One Reason You Need to Go to a Guitar Festival

Guitar festivals are a good time. Imagine yourself immersed in lecture sessions, lessons, and masterclasses. Then throw in some concerts by artists you’ve been dying to see for years.

But those are not the real reason reason you should go to a guitar festival.

It’s all about the people. Guitar festivals are full of extraordinary people. These people may be the teaching artists or the guys who organized it or just some friends you met along the way. It doesn’t matter. A guitar festival is an opportunity to interact with great people from all over.

Some Great People I Met in the Last Two Weeks

It’s been a busy two weeks. I drove from Fort Worth to Macomb, IL then to Chicago, then back again. Along the way I played three concerts, gave four lectures, and spent the time hanging out with some extraordinary people. So let me introduce them to you.

Matt Warnock makes me feel lazy. He’s an amazing jazz guitarist (who can play with his fingers faster than most classical guitarists can ever hope to), runs a guitar program, is the editor of Guitar International Magazine, and does a lot of other freelance work. Matt is the guy behind the WIU Guitar Fest.

Tom Clippert and Jeffrey Silva of the Avanti Guitar Trio make a living playing and teaching in one of the harshest guitar environments in the world: Chicago. There are politics aplenty that keep many guitarists from working there, but Jeff and Tom maintain an active performance schedules and teach some amazing students. (Shout out to my friends in the guitar studio at ChiArts.)

Jesse Mazzoccoli loves guitar. He’s been playing and teaching professionally for years, but only recently decided to go back and do the guitar degree thing. Jesse is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.

Guilherme Vincens is an incredible guitar player. I’m always amazed at how relaxed and chill he is on stage. He projects the sort of confidence that let’s an audience truly relax and enjoy the music.

Dan Koentopp is passionate about building guitars. And when you talk with him about it, you can’t help but notice. He uses a blend of old school methods and modern technology to produce some great classical and archtop guitars.

Most of you probably know Brad DeRoche. He founded Strings by Mail. He’s also a great guitarist and a nice guy. He knows a lot about strings and nice guitars. (A LOT.)

If I saw you at a concert or lecture, thank you so much for coming out!

Posted on in Guitar Related Links


  • Jorgos


    I brief suggestion for you Festivals/Competitions page:

    It would be great to have a sortable table. If one wants it sorted by date, hit date. If one wants it sorted by Country, click country.

    Perhaps this can help:

    Plus: Adding the locations of festivals/competitions to Google maps would be really cool!


    • Christopher Davis

      Thank you so much for that sortable table link! It’s up and running. All the columns are sortable: date, name, city, country, and state.

      I’m working on a way to incorporate maps. I don’t a ton of javascript, so it may take a while (and it’s not at the top of my list of things to do).

      • Jorgos

        Wow thank! Brilliant – now it can easily be sorted by country.
        (sorting by date is still a problem… ISO format [YYYY-MM-DD] would solve that)

        Please can you list 4 of my favourite missing festivals (when you find the time):

        Guitar Festival Rust
        in Rust, Austria
        next festival: 4 – 8 April 2012

        ligita (Liechtensteiner Gitarrentage)
        in Eschen, Liechtenstein
        next festival: 2 – 9 July 2011

        Guitar Festival Mikulov
        in Mikulov, Czech Republic
        next festival: 3 – 9 July 2011

        International guitar festival of J. K. Mertz
        in Bratislava, Slovakia
        next festival: not yet announced

        The idea of maps is nice.
        But one really needs to be careful with the exact locations. Example: the Rotenburger Gitarrenwoche festival is actually not precisely in Rotenburg, but instead in Ahausen, Rotenburg (Wümme), Germany. Additionally: there are at least 3 cities/towns called Rotenburg. etc….
        This means that one really must check the websites for the contact details…
        (in google maps you can make it precise right down to the street-address 😉 )

        • Christopher Davis

          Yes, it just becomes a time thing: how much time do I spend on getting information about these festivals? Do I need to collect exact data, or should I just keep in general and let folks who are interested fill in the details.

          Implementing static maps is not a big deal, dynamic maps is a bit more work.

          For now it will probably stay as it is.

          I’ll put your festivals in this weekend. I can’t put in anything without scheduled dates, sorry.

  • Jorgos

    One other thing:
    The date format you use is confusing:

    When I see 06/11/11
    I interpret 6 November 2011.

    The international date format (ISO standard) could be used to improve this:


    • Christopher Davis

      I can’t change the dates without changing them sitewide: the gigpress plugin I use pulls in date formatting from my wordpress settings.

    • Christopher Davis

      I’m going to try, at some point. My current teacher, Tom Johnson, goes to Iserlohn every year and has a lot of good stuff to say about it. Just a finances thing: poor grad student and all.