in line Diane_B asked me if I was going to play and I immediately said no way. She simply said "everyone is very supportive". And that is what made me decide to give it a try. So yesterday when Steve asked if anyone wanted to go first, I volunteered.
I played Entitlement by Jack White. I started out in my lower register but nerves got to me and my throat tightened up and I had to switch to my higher register. I made a couple of flubs on chord changes (remember why I spent the last year learning songs?) but for the most part it was just bad not awful. When I was done everyone clapped and gave me their congratulations. It was really cool.
Thanks Diane_B for the encouragement.
Anyway the moral of this rather rambling story is don't be intimidated or discouraged because you don't feel you are good enough. Just come and enjoy the Gathering, and if you are feeling it, give the Student Showcase a try, you won't regret it.