Adelaide Guitar Festival is ready to rock with first shows this weekend

AGF21-Slava-Grigoryan-photo-by-Nate-SchillingAdelaide Guitar Festival 2021 kicks off an electrifying program of Australia’s top musicians with its first shows this weekend marking the festival’s return as an annual event.

Friday night’s entertainment will feature the sold-out flamenco spectacular The Andalusian Guitar and Brink Productions’ The Bridge of San Luis Rey starring recent Adelaide Cabaret Festival Icon Award winner Paul Capsis in the Space Theatre until 24 July.

More than 50 guitarists of various experience levels have been taking part in the Guitar Winter School’s classical intensive this week, with tutorials and workshops culminating in a performance in the Dunstan Playhouse on Saturday.

A Classical Celebration will see the Adelaide Guitar Festival Orchestra join a line-up of world-class local musicians including Oliver Fartach-Naini, Slava and Sharon Grigoryan, Manus Noble, Mike Bevan and Alain Valodze.

The opening weekend’s free events include Yamaha Come & Try Sessions in the Dunstan Playhouse Station Foyer (9 – 10, 16 – 17 and 23 – 24 July), while regional touring program On the Road will visit Edithburgh, Yorke Peninsula, on Saturday.

“We are very fortunate to have so many extraordinary guitarists living right here in Australia, and this year is the perfect opportunity to celebrate their artistic excellence with a selection of inspiring performances and unique collaborations,” said Adelaide Guitar Festival Artistic Director Slava Grigoryan.

“As always, we will shine a light on the guitar’s ability to star in any genre of music – everything from classical and jazz to rock, blues & roots and flamenco. It’s going to be a spectacular few weeks as we explore all the magnificent possibilities of this instrument, and the musicians who have spent years and even decades honing their skills.”

In the second week, acclaimed folk duo Hussy Hicks will bring their emotive lyricism and energetic enthusiasm to a double bill with Liz Stringer, a versatile songwriter and instrumentalist who has just released her sixth studio album, First Time Really Feeling. Stringer is stepping in for singer-songwriter Lecia Louise, who is no longer able to attend due to travel restrictions.

Their performance in the Dunstan Playhouse on Friday 16 July will also feature students from Adelaide Guitar Festival’s Blues & Roots Winter School, which runs from 12 – 16 July.

Chart-topping blues & roots musician Ash Grunwald will present soulful songs from his extensive back catalogue and most recent releases in Dunstan Playhouse on Saturday 17 July. With five ARIA award nominations across nine studio albums, Grunwald will present an intimate concert experience supported by renowned local musician Nick Kipridis and the debut of his new side project History of Trees.

Tickets are completely sold out to headliner show The Stones’ Sticky Fingers, while a limited number of seats are still available to Music @ the Maj event Archie Roach – Tell Me Why at Her Majesty’s Theatre on Friday 16 July. On the Road will visit Eyre Peninsula with free live music at Tumby Bay (Saturday 17 July) and Cleve (Sunday 18 July).

In the third and final week, Adelaide Guitar Festival will showcase some of South Australia’s most respected bassists with The Lowdown – a celebration of the bass guitar across funk, jazz, rock, experimental and country in the Dunstan Playhouse on Saturday 24 July.

Adelaide’s own international cabaret star Carla Lippis will make her first Adelaide Guitar Festival appearance, performing her sultry vocals with a backing band including guitarist husband Geoff Crowther on Friday 23 July. Lippis will share the Dunstan Playhouse stage with a world premiere collaboration between homegrown jazz guitar giants Hugh Stuckey and James Muller.

Over in Port Adelaide, free event Guitarchestra – presented by OSCA in partnership with experimental musician Matthew Timmis – will feature a unique celebration of electric guitar across four performances at Hart’s Mill on Saturday 24 July and Sunday 25 July.

“Continuing Adelaide Guitar Festival’s growth, we are extending our ambition this year to become an annual event while also expanding our calendar of community engagement and outreach programs,” said Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director Douglas Gautier AM.

“We are committed to sharing our love of this wonderful instrument and the great musicians who play it – with audiences across South Australia, and we greatly value their ongoing support.”

In light of interstate travel restrictions, the prestigious Adelaide International Classical Guitar Competition has moved to an online format. The winner, to be announced on 25 July, will take home $10,000, a coveted Jim Redgate guitar valued at $23,000 and an invitation to perform at next year’s Adelaide Guitar Festival.

The 2021 Adelaide Guitar Festival continues to 25 July. For more information and full program, visit: for details.

Image: Slava Grigoryan – photo by Nate Schilling