Buffet Crampon Festival Greenline Review – Is It Worth It?

The Buffet Crampon Festival Greenline is a professional clarinet that I’ve been using as a classical music artist and also as an indie popular music artist for more than 10 years. The Festival Greenline is my favorite clarinet model from the large clarinet catalog of the well-known wind instrument brand Buffet Crampon, for its rare features  that give me the facility to perform indoors and outdoors, without worrying about the probable deformations caused by the weather conditions

The Festival is one of the most popular clarinet models of the French wind instruments manufacturer brand, Buffet Crampon. The model is designed with the advice of three classical clarinet virtuosos, Jacques Lancelot, Guy Deplus and Michel Arrignon, in 1987. The Festival offers you a clarinet in Bb and a clarinet in A. It’s up to you either to choose one of them, or to get a set of two together.

Buffet Crampon Festival Greenline

9.1

Long Durability

9.0/10

Quality of the Materials

9.0/10

Tone Color

9.0/10

Convenience for Professional Use

9.5/10

Pros

  • Round and yet bright sound, adjustable to different genres
  • Resistant Green LinE material
  • Two barrels for tuning facility
  • Blue steel springs for the key movement accuracy
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Deficiency of the low-F improvement

There are two body material options for the Festival. The original one is made with the unstained Grenadilla (also known as African blackwood) and the Greenline is made with the Green LinE material. Actually, these two body material options are available also for other clarinet models of the Buffet Crampon.

In this review, I will talk about the main features of the Festival clarinets, the Green LinE material and also the reason why I chose the Greenline version, besides the advantages and the probable disadvantages.

Buffet Crampon Festival Greenline Clarinet

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Overview

Buffet Crampon is a prestigious, French style manufacturer of wind instruments, going back to 1825. The company is famous especially for their production of Boehm system clarinets. Various clarinet models for students, teachers and professional artists are present in their catalog.

The Festival is a model principally designed for professional use. It offers you all the features needed to perform the entire classical clarinet repertoire and/or to perform jazz, folk or popular music, thanks to its round but still slightly bright sound. The Festival is also much less heavy than many other clarinets.

Both the original and the greenline versions have mostly the same technical specifications such as; silver plated keywork, poly-cylindrical bore according to the Buffet Crampon method, metal-capped tenons, Eb/Ab lever, 100% waterproof material (Grotex) pads, leather and natural cork, 18 keys, 6 rings, 2.55” and 2.59” barrels for the clarinet in Bb as well as 2.55” and 2.52” barrels for the clarinet in A for tuning easily in 440 Hz and/or 442 Hz, blue steel springs for the key movement accuracy.

A mouthpiece, a ligature, and a cleaning cloth are included in the clarinet box. You will probably need to get the mouthpieces, ligatures and reeds that are most suitable for you, as these accessories are essential pieces for creating the exact sound you want.

The Green LinE Material and The Greenline Series

I would also talk about the “Green LinE” material in detail. It is made from the compacted Grenadilla powder (95%) and carbon fiber. Small pieces of the African blackwood (the rests from the wood which is used for the fabrication) get crushed until it turns into the Grenadilla powder. Later, the Grenadilla powder gets pressed with the carbon fiber to obtain the Green LinE material.

This material doesn’t get cracked by the sudden temperature and humidity changes. It has always been one of the biggest handicaps of the original Grenadilla clarinets to get cracked in time. In the meantime, the Greenline material is beneficial for the environment, as it reduces the extra cutting of the Grenadilla woods. The Greenline clarinet series had been released to the market in 1994.

How to play different genres with the Festival Greenline?

One of the highlights of the Festival Greenline is its convenience for adjusting the sound considering different styles, eras and genres. It doesn’t offer you a round but still not an exactly warm sound. With the right playing techniques and accessories such as mouthpiece, ligature and reed, you can have a completely different sound. If you wish to play jazz, latin pop or even folk music, you will be able to have the ideal sound, only by changing the accessories. The Festival Greenline is the best option, if you are looking for such flexibility.

What’s it like to perform and to create music with the Festival Greenline?

I think that the Festival Greenline may be the best choice for those who love to explore different musical experiments and experiences but probably not for those who have more traditional and classical expectations. Personally, I have never played such an easy-going instrument. As a classical music student, I also had the chance to explore world music thanks to my clarinet teacher. Exploring different genres and techniques also showed me how the Festival Greenline was the perfect instrument for sudden changes in various terms.

It already offers me everything for the classical repertoire. I’m able to perform as a soloist in front of a symphonic orchestra and also as an indie artist at a festival without any problem. For alternative genres, for performing anytime, anywhere you want, you can count on it. Another facility that it offers to performers is the lightweight. It helps to perform for long periods of time without having pain.

It may not be the ideal clarinet for everyone. I have met some clarinet artists who had different expectations for different reasons. Actually, except for the absence of the low-F improvement, the disadvantages of the Festival Greenline are definitely depending on your physical characteristics and on what kind of sound you want.  If you take good care of it, you can use it for many years.

Drawbacks of the Festival Greenline

If you want a very warm clarinet sound which is similar to the German style, then the Festival Greenline may not be a good option for you. Also, for those who are very into that real wood feeling, it may not be the right choice because of the Green LinE material. If you are physically a large person with big, strong hands and arms, you may find it too soft. In addition, it doesn’t have the low-F improvement, as the most current models have.

Alternatives to the Buffet Crampon Festival Greenline

Buffet Crampon Festival (Original Version)

View Price at Thomann (EU & UK)View Price at Amazon

An alternative that has the same sound quality may be the original version of the Festival. It isn’t made of the Green LinE material, though. This means, you will still have an instrument that gives you the similar flexibility, without being as easy-going as the Festival Greenline.

Buffet Crampon Tosca Greenline

View Price at Thomann (EU & UK)

A more expensive alternative with a warmer sound may be the Tosca Greenline. It is a more recent model with low-F improvement. It is heavier with less sound flexibility, compared to the Festival Greenline.

Summary

No matter if you are a curious classical music artist who loves to explore different repertoires, or if you are a clarinet artist who is far from the classical genre, the Festival Greenline will give you all you need as long as you take good care of it.

Arda Tuncer

Arda Tuncer

Arda Tuncer is a music producer, composer, songwriter, arranger, and performer. She releases music as part of the music duo, Kronik Leila. She has worked and collaborated with some prestigious orchestras around Europe, while also holding University positions as music theory professor and music research assistant. Arda studied music theory and clarinet at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris and completed her degree at the Conservatory of Strasbourg in France.

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