As announced on our Facebook page, we just posted the Schedule of Events and Registration information for HGG13 (book now!). We managed to be well ahead of the game this year, both in lining up the venue and all local details (thanks to our excellent host, Randall Sprinkle) and also performers and workshops.
We hope this earlier notice will make it easier for folks to make plans and encourage more newcomers as well.
And I say it every year: You do not need to be a harp guitar player to come to the Harp Guitar Gathering.
Anyone who enjoys acoustic or electric guitar, fingerstyle guitar, classical guitar, instrumental music, or just music will enjoy themselves immensely at our festival. Just ask the many non-players or 6-string guitarists who have come and had the time of their lives (if any of you are reading this, please leave a comment!).
As usual, we’ve lined up some special new Feature Performers. This year we’ve got the incomparable Phil deGruy! When Frank and I recently saw him live for the first time last September, we knew he had to be a part of our festival. Don’t be fooled because I have him on this site’s Players page as a “Non-conventional Harp Guitarist” (though he is that and more!); he has created a new variant of the instrument that bears similarity to John Doan’s Sullivan/Elliott “super-trebles” (Phil invented his earlier), while achieving his own, completely unique results (learn more in my 2004 interview with Phil here). A legend among jazz guitar fans, a veritable “Who’s Who” of top L.A. session guitarists came to see him on that recent rare appearance. Come see why – we highly recommend you don’t miss him at his first Harp Guitar Gathering appearance!
Speaking of virtuosos, Vadim Kolpakov is not only that on the 7-string Russian gypsy guitar, but he’s a celebrity in his own circles due to a stint in Madonna’s 2008 tour. I can’t wait to hear stories about that. We have serendipity to thank for this unique feature. Vadim now lives in Charlotte, NC (in the vicinity of our host Randall Sprinkle), and one day happened to run into Randall playing a Christmas gig at a big department store. He recognized Randall’s harp guitar as Vadim performs in a Russian gypsy music duo with our friend Oleg Timofeyev, the world’s leading proponent of the Russian guitar (whom we featured at HGG10). After offering their services, we quickly arranged an appearance, as their act showcases another, different form of traditional/historical harp guitar music new to us, very different from Oleg’s standard repertoire, and will give us two Russian harp guitarists for the price of one. And he knows Madonna!
Joining these gentlemen for our Saturday evening concert will be three of our top (and most popular) harp guitar soloists: Muriel Anderson, Stephen Bennett and Andy Wahlberg.
But wait, there’s more!
Canadian one-of-a-kind fingerstyle whiz Don Alder will be back this year with some new harp guitar tunes (always glad to include Don!), we’ve asked Drew Baldwin to come entertain again, and the multi-talented Powell brothers – fresh from their triumphant success of hosting last year’s Gathering – will also perform.
We’re also featuring this year’s host, Randall Sprinkle – not because he’s the host, but because he’s an excellent harp guitarist who happens to play in a completely different type of ensemble than we typically hear harp guitar in – the Musically Yours trio with cello (Diane Cox) and harp (his wife Jayne Sprinkle).
As usual, these players will hopefully perform again briefly in the Sunday afternoon concert with a whole slate of old and new harp guitar talent (Perhaps you? Hey, come and show us at Open Mic night where anyone and everyone can play to a wonderful group of supportive peers).
You want instruments? We got ‘em! Canadian builder Tony Karol will host this year’s Luthier Panel, and if you’ve built or are in the process of building a harp guitar, you need to come! So please talk to Tony. Luthiers committed so far include the Benoit Meulle-Stef, Mike “reports of my retirement are wildly exaggerated” Doolin, the Tonedevil Powell brothers, Duane Noble, and Scott Holloway & Jim Worland of the new (as opposed to vintage) Dyer Co. These folks (and others) may have instruments for sale, and as always, there will be a jaw-dropping variety and quantity of instruments that owners may be happy to let you take for a spin.
As I advise all potential Harp Guitar Music customers, if you’re even thinking of shopping for an instrument you owe it to yourself to investigate as many options as you can, and nowhere but the annual Harp Guitar Gathering can you do that!
This year you can even take a “Beginning Harp Guitar” class without even having an instrument. We’ve gotten requests for such a workshop, but since everyone plays a different instrument or stringing or tuning or style, we figured it’s impossible. Not when I (Sir Gregory) give it! Yes, I’m giving my first workshop, which will stem from my unique position of familiarity with a multitude of instruments, configurations, players and styles. Basic concepts and techniques, tips and practical advice no matter which instrument you have (or desire) or what direction your harp guitar interests may lead you. And we can likely loan you an instrument for the hour, if needed.
Another brand new workshop will be given by Drew Baldwin this year. Expect not only excellent advice but hilarity to ensue. Finally, Stephen, Andy and Muriel will be leading workshops on specific new arrangements of theirs.
Could it possibly get any better?!
Yes, you could come join in!
See you in October,
I am very excited to be this year’s host and to bring this event to North Carolina. It’s going to be a great gathering.
Thanks Gregg for the nice write up. The event sounds so tantalizing now that we have no choice but to come!
If you can possibly attend this event, you owe it to yourself to do so. I attended for the first time in 2013 (HGG11), and it significantly affected my life. At 59, and a fingerstyle player for 30+ years, I thought I was winding down on the playing. Then I got enchanted by that magical weekend in Connecticut, and I now own a beautiful Pellerin 13-string harp guitar and can’t stop playing it! The music is wonderful, but the people that attend this event are the biggest attraction in my mind. You will get to rub elbows with some of the nicest, and most talented people on the planet!
I attended my first gathering at HGG7, then HGG8, and then again HGG9, and I still don’t consider myself a player. However I did make the attempt to play guitar about 47 years ago. I am living proof you don’t have to be a player or own a guitar to survive some of the best guitar playing you’ll ever hear. And there is a bonus that comes with attending, you get to meet the people. I have become acquainted with some of the players and makers, and some of them even know who I am,… I think,… it’s been awhile. Hey, anyway, Sir Gregory asked for non-players to comment, here’s mine. Many thanks to those at the events for the great memories of a lifetime, we all need them and this is one place you’ll find them.
Possible new comers could end up with a new goal in life, one of mine is to meet Fred and the Taproot some day.
All the best
Looking forward to my first ever Harp Guitar Gathering! This is a wonderful slate of performers and activities.
Bravo! Beautifully laid out, Sir Gregory! I will distribute this post in a few different ways in coming weeks, trying to get the word out there.
I must repeat what Gregg says about not needing to be a player, or even interested in being a player, to enjoy the event. I went to my first few Gatherings without an instrument. It was just so much fun hanging out with these people and hearing so much great music.
Looks like a great line-up this year! Can’t wait to see and hear all!