Vancouver International Guitar Festival Builds Community Around Craftsmanship

Wednesday 08th, August 2018 / 14:38
By Carlos Oen

Photo by Kent Kellberg

VANCOUVER – Whether you strum, fingerpick or slide you’ll be excited to know the Vancouver International Guitar Festival is back. On August 11 and 12, the best guitar builders will come together at the Creekside Community Centre for a weekend dedicated to Eric Clapton´s true love.

The festival, created by local luthier Meredith Coloma and producer Shaw Saltzberg, is a unique opportunity for guitar builders, players, collectors and aficionados to mingle alongside some of the world´s finest string instruments.
“We are the only festival in Canada of this size presenting handmade work in combination with, concerts, live music, master classes for guitar building, master classes for guitarists and a live music bar with eight of the world´s great guitar players,” says Saltzberg.

According to Saltzberg there are close to 500 luthiers making wood string instruments in B.C. The province also has two major innovators of luthery in North America — Jean Larrivée and Michael Dunn.

“One of (Coloma´s) ambitions was to expose the craft of luthery to a greater public in British Columbia. That was something I was able to do with my experience in creating events,” says Saltzberg, who has worked with Michael Bublé, Bryan Adams, Sarah McLachlan, Pink Martini and Elvis Costello.

World-renowned luthier Ervin Somogyi, who literally wrote the book on guitar building, will be at the event. Some of the other visiting luthiers are Atsushi Takano (Japan), Louis-Phillippe Bond (Canada), Bruce Sexauer (USA), Vincent Cléroux (Canada), David Ryer (Canada), Yusuke Kawakami (Japan), Jean Claude Larrivée (Canada), Nik Huber (Germany), and Joseph Yanuziello (Canada).
There will be workshops for beginners, such as the one Vancouver luthier Nicole Alosinac will be giving on guitar set-up, and for the advanced, such as John Regehr and Robert Bustos´s on modern guitar finishing.

Vancouverite Michael Dunn will be recognized with the Luthier Industry Builder Award, for his more than 50 years of guitar building and unconventional artistic designs.

There will be three concerts at the Sarah McLachlan School of Music, showcasing the talented hands of top players from Canada, the U.S.A., Europe and Australia. Canadian blues player Harry Manx will also be performing on August 11.
Within the festival, the very first Luthiers Association in Canada will be launched. “We recognize the need to bring the independent makers together,” says Saltzberg. “The mandate is to provide some standardization for the industry.” Congratulations to the luthiers! You build them, we play them.

The Vancouver International Guitar Festival takes place August 11 and 12 at the Creekside Community Centre.