It’s been quite a while since Portland TangoFest 2017, and I only noticed I never did a write up about it.  Why? Skipped my mind at the time, and editing pictures takes a while that I’d rather have all my pictures done before writing about it so I can have the pictures available for everyone by the time this is posted.  That didn’t happen, and I’ve had my pictures done and completed for a while, up on facebook and such, but never wrote anything afterwards. Just the other day at the local practica, I was asked what my thoughts were about Portland TangoFest as a few community members were planning on adding it to their list of festivals this year. I’ve always enjoyed going to Portland TangoFest, told them as such, and that it feels more local, a smaler scale compared to ValenTango for sure. Fun, enjoyable, good people, nice venue, fun vibe and with the upstairs, downstairs, and main hall in the one building, pretty spacious.

Photos First!

I want to get to addressing the photos I’ve taken before going into the rest of the festival, mainly because people love photos, and since it was the first festival I went to with my new camera, felt fitting. With the lighting at the venue, the performance photos ended up being scrapped as I didn’t adjust my settings prior for the harsh spotlight and dimmed room lights. The galleries have been on facebook for a while, so you can find me and can view them publicly, send me a friend request, or like my page on facebook/youtube/instagram/twitter/etc. I’ve recently put pictures up on an online service that also sells prints, high resolution downloads, or 1200px downloads with a watermark. Unless otherwise noted, I’m not paid by any festivals yet to come and photograph, so everything, from gear, time photographing, festival pass, lodging, travel, and editing time is all out of my own pocket/love of tango.

– Check out the Gallery –

The pictures I took at this festival were really enlightening on what I needed to do to capture those who were dancing. I met some of the local dancers who were also doing photography, re-connected with friends, spoke about the Connect festival, met new amazing people, and more. I only had two lenses with me through the festival, my 50mm 1.8D Manual focus prime, and my 35mm AF-S 1.8G prime.  These translated into a 75mm and 52mm since I’m on a Nikon crop frame sensor. If you aren’t big on photography, it was just my options were limited and couldn’t get close up pictures unless I was physically near the floor. The manual focus was also an interesting endeavor!

Photo from my LG G5 at Burning Tango 2017

Festival Impressions

Portland Tangofest has always struck me as a fun festival, you have a good mix of dancers, and usually the newer dancers are local to the area. Never struck me as a newbie friendly festival, but I’ve always found this as a festival to go to if you’re social and can make friends easily. If you’re shy, anxious, and not very knowledgeable then I would think you’ll have a harder time getting on the dance floor or making eye contact to dance. There ARE many friendly people, but if you do get social anxiety, this festival wouldn’t really be my recommendation, Connect, and even ValenTango I feel is more newcomer friendly. Portland Tangofest gives me a feeling of Buenos Aires in vibe but updated a bit, mostly due to the venue and layout of the main ballroom.

The alternative upstairs I always enjoyed, but gets hot even with the windows open, and offers a change of pace away from the main ballroom at night, and the bar being open during the evenings allows a good point to refresh without leaving the venue. You are in the same old area/side of town as ValenTango, so there is a lot nearby for food and lodging.

Photo from my D5600 at Connect 2017

There is live music on a few different evenings, from the local Tango band with Alex Krebs, plus another traveling tango band from Argentina. The teachers I’m usually unfamiliar with, but did known Dominic Bridge this year, but from looking at the 2018 lineup I don’t know any names off hand. The teachers and classes have never personally been something I seek out at festivals. This is not because I think I’m better, it’s because I know many things I need to keep improving on in my own dance which require my attention to improve. If i’m at a point that I feel adding something new to my dance will help at the time, I’d consider an intermediate class, or an advanced class with a steady partner. Or i’d try and arrange a private if available.

Photo from my D5600 at Portland Tangofest 2017

The festival has a nice feel to it.  Sure there is room for improvement with the alternative playlist/DJs, which has always felt like the weak link to the festival, but I find it more difficult to DJ alternative than traditional.  The live music, traditional DJs, performances, vibe, and even the photo booth was fun this year.  I enjoy Portland, this festival, and would say come and check it out. You’ll get a nice experience overall, and come say Hi!  I’ll be there this next year!