MartinFest 8

The Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum

8th Annual Members' Get-Together

Last updated on Friday, July 31, 2009

All Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum members in good standing and their families and guests, and all Martin Guitar Company employees, families, and guests, are cordially invited to attend the Eighth Annual informal Get-Together for us lovers of Martin Guitars!  The setting will be both indoors and outdoors, definitely informal, and most of all there will be the opportunity to meet new friends, greet old ones, enjoy each other's company, and play the guitars which we have grown to love!

When:     Saturday, August 1, Sunday, August 2 and Monday, August 3, 2009, from approximately 10:00 am to dusk each day.  But, events will continue after dusk as well.

Where:    Nazareth, Pennsylvania.

Who:       YOU and your guests!

What:      Jamming, Martins on Main Street, a tour of the Factory, some special clinics, and lots of fun!

Here are the up-to-date details. Be sure to watch this page for periodic updates.

The Location --

Saturday:  The Circle, Nazareth, PA for "Martin on Main" 

Sunday:  Nazareth Borough Park - The Large Pavilion

Monday morning:  C.F. Martin & Co. - Private tour, goodies, time with Chris Martin!

Monday afternoon:  Nazareth Borough Park - The Large Pavilion again.

The Events --

1.  Friday, July 31, 2009:  This is the day of the annual Martin Owners Club event.  For those who are members, a full day over at Martin is planned.  See Martin's Web Site (Member Area) for details.

For the rest of our group, it's a free day, and we will have the use of the Cheers Lounge in the Bethlehem Comfort Inn.  Cheers and the conference room next to it (the "Morgan Room") are reserved for us for the entire weekend.  This usually kicks off in the afternoon.  There will also be the traditional informal wine sampling party earlier that day at the hotel. It's also rumored that some single malt and other unusual beverages may make an appearance as well. You are also welcome to go to the Park and use either Pavilion unless they've been reserved by a private group.  The UMGF has not reserved either Pavilion other than as noted below.

There is NO SMOKING at any time in the Cheers Lounge, Morgan Room, or anywhere inside the Comfort Inn except for certain designated private smoking bedrooms.  Please honor this at all times, even if you happen to be alone in one of the rooms for a short time.  Smoking is OK outside.

Also on Friday, and throughout the weekend for those who are attending MartinFest for the first time, there will be special name tags for you courtesy of our MartinFest Team Captain, Rhys Ord.  Friday is especially significant since it is our traditional time to meet old friends and greet new friends.  But your welcome will continue throughout the weekend, and by the time you leave you will wonder why you never came before!

2.  Saturday, August 1, 2009:  This will be the Second Annual "Martin on Main" event.  This is a cooperative event between the UMGF, C.F. Martin & Co., the Nazareth City Council, the Nazareth Chamber of Commerce, and the Nazareth Downtown Association.

a. The venue on Saturday will again be the Circle on Main Street.

b. Main Street will be closed for a block or so in every direction.

c. They will provide two tents for us in the Circle, one 20x40 and the other 20x10. These will be smaller than the Pavilion, but there are plenty of shade trees near the tents to sit under. There will also be an Admin tent. We will rent chairs and tables, and there are 20 tables which can be signed out at the Moravian church right behind us. We will be looking for volunteers to help with setup and breakdown shortly.  Chairs will be limited, so those of you who are driving to MartinFest are encouraged to bring folding chairs for your use.

d. There will be vendors all around the Circle and up and down the streets, with displays, food, wine, art, etc.

e. The Moravian Church on the Circle will provide a room for guitar storage. We will have the key and be in charge of that. As was the case last year, we will develop a list of volunteer Guitar Guards, which will be posted on the door of the room, in the Admin tent, and on the Forum.  You will need to sign your guitars in and out and be given a tag.  Please try to have all guitars out of the church by 6:15.  Strays and leftovers will be taken back to the Comfort Inn.

f. There will be an Open Mike all day, from 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm, completely under our control. It will be in the circle under some shade trees, and a stage will be provided. We have  also arranged for a sound system. We will solicit volunteers for the Open Mike and will publish it on the UMGF shortly.  Setup/takedown volunteers, Guitar Guard volunteers, and new performers will get first preference in that order. Your friendly Moderators, Don Hurley, Mark Stalwick and Ed Madonio, will be your emcees for this Open Mike session as well as all Open Mikes at the Park.

g. We are pleased to announce that our featured guest performer for MartinFest 8 will be the renowned blues artist and Martin clinician Kenny Sultan!  Kenny will give us a concert in the mid-afternoon on Saturday at Martin on Main and will also conduct a clinic on Sunday at the Park shortly after the baseball game.

h. The plan is also for most of us to roam around and have little jams on the streets, the corners, in front of shops, etc. There will be small stages set up in various spots. Everyone is encouraged to set up informal mini-groups and play for the public in the blocked off streets.  Anything goes - Beatles, CSN, Eagles, Grateful Dead - the more the better! 

i. Port-A-Johns have been arranged for.

j. Martin will broadcast this info to all 3,500 MOC members indicating that they are welcome to stay overnight and join us on Saturday (as indicated,the MOC event is on Friday). They are expecting about 1,000, and a good number of them might actually do that.

k. The township will advertise "Martin on Main " far and wide, on TV, radio, the press, etc. The goal is to get as many tourists as possible into town to listen to us and visit local merchants.

l. Parking will be at the Boro Park, and two 36-seat school busses have been arranged to take us back and forth to and from the short distance to the Circle.  They will run at 15-minute intervals from about 11:00 to 12:30 and 4:30 to 6:15, and at 30-minute intervals in between.  Given this logistical scenario, it's probably best to limit what you bring on Saturday to just one or two guitars, folding chairs if you have them, and other personal stuff such as a small cooler. 

This event continues to strengthen our relationships with Martin and the Township.

3.  Sunday, August 2, 2009:

As indicated, we'll be at the Large Pavilion.  The Large Pavilion is located past the concession stand on your left as you enter the Park.  It's at the end of the parking lot on the left.  We have the entire pavilion.  You can park in any open space in the lot - there is no fee.

Setup will be around 10:00 am after breakfast, and anyone wishing to help will be most welcome.  Following this, there will be a Sunday Morning Worship Jam at about 10:30. 

Then the Nazareth World Series IV will take place at the ballfield at about 11:30  noon, with the revitalized and rejuvenated UMGF Aging Toners up against the CFM&Co DreadNaughts.  There will be a coroner on duty.

Shortly after the game, we will have a guitar clinic by Kenny Sultan, our guest performer as mentioned above. This should be a great clinic for anyone interested in the blues!

After that, there will be time for jamming and friendship.  We will also start the Open Mike shortly afterwards, again emcee'd by Don Hurley, Mark Stalwick and Ed Madonio.

We are graced to have another breakout at about 3:30, when Mary Muelheisen Nowak, sister of the late Maury Muelheisen, will speak about remembrances and other matters.

A word about the Open Mikes at the Park -- No one has to participate in this activity, either as a performer, member of the audience, or worker bee.  Also, you do not have to drop whatever you are doing and listen in silence!  We do ask, however, that out of courtesy and consideration for those involved in the Open Mike, you move your jam or conversation to the other end of the Pavilion or elsewhere in the Park so that it does not interfere with the proceedings.  If the Log Cabin is not being used, the porch there is a good spot for jams as well.

After the final Open Mike, we will tentatively have a group photo at the back of the Large Pavilion, although this may take place on Monday instead. Then dinner and Cheers.

4.  Monday, August 3, 2009:  We will start our day with a private tour of the Martin Guitar Factory starting at 8:00 a.m. and ending at 10:50 a.m. We will break into groups of up to 15 and be given our private tour in 10 minute intervals in order to space out the groups.  Martin will again use its new sound system for the tours involving headsets.  Please be sure to return your headset after your tour!

I will have tour signup sheets available at Cheers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, and  all day Saturday at the Circle and Sunday at the Park.  These will be delivered to Martin first thing Monday morning.  This will be on a first come first served basis for those who met the deadline of July 18, and I will have that cutoff list in the signup package.  At about noon on Sunday, registration for the tour will open up for everyone.  If you are a latecomer, you can also sign up in the 1833 shop on Monday morning if there is space available. As of right now, I am anticipating that everyone will be able to get on a tour, but it may have to be one of the early ones.

When you arrive at Martin, please register in the Registration Tent, which will be adjacent to the food tent on the north side of the building.  You may then proceed to the front desk to check your guitar.

Martin will provide a private room for us to store our guitars while we are on the tour.  You will be asked to check your guitar at the front desk and take a tag, and it will be returned to you when you leave unless you are having Chris sign your guitar, in which case you will pick it up on the second floor.

After the tour, we will be Chris's guests for lunch, which will be from 10:30 to 1:30. This will again occur in the large tent that will be set up on the North Parking Lot on Beil Avenue.  We are looking for volunteers for an Open Mike during lunch, and we will be soliciting performers shortly in a thread on the UMGF.  New performers, Guitar Guard volunteers, and setup/takedown volunteers will get first preference.

Chris will then speak to the assembled group during lunch at 12:00, also in the tent.  His talk will be approximately 45 minutes, including time for questions.

Chris will be able to sign guitars again this year in the upper lobby. This will be from 1:00 to 1:45. The limit is one guitar per person, and please have your strings loosened before you get to Chris or you will be asked to step aside while you take care of that.  Only Martin instruments are eligible for Chris's signature.

Also, as was the case last year, Chris would like all attendees to have the opportunity to take advantage of the Museum, the new prototypes in the lobby, and the Picking Parlor at your leisure.

Then we are back to the Park for fellowship and jamming.  The Open Mike will start at approximately 1:30.  At about 3:00 or 3:30, we will have a repair/luthier clinic led by Steve Kovacik, John Hall, and whomever else they can recruit. This should prove to be a great breakout!

Other events during our morning at Martin:

** The newly released July NAMM models will be on display in the main lobby.  They are available for us to play, using care of course.

** There will be a neck shaping and inlay demonstration in the small tent south of the building on Sycamore Street.  It will run from 8:30 to 11:00.

Martin will have its quarterly employee meeting in the tent at about 2:15.  This is for Martin employees only, so we need to be out of there before then.  Please do not succumb to curiosity (it will be hard for me!) to hang out at the back of the tent and see what goes on at these things.  We need to respect Martin's privacy at this meeting, and I know that we all will.

Instead, we will have an afternoon of sociality and music at the Large Pavilion, again private and just for us. Once Martin's quarterly employee meeting is over, they will be invited to join us. As you walk through the factory and have your lunch, please encourage those you see to come!  Many employees also now drop by on Saturday and/or Sunday.  Please be sure to seek them out and thank them for coming!

Parking on Monday at Martin:

There are several possible locations where we can park.  These are:

1.  Any open white, nonreserved space behind or on the side of the Factory.

2.  The Schoeneck Moravian Church parking lot down the street (access is on the main road from Nazareth).

3.  The Visitors' Lot.

Videotaping -- Videotaping is permitted (except on the tour), but videotapes may only be used for rebroadcast on the UMGF for our private membership to enjoy.  Public posting of videotapes, such as on YouTube, etc., is prohibited unless you have the consent of all parties in the videotape.  There are also issues such as covers, etc., and so it really is best if it's just kept local.  We have no way of enforcing this, but we ask you to comply.


Buy and Sell -- There will be a designated area on Sunday and Monday at the Park to buy or sell guitars, other musical related gear, CD's and other UMGF related paraphernalia such as T-Shirts. This is limited to private and professional sales by UMGF members ONLY except for CD's, where all artists who are either members of the UMGF or are our guests are invited to offer CD's for sale. In the case of professional guitar sales, items must be limited to vintage/used guitars, new Customs made up especially for you, or handbuilt guitars that you have made. Otherwise, new Martin guitars may not be offered for sale pursuant to Martin Guitar Company policy. Other professional sales such as cases, strings, etc. may also participate. MartinFest is not a trade show, and professionals may not have signs, brochures etc. accompanying your items. A price and a contact point is all that is permitted for any seller. All persons are limited to 5 musical instruments or other items in Buy and Sell and are to use the designated tables in the Buy and Sell area and not set up their own private table. For purposes of this section, the term "professional" means authorized Martin dealers, authorized Martin warranty persons, other repair persons, independent luthiers and authorized dealers of other types of accessories and who have been an active member of the UMGF for not less than 6 months. There will be no Buy and Sell on Saturday.

Name Tags -- Name tags will be available in the Administration area at both the Circle and the Park.  Tags will be available for all registered members and their guests. There is a suggested voluntary contribution of $1.00 per tag.

Open Mike Signup Sheets -- There has been some confusion about this in the past. There are no signup sheets for the Open Mike at the Circle on Saturday or at Martin on Monday. Solicitations for volunteers will be posted and the lists set up by the Moderators. As indicated above, setup/breakdown volunteers, Guitar Guards, and new performers will get a preference. There will also be no signup sheet for the Worship Service on Sunday - this just seems to happen.

There will be signup sheets each day for the afternoon Open Mikes at the Park on Sunday and Monday. These can be found at the Admin area at the Pavilion. These will not be available in advance of each day.

Other General Info --

There is no entry fee at Nazareth Park, and there are restrooms, a concession stand, and other facilities available.  We will not be providing any food or beverage, so please bring your own or use the concession stand.  I have not been told that alcoholic beverages are prohibited, but if you bring beer or wine PLEASE be circumspect and responsible.

Most importantly, there is NO talent needed or required (other than a good sense of direction to Nazareth).  We will have an open mike for those who wish to participate, but all three afternoons are really intended just for getting together, enjoying each other's company, perhaps sharing tips and tricks, and just plain old having fun!

You will be responsible for keeping watch over your own instruments and other possessions and for loss of or damage to the same.  The parking lot at Martin & Co. is not secure (and also could get hot); however, as indicated above we have arranged for a room at Martin where we can store our instruments.  Nazareth Park is a public facility, so even though we have private areas, there could be many other persons passing through.  The Circle on Saturday will be even less secure, since the general public is invited to attend, so please keep a careful eye on your gear, other folks' gear, and also the chairs and tables, since we will have to pay for any that disappear.

Food and Beverage -- Since there is a concession stand at the Park, everyone is encouraged to bring his or her own other provisions or use the concession stand. The concession stand is 25 to 30 yards from the facility that we are using.  It is not open if it rains, but there is a pizzeria (Mivajo's) right up the road near Martin and other places available.

Pool -- The pool at Nazareth Borough Park is open to all.  The fee on Saturday and Sunday is $4.75 for minors (under 18) and $5.25 for adults.  On Monday it is $4.25 for minors and $4.75 for adults.

Weather --

Rain.  Rain or thunderstorms can spring up anytime in the summer in Nazareth.  It it's a light rain, the tents at the Circle and the Large Pavilion at the Park will be enough.  If it's a storm, do NOT stay in the tents in the Circle since they can blow down.  Go into the Moravian church for shelter, or if you're in town signing or shopping, into the nearest open merchant.  For those in the Circle, please pick up any extra gear you see lying on the tables etc. and bring it into the church with you.  We can sort it out later.

Heat.  It's normally hot all three days.  Bring plenty of water, and there's a water fountain in the Circle near the cannon.  Keep an eye on each other and yourselves for signs of heat exhaustion, such as heavy sweating, paleness, nausea, and even fainting.  Normally the person merely needs to sit in a cool place for an hour or so, but in the case of fainting 911 should probably be called.

Directions --

From the East:  Find your way to Interstate 78 in New Jersey.  Follow I-78 into Pennsylvania (do NOT get off onto Route 22, Phillipsburg).  About 6 miles into PA, take PA 33 North.  Continue until you see Route 248 and a sign for Nazareth.  Get off at this exit and bear right at the bottom of the ramp.  Go a few miles, past the huge concrete plant on your right, and turn right at the light by the Nazareth Diner.  Go through the town of Nazareth and past Nazareth Park on your left (yes, that is the park that we will be using).  You will then see the Schoeneck  Moravian Church on your right, quickly followed by Mivajo's Restaurant/Pizzeria.  Turn right immediately onto Beil Avenue, and you will see C.F. Martin & Co. on your right at the next intersection. The visitor's parking lot is on your right, but it will almost certainly be full, and so we have made other parking arrangements for Monday, as set forth below.

From the West:  Find I-78 East and get off onto Route 33, then follow the above directions.

From the South:  Take the PA Turnpike Extension up to I-78 East, then follow the above.

From the North:  Follow the directions on the Martin web site

Please note that these are all directions to Martin & Co.  As indicated above, Nazareth Borough Park is on the way to the factory (except if you're coming from the north), on the left very shortly after you get out of the business section of town.

Lodging  -- There are many places to stay in the Nazareth/Bethlehem area.  The Bethlehem Comfort Inn, 3191 Highfield Drive, Bethlehem, PA 18020, 610-865-6300, 800-732-2500, is where most folks are staying.  We have a group number, #3916 (NOT UMGF or Martin Guitar, etc.), but all rooms under that number are currently sold out.  But it pays to keep checking for cancellations!  The rate for the group is $89.00 for a single or a double.  

Here are some other suggestions found at the Nazareth Chamber of Commerce:

Bed and Breakfast:

Classic Victorian Bed and Breakfast, 35 North New Street, Nazareth, PA 18064, 610-759-8276. 

Inn at Heyer's Hill, 568 Heyer Mill Road, Nazareth, PA 18064, 610-759-6226

Hotels/Motels (all in or near Bethlehem. most with in-house restaurants and lounges):

Four Points Sheraton, right next to LVI.  A first class hotel, with an indoor pool, nice lounge and good restaurant.

Hampton Inn, Easton/Nazareth.  Low rates, indoor pool, closer to CFM & Co. than the Comfort by a couple of minutes.  No lounge or restaurant, but Continental breakfast.  610-250-6500

Comfort Inn, Easton, PA, 610-253-0546

Courtyard By Marriott, 2220 Emrick Boulevard, Bethlehem, PA 18020, 610-625-9500. This is a brand new hotel which is right off Route 33 near the Texas Roadhouse.

Comfort Suites, 120 West Third Street, Bethlehem, PA 18015, 610-882-9700

Courtyard by Marriott, 2160 Motel Drive, Bethlehem, PA 18018, 610-317-6200

Holiday Inn at the Gateway, Rtes 512 and 22, Bethlehem, PA 18017, 800-360-5050

Local sights and activities:

There is a new Sands Casino in Bethlehem with various activities and several restaurants.

The annual Musikfest is ongoing in Bethlehem.

Winery tour - Slate Quarry Winery offers tours and wine tasting.  The winery is located just outside of Nazareth.

Crayola Crayons - For the kids (including us grownup kids), the Crayola Factory offers tours every day of the week in nearby Easton, PA.

Also for kids, including grown-up kids, is Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown - rides, etc.

There are also walking tours of historic Nazareth and many other activities available.

Registration -- Registration is currently open and will end on Saturday, July 18, 2009 for a guaranteed tour and lunch on Monday.  The list of registrants is available HERE.  But, as indicated above, if you miss the deadline, the tour signup sheets will be open to all as of noon on Sunday, and usually everyone can be squeezed onto a tour. There will be plenty of other things to do anyway even if it doesn't work out.  The final registration date is July 29, 2009 for those who plan to come to the Circle or the Park on any or all days.

Registration Fee --  As always, the Registration Fee will be completely voluntary, and I will have a Contributions Jar in Cheers and at the Park on Sunday and Monday.  I'm not sure yet whether to bring the jar to the Circle on Saturday.  We have incurred extra expenses this year, and as a result the following contribution rates based on the number of persons in your party are suggested - but please keep in mind that they are suggested only, and there is no obligation whatsoever to make any contribution. 

Number of Persons

Suggested Contribution for 1 Day

Suggested Contribution for 2 or 3 Days


$8.00 $15.00
2 $15.00 $25.00
3 $20.00 $30.00

For purposes of the above, "person" means the UMGF member, his or her spouse, fiance or significant other, children 14 or over, and guests. Children under 14 are free as always.  If there are more than three persons in your party, please consider an additional contribution.

If you are making a contribution for something else, such as name tags, Buy & Sell voluntary fee, etc., please do not put it in the Contributions jar.  I'd like to keep these separate, and I will have a different container for this kind of donation.

Photos  -- Here are some pictures of the Log Cabin, the Large Pavilion, the old Martin Factory, and the old Martin Residence, now used by the Nazareth Chamber of Commerce.  There are some nice Martin guitars in there! 

Mac Carter, Webmaster