4th Annual St. Joseph International Guitar Festival & Competition

Ive been to the last 3 of these, and it’s really worth going if you can make it. There are guitar players coming from all over the world, so if you enjoy guitar this IS the place to be. More information is available from the official web site at: http://www.missouriwestern.edu/guitarfestival/

This festival/competition is organized by classical guitarist Anthony Glise as is unique in that there is no set repertoire for the performers. This gives the performers license to pick from a much wider selection of pieces, and I can guarantee that you’ll probably hear something that:

  1. You’ve never heard before.
  2. You didn’t know could be done on a guitar.

The other special thing about this particular event is the “jam sessions” that occur later in the evening. Everyone is invited, and there is usually a great mix of festival and local musicians. The music is mostly blues and rock, though a somewhat more eclectic selection than your average jam. Jason Riley heads up the house band, and is amazing along with Craig Kew on bass and Mark Elting on drums. The way these guys play, everything sounds good.

If you only have time for one event, I’d suggest the final competition. The performances given by the finalists are literally “some of the best in the world.” The biggest drawback to only seeing the final competition is that you’ll regret not having come sooner to see the rest!

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