Tacoma Guitar Festival comes to the dome April 21-22

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The Tacoma Guitar Festival will feature more than 150 exhibit style booths, guitar workshops led by industry experts, live performances by well-known guitarists, guitar personality meet n’ greets and a festival atmosphere. Come to buy, trade or sell vintage, used and new guitars, amps, pedals, mandos, banjos, ukes, vinyl records, guitar accessories and more.

Parking in Tacoma Dome lots is free, courtesy of the Tacoma Guitar Festival. The festival runs Saturday, April 21, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, April 22, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A number of accomplished guitarists will show off their wizardry in live performances:

Saturday, April 21

  • Trevor Gordon Hall: 10 a.m.

Rated one of the top 30 guitarists in the world under 30 years of age by Acoustic Guitar magazine, Hall is an instrumentalist from Philadelphia whose compositions range in style from edgy driving rhythms to soft melodic phrases. Hall sets himself apart by leaving no physical aspect of the guitar untouched and weaving together different textures into grand yet intimate and lyrical compositions. His blend of sounds never overcomplicates but focuses on utilizing the instrument’s fullest creative and compositional potential, guiding listeners through an igniting experience of music that isn’t just heard but felt. 

  • David Ellefson from Megadeth: 11:05 a.m.

From humble farm roots in Jackson, Minn., Ellefson went on to become the bassist and co-founder of Grammy Award-winning thrash metal titans Megadeth, a member of the metal collective known as the “Big 4” alongside Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax. Ellefson’s aggressive plectrum style of bass playing has been at the foundation of Megadeth’s vast catalog of metal classics, including “Symphony of Destruction,” “Peace Sells … But Who’s Buying,” “Hangar 18,” and “Holy Wars … The Punishment Due,” to name a few.

  • John 5 & The Creatures: 12:25 p.m.

John 5 was born John William Lowery on July 31, 1971 in Grosse Pointe, Mich., in a safe, affluent neighborhood. “It was safe, and I had my own maid,” he says. His love of guitar came at the age of 7, from the “Hee Haw” series he would watch with his father, as well as The Monkees. “I watched the guitar playing and knew that was what I wanted to do. My friends wanted to be astronauts and such but all I wanted to do was play and play and play.” Other influences included KISS and Jimi Hendrix, “one of the hardest but most graceful guitar players of all time.”

John 5 was a guitarist for Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and The Creatures.

  • Paul Reed Smith: 1:55 p.m.

Guitar builder Smith describes his beginning thus: “The road from my workshop in a historic, haunted Annapolis garret to a state-of-the-art factory was a tough one. Fact is, I always loved working with my hands. Why else would a high school kid sign up for three or four shop classes at a time? My first guitar was built as a challenge to my college music professor for some credits. I got an ‘A’ and decided to pursue my dream of making guitars for a living. There were a lot of late night brainstorms. I was lucky if I finished a guitar a month. Once a guitar was completed, I’d play it at a gig —  field testing in the purest sense. Every design change taught me something new.”

  • Will McFarlane: 3:40 p.m. 

McFarlane spent six years playing guitar with Bonnie Raitt, from 1974 to 1980. Born on a Navy base in California, McFarlane started voice lessons at age 6, adding piano a year later. Seeing The Beatles play the Ed Sullivan Show when he was 12 inspired McFarlane to take up guitar. He developed a taste for R&B in high school, focusing on Motown material while developing as a rhythm guitarist. McFarlane attended college in Denver, but soon dropped out and had been playing gigs in bars and clubs across the country when Raitt found him in a club in Cambridge, Mass. 

Sunday, April 22:

  • Will McFarlane: 10:30 a.m. 

(see above)

  • Trevor Gordon Hall: 11:50 a.m. 

(see above)

  • Carl Tosten: 1:20 p.m.

Tosten writes songs layered with warmth, intelligence, oblique humor, and astute observation of human nature. His dynamic vocals and rhythmic, percussive guitar style fill his live performances with intense energy, stories, and songs that captivate and inspire his audiences. One of the most unique talents of the day.

Tosten has a passion for guitars that began when his father bought him his first guitar at age 11. From his early years in a small town in Eastern Washington, his playing centered around the electric guitar, performing with various groups and diverse styles ranging from country to rock to jazz. In the mid 1990’s, after years of eclectic listening and playing, he began to focus fully on the acoustic guitar, creating masterful acoustic fingerstyle compositions which combine alternate tunings, multiple capos, percussive body slaps and right-hand tapping. Known for his expressive and energetic guitar style, Tosten has been described as an “Acoustic One-Man Band.” His self-produced solo recordings combine his unique and expressive guitar style with his strong and soulful voice. 

For more information on The Tacoma Guitar Festival, visit www.tacomaguitarfestival.com.

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