Chuck Taggart, hanging out with Eddie Bo
Festival Tours International was started in 1982 by Nancy Covey. In those days Nancy was the Concert Director at McCabe's, a small music club in Los Angeles. Part of her job was to travel to music festivals to seek out musicians to play the club. Her first tours took on the same style as her own travels -- a style that continues to this day -- visiting musicians and getting to the heart of where the music comes from. Having a severe case of CTD (Compulsive Travel Disorder) Nancy combined her love and knowledge of music and friendships with musicians with her vast experience of travel and thus Festival Tours was born.
Nancy has gone on to produce concerts and festivals of her own. Married with children, she splits her time between Los Angeles and London.
Since these are very personalized trips Nancy always leads them.
Nancy is joined on our Louisiana tour by Carole Raye, a renowned acupressurist and music aficionado, who lives in Mendocino, CA. Carole has been going to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival since 1980 and has worked with Nancy on her tours for more years than either of us can remember!
For our trip to Cuba Nancy is accompanied by Alba Aponte, who knows Cuba.s culture and people from her many years of living there. Originally from Granada, Spain, Alba owns the successful natural wine bar / deli/ restaurant Al Sur De Granada in Andalusia. (A second branch is opening soon in London). Alba is married to Cuban trumpeter Yelfris Valdes, formerly with the band Sierra Maestra. They currently reside in London.
Jeff & Joey Thompson (no relation), who also live in Los Angeles, take care of the paperwork for all the tours (except Cuba) and along with Lauren Adovasio at Fasbender & Associates make sure that the checks aren't lost. Jeff and Joey actually got married on the Isle of Skye during Nancy's 1987 Tour to England & Scotland - where Scottish musician Phil Cunningham wrote and played a tune for their wedding!
Sue Griffith designs the graphics for our website and many other Festival Tours projects. Like so many others on our team, Nancy met Sue at McCabe's where she was a sound engineer and also owner and artist at Venice T-Shirt Company. A very talented designer, Sue enjoys music and most of all traveling!
Chuck Taggart, Gumbo Pages head honcho and mixmaster extraordinaire, has been helping Festival Tours with our webpage and general advice since he was a roots music radio DJ at KCRW a million years ago. His informative, fun webpage gumbopages.com, to which Festival Tours is linked, contains a wealth of information about Louisiana cuisine and culture and is dedicated to "the enjoyment of great food, drink and music, and to the preservation of New Orleans culture." Chuck lives in Los Angeles and goes to New Orleans as often as possible - and why not?!
But don't take our word for it... read the quotes below!
"Nancy's trips have a real spirit of exploration and adventure. She takes you to amazing places tourists never go. We made contacts and new friends and did so many things that you just couldn't do on your own..."
-- Musician Henry Kaiser
"A trip on Nancy Covey's musical excursions is to get INSIDE the culture your visiting. She knows all the local musicians, all the local chefs, and you get steeped in an insider's view that can't be had if you're a tourist. It's better to wander lost, than to follow a map made by tourists. With Nancy you get extremely interesting traveling companions, a very happy stomach, and the soundtrack is unique regional songs played live! I'm a musician, and I had a blast!"
-- John Densmore, percussionist.
"Everyone should go on one of Nancy's tours at least once in their lifetime!"
-- Sandy Miranda, KAWL 91.7 FM, San Francisco
"I never thought of myself as a 'tour' type person. I figured if you could put me in a half mile or so of Cropredy I would call us even. But in the end it was so much more than that. I had prepared myself for the musical experience but I hadn't expected meeting a group of people I felt an instant rapport with!"
-- John Collier
"We often felt favored and privileged guests. Joey and Jeff always seemed to be at the right place at the right time with the right attitude. It was easy to forget how hard you all must have been working to make things easy and fun for us."
-- Lynn Henderson
"You don't feel like you're on a tour. Your're invited into people's lives."
-- Linda Austin
For more information email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us at 310 454 4080.
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