Adelaide Guitar Festival reveals 2021 program

Adelaide Guitar Festival is bringing together some of Australia’s greatest guitarists in a thrilling mix of local talent and visiting musicians.

Header image: Tex Perkins, shot by Kirra Pendergast.

Adelaide Guitar Festival is bringing together some of Australia’s greatest guitarists in a thrilling mix of local talent and visiting musicians for its first-ever annual event, with tickets now on sale for an exciting range of shows at Adelaide Festival Centre venues from July 4 to 25.

The line-up includes chart-topping blues and roots musician, Ash Grunwald, with soulful songs from his extensive back catalogue and most recent releases. 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.

Adelaide’s own international cabaret star Carla Lippis will make her first Adelaide Guitar Festival appearance in 2021, performing her sultry vocals with a backing band including guitarist husband Geoff Crowther. Lippis will also share the stage with a world premiere collaboration between homegrown jazz guitar giants Hugh Stuckey and James Muller.

Trailblazing classical ensemble Melbourne Guitar Quartet will return with their dynamic blend of innovative arrangements, contemporary compositions and newly commissioned works in a double bill with 2019 Adelaide International Classical Guitar Competition winner Andrew Blanch from Sydney.

Known for emotive lyricism and energetic live shows, acclaimed folk duo Hussy Hicks is teaming up with fellow Queenslander Lecia Louise – a guitar virtuoso and singer-songwriter – who effortlessly moves through the styles of rock, pop, groove and blues. 

Adelaide Guitar Festival is also showcasing some of South Australia’s most respected bassists with The Lowdown – a celebration of the bass guitar across funk, jazz, rock, experimental and country. Dennis Kipridis will lead the concert with fellow bass guitarists Flik Freeman, Damien Steele Scott, Nick Sinclair and Ross McHenry, along with double bassist Lucinda Peters.

On the back of sold-out shows across the country, Paco Lara will highlight the flamenco guitar in all its authenticity, culture and artistry with The Andalusian Guitar. Across a career spanning more than 30 years, Lara has played with some of Spain’s most prestigious artists and has recently relocated to Sydney from Jerez de la Frontera – the birthplace of flamenco. He will share a double bill with Adelaide flamenco ensemble Compañía Alma Flamenca for an exhilarating evening of music and dance.

Adelaide Guitar Festival Artistic Director Slava Grigoryan said they’re fortunate to have so many incredible guitarists right here on home soil.

“This year is the perfect opportunity to celebrate their artistic excellence with a selection of inspiring performances and unique collaborations. 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,” he says.

Tickets are already selling fast to recently announced headliner show The Stones’ Sticky Fingers, an exciting tribute concert boasting Australian rock royalty – Magic Dirt’s Adalita, Grinspoon’s Phil Jamieson, The Cruel Sea’s Tex Perkins and You Am I’s Tim Rogers – at Her Majesty’s Theatre.

Adelaide Guitar Festival has also co-commissioned The Bridge of San Luis Rey, a thrilling reimagining of the Pulitzer-winning novel of the same name, by Adelaide’s Brink Productions.

Previously held every two years, Adelaide Guitar Festival is a significant festival of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Festival favourites including the Resonance program will return in 2021, along with a free concert from this year’s Adelaide International Classical Guitar Competition finalists and the Guitar Winter School, with students across all ages and skill levels are welcome to register.

Directed by acclaimed guitarist Paul Svoboda, a classical intensive featuring tutorials and workshops from July 5-9 will culminate in a performance by the Adelaide Guitar Festival Orchestra as the support act for the Melbourne Guitar Quartet and Andrew Blanch.

A week-long blues and roots course will boast tutors Cal Williams Jr and Lecia Louise, along with special guests including Ash Grunwald and Julz Parker from July 12-16. The course will focus on chord progressions, creative songwriting and blues guitar techniques as students prepare for a performance with Hussy Hicks and Lecia Louise.

Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director Douglas Gautier AM says: “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. We are committed to sharing our love of all things stringed with audiences across South Australia, and we greatly value their ongoing support.”

This year’s Adelaide Guitar Festival will reach more regional towns than ever before with its On the Road program, which already visited Hindmarsh and Lobethal in February and will bring free live music to Kangaroo Island on May 1, Clare and Gilbert Valleys on May 21-23 and Port Augusta on May 28. Even more town-wide activations will be held in Edithburgh on July 10, Tumby Bay on July 17 and Cleve on July 18. 

The Department for Innovation and Skills through the Music Development Office and the South Australian Tourism Commission through Events South Australia are the major sponsors of Adelaide Guitar Festival On the Road.

Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni said Adelaide Guitar Festival was a fantastic component of South Australia’s world-class creative and cultural festival calendar. “The Marshall Government is proud to financially support the Adelaide Guitar Festival On the Road and increase the opportunity for local audiences to enjoy some of Australia’s finest musical talent,” he says.

Yorke Peninsula Mayor Darren Braund says he is thrilled to work in partnership with Adelaide Guitar Festival. “The format of having multiple acts in a variety of different locations not only ensures that the community get to experience different genres of music, it also ensures that small businesses within Edithburgh will benefit from the additional patronage throughout the day.”

Tumby Bay Mayor Sam Telfer agrees and says, “We are very excited to support the Adelaide Guitar Festival On The Road and welcome all the artists and guests joining us to enjoy their performances. In the wake of COVID-19 we have had to work harder and smarter on delivering well-run, vibrant community events, but we know it is worth all the effort when our community and our visitors tell us how much they have enjoyed them and that they will keep coming back to Tumby Bay and the Eyre Peninsula.

For more information visit Adelaide Guitar Festivals website.

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