Adelaide Guitar Festival takes the music to the people in 2016

AGF Punch BrothersTaking the beautiful, divergent and diverse sounds of the guitar to the people of South Australia, this year’s Adelaide Guitar Festival will feature more than 300 artists performing over four days from 11 – 14 August 2016.

New to the Festival this year is Guitars in Bars and other places which will take Adelaide Guitar Festival to the pubs and clubs of South Australia. Rock, jazz, blues, folk and more – there are no limits, just a burning desire to play and hear incredible guitar sounds.

Guitars in Bars will increase the reach of the Festival to more than 100 venues across the state with more than 300 local musicians signed up to participate in this hip initiative. In the spirit of collaboration, SALA is officially a Guitars in Bars event with guitarists playing at various venues and exhibitions, and numerous Guitars in Bars gigs are also part of Music SA’s new live music festival, Umbrella: Winter City Sounds.

“This year, our Adelaide Guitar Festival stretches into new territory throughout the city, across platforms and encompasses new ideas and musical adventures,” says Festival Artistic Director, Slava Grigoryan. “I am so excited to be bringing together world-leading artists who traverse many genres, to be exploring the nexus of health and music in our new Resonance program and to be working with Adelaide’s own world-class musicians.”

Resonance will see world-class guitarists playing in hospital wards and homes for older people around Adelaide during the first two weeks of August. Musicians, including Slava Grigoryan, will tour greater Adelaide – playing guitar for music lovers who may not be able to otherwise attend the Festival. This program recognises the inherent human need for music and is inspired by the growing understanding of music’s role in health, wellbeing, and recovery.

The Festival is also spreading its wings to the Adelaide Town Hall where headliners Punch Brothers will show why they are the global kings of progressive bluegrass, while Béla Fleck, who won the 2016 Grammy for Best Folk Album, will team up with his partner Abigail Washburn in a true folk music explosion!

In an Australian premiere, Adelaide audiences will step inside the creative and incredible world of the late Paco de Lucía. The life of this iconic flamenco guitar star has been made into a moving documentary courtesy of his filmmaker son Curro Sánchez, who will come to Adelaide to present the award-winning work – Paco de Lucía: The Journey.

This year’s Festival will include another incredible film, Girt By Sea. A love letter to the Australian Coastline, this visually poetic documentary celebrates our connection with the sea over the past century. Directed by SA’s Shane McNeil, the film draws on visual collections, archival footage and crowd-sourced home movies. The Panics return to Adelaide to perform their own enigmatic soundtrack live to film, as well as highlights from their back catalogue and songs from their forthcoming album.

One of Spain’s most revered guitarists, Ricardo Gallén will be performing in the Dunstan Playhouse, showing off his passion for the notoriously challenging work of Bach. Opening the show will be the incredible talent of Bogdan Mihailescu, winner of the 2014 Adelaide International Classical Guitar Competition. The Romanian native returns for his Australian debut recital.

Get set for a night of Spanish artistry as the Artistic Director of the Seville Guitar Festival, Francisco Bernier presents his Australian debut performance in Memories of Spain. The stunning repertoire includes Sors, Turina, Abril and Tarrega. This special night will be opened by Italy’s Massimo Scattolin and Australia’s Sergio Ercole who will play works from their recent recording.

Keeping with the flavor of Spain, composer and aficionado of Spanish Guitar musicology, Ken Murray will perform three new works by Brazilian composers, along with a variety of works by artists including Radiohead and Guinga. Oliver Fartach-Naini directs the special guests, Guitarissimo who will join Murray on stage.

Classical music lovers will be spoilt for choice at this year’s event. The Guitar Festival Symphony Gala, featuring the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, boasts world premieres of new works from esteemed Cuban composer Leo Brouwer and acoustic electric guitar by Australia’s Andrew Ford.

Also not to be missed is the most prestigious guitar competition in the Southern Hemisphere the Adelaide International Classical Guitar Competition, attracting competitors from all over the world. Come and see the rising stars deliver their personal best as they compete for the top prize.

Wolfgang Muthspiel, one of the world’s most prolifically recorded guitarists is also one of the greatest collaborators in ground-breaking jazz. The Wolfgang Muthspiel Trio comprises the hippest rhythm section on the scene with Brian Blade on drums and Larry Grenadier on bass.

Muthspiel will also be performing with the Australian String Quartet, alongside Adelaide Guitar Festival Artistic Director Slava Grigoryan and Australian doyen Karin Schaupp in an exquisite salon performance featuring rarely performed chamber works for guitar and strings.

Grigoryan Muthspiel Schaupp opens with the stunning spectacle of the 2016 Adelaide Guitar Festival Orchestra, an ensemble of 80 young and emerging players formed especially for the Festival led by charismatic director Dr. Paul Svoboda and leading composer Richard Charlton. Schaupp will also star in the scintillating Don Juan, written, directed and starring the multi-talented actor Tama Matheson.

Inspired by contemporary flamenco whilst embracing its Andalusian traditions, Bandaluzia presents a unique interpretation of the art form, imbued with elegance and precision. Led by captivating flamenco guitarist Damian Wright, with dancers Jessica Statham and Rosalie Cocchiaro, Ben Hauptmann on mandolin and James Hauptmann on percussion, Bandaluzia is known for weaving many musical influences into their performances.

Get rockabilly ready with the Sydney outfit, Cruisin’ Deuces. Their energetic and joyful performance brings audiences to their feet as they invoke the young Elvis, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Hank Williams and Johnny Burnet. For lovers of blues and roots Genevieve Chadwick is the one to see, who has been said to “look like an angel, roar like a lion and play guitar like a demon”. On the same bill is one of folk’s finest Daniel Champagne, whose exhilarating style will leave you wanting more.

ARIA winning songwriter Matt Walker brings beautiful guitar and poignant vocals in heart-stirring songs alongside Shane Reilly’s sweeping pedal steel. They perform a show together with Adelaide’s own Velvet Moth, a genre-mincing outfit comprised of players from legendary local surf/instro masters GT Stringer and acclaimed R&B favourites, The Streamliners. Their improvisational lunacy, satirical lyrics and ‘60s dance grooves swirl into a velvet musical cocoon, from which they will unleash their second album exclusively at the Adelaide Guitar Festival.

The kids won’t miss out either when Josh Earl puts on his family show, My Family is Weirder than Your Family celebrating the weirdness in every family through hilarious song. And this year’s Festival will also feature 15 Minutes of Fame – where hopefuls can try their luck in the spotlight, plus Workshops, Artists Talks and Master Classes.

2016 will also see the return of Meet the Maker where Australian luthiers show off their craft and incredible handmade guitars. For the first time this year, the Guitar Expo will be held in the Dunstan Playhouse foyer, where spectacular one-off, rare and beautiful guitars will be on display and for sale.

“The 2016 program reveals a diverse and culturally rich selection of artists. It is the breadth, creativity and calibre of guitarists in this year’s program that perfectly reflects why Adelaide was named as a UNESCO City of Music,” said Douglas Gautier, Adelaide Festival Centre CEO and Artistic Director. “The Adelaide Guitar Festival has gained an international reputation as a prestigious and successful event that showcases both Australian and overseas talent.”

The 2016 Adelaide Guitar Festival runs 11 – 14 August. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: The Punch Brothers (supplied)