Guitars have defined countless genres of music and remain one of the most popular instruments around. After a bumper 2015 with close to 5000 people in attendance, the Melbourne Guitar Show is back – bigger and louder, with a few exciting changes to the programming.
As an instrument, the guitar keeps pushing into new territories, constantly evolving with manufacturers and boutique builders keeping the string sound alive. Organiser of the 2016 Melbourne Guitar Show and Executive Director of the Australian Music Association, Rob Walker believes the humble guitar is the quintessential self-accompaniment, and spent some time sharing his thoughts on why.
MELBOURNE GUITAR SHOW DETAILS SATURDAY AUG 6 | CAULFIELD RACECOURSE |10.00am – 6.00pm | TICKETS
SUNDAY AUG 7 | CAULFIELD RACECOURSE | 10.00am – 6.00pm | TICKETS 2016 Melbourne Guitar Show. The show is looking pretty good this year, there's a few particular improvements and changes this year. This year we've developed (off the interest from last year) a floor dedicated to acoustic guitars. We're separating exhibitors and the public, so people interested in acoustics can experience that in a quieter atmosphere – that is a big change, it was a bit loud last year!
We've got some very interesting exhibitors and major brands. The Maton guitar museum is up there this year – that will display some really good examples of Maton guitar building right through from the 50's.
People have the opportunity to see how guitar making has evolved, we essentially have an acoustics stage, and we are having four acoustic artists that will perform everyday in that area. We've probably got nearly 80 exhibitors this year; up from 20% last year.
It was so well received last year, it was a happy show and everybody loved it. We've had a more immediate response this year, so we've been able to grow it – the platform of the show – and provide more opportunities for artists to perform. We're showcasing it (guitars) in its most positive light really.
Feedback on last year's show. We had a fantastic response rate due to an exit survey and 80% of people said it was excellent or very good after the show. We also got some suggestions, like the noise, so we acted on that and decided to separate the electric sound from the acoustic, and that was really well received.
We've tried to make the program as varied as we can, so we cater for many interests. This year we've decided to go down the track of doing jam sessions with multiple players.
Super jam session.
There will be six-eight players, performing in a big closing jam session. They are going to show off their individual styles as well as playing together, wow the crowd with some pretty stunning guitar playing!
We are also looking at 'Acoustic Blues and Roots Music, and, then we're gonna do 'Our Love Affair With the Acoustic Guitar', with Nick Charles hosting.
Blues players, django players, slide players – different styles for the shows and we've got an all female show on the Saturday morning with some fantastic singer songwriters – all local girls. We've also got some of our most loved legends Phil Manning, Dallas Frasca, Dean Ray, another 3-piece girl band – a rocking little outfit – it's a real balance on the entertainment program for everybody to see how interpretative the guitar is; depending on whose hands it is in.
Guitar – the quintessential self accompaniment. I think there has been a record number of acoustic guitars purchased in Australia and imported to Australia, so our numbers are well up. There are a couple of reasons, more females are playing, in fact I've even seen some numbers from the US which suggest that even half of the numbers may be female players.
I don't know whether that is yet the case here, as we haven't done the research here. Instruments are much more accessible these days, there's much more learning and help around. It's the portability and accompaniment type of sphere – such a portable and happy instrument.
Another interesting thing we are doing this year, is introducing people to the ukulele. We are having a ukulele concert with AJ Leonard and Sarah Carroll is another uke player. Last year I was trying to showcase as many things as we could, I was trying to showcase players in the jam and acoustic sessions, and the girls sessions.
We are having a similar thing with the ukes, but we are handing out ukuleles to the audience and having an instant ukulele orchestra this year! You only have to put your finger on one chord to get a sound out of the uke. We can introduce people to the uke that way … so the first hour will be maestros playing the uke and the second hour will be teaching everybody to play a song.
We'll teach the audience a one chord song, a two chord song a three chord song to teach the audience how easy it is. This is the Sunday morning session, 10.30am – a good way to start the day.
It's a great endorsement of the potential of last year's show. In the case of Triple M it is very guitar rock n' roll oriented and they want to promote guitar music. We went out by ourselves last year and promoted largely through social media, community media, got a really good spread.
Going through Triple M you might see people take up the guitar that might not normally would, it might give us that extra edge. I just think the interest in the instrument is still strong and having people like Triple M come on board sort of endorses music, more people should be involved!
MELBOURNE GUITAR SHOW DETAILS
SATURDAY AUG 6 | CAULFIELD RACECOURSE |10.00am – 6.00pm | TICKETS
SUNDAY AUG 7 | CAULFIELD RACECOURSE | 10.00am – 6.00pm | TICKETS