I have not updated my thread yet, as I can not show many photographs before a selection of them are published. Anyway, I did go to Amdo & Kham for 16 days (18 days total), including the Repkong/Tongren Shaman festival, Larung Gar and Yarchen Gar monasteries and plenty of places in between. There was just one agency which promised that they could get me to these places, others claimed they were closed for tourists. We did actually cross two towns and regions which have been totally off limits to foreigners since 2008, our papers were never checked. I travelled alone, so the cost was high, 4300 Euros for the Land Cruiser, driver and guide, including all hotels, entrance tickets where required etc. This was quite an experience and still 1000€ less than the guided Shaman festival for 10 days only.
With 4 persons sharing the car it would have been only 1300€/pax, over 4000€ cheaper than the workshop, even if longer and much more interesting in the whole.
Here are 4 samples from the Derge printing house, Yarchen Gar monastery and Repkong shaman festival.