The death of the guitar has been tiresomely proclaimed by rock-centric commentators recently, but as the London Guitar Festival proves, the axe is thriving, especially in the world of classical guitars and finger picking.
The three day festival at Kings Place hosts the inaugural London International Guitar Competition featuring the worlds best classical guitarists under the age of 30, as well as bringing the genre’s most distinguished guitarists to London for exclusive performances and workshops.
Performances include a rare UK show by the elegantly refined Spanish guitar and piano duo Duo Hermanos Cuenca, and the UK’s Vida Guitar Quartet. The award winning Fernando Espi will also be holding a unique workshop for solo classical guitarists — a perfect excuse to head to London's guitar quarter on Denmark Street and treat yourself.
The mesmerising variety of the guitar is at the core of the festival, which shows that the instrument is much more than an emotional outlet for teenage boys. It is steeped in history, spanning from folk compositions to cigar box diddley bows.
Are the pessimists wrong? Is the guitar alive and well, with more brilliant players from all over the world than ever before, and with more composers writing for the instrument than at any time is the past? Well this is what the London Guitar Festival will address, and judging by the quality of performers they have booked, it’s all looking pretty good.
Updated 28 February to say "innaugeral 'London' International Guitar festival."