by Chris Bower
The Dallas International Guitar Festival celebrated it’s 34th year this weekend at Dallas Market Hall. The festival which started in 1978 in a tiny Dallas hotel meeting room has grown to be the premier event for guitarists and music fans in the southwest U.S. and attracts attendees from all over the world. All ages could be seen taking in the weekend festival. Fathers and sons and mothers with babes in arms packed together for the weekends event.
The festival, which now boasts tens of thousands of paid admissions each year, also presented some of the most respected masters of the six strings. The live performance roster included the great Rick Derringer, Andy Timmons, George Lynch, Derek St. Holmes, Paul Reed Smith and bands Brother Cane and Point Blank among many others. The one day $22.00 admission fee included free concerts all day on the Dangerousguitar.com outdoor stage while tickets for the nights all star shows could be purchased for an additional fee.
All the major manufacturers were well represented this year along with the upstart guitar companies hoping their new innovative designs would catch on with guitarists. There were also plenty of non guitar related exhibitions this year including massage therapy, leather work, audio visual training school and some kind of bracelet that the young lady working at the booth swore would make me “feel great”.
What keeps me returning to the festival year after year is the massive display of Guitars and basses. Specifically the vintage and unique examples of finely crafted instruments that were on sale. With prices ranging from the low hundreds for cheaper models and as high as six figures for the rare hard to find classics. The history of the electric guitar was laid out in battered cases and carefully placed on guitar stands throughout the massive 140,000 square feet of the hall.
I found myself in awe looking at the original Gibson Les Paul and Fender Stratocasters models from the early 1950’s with sticker prices that would make a car salesman gasp. There were several replicas of instruments used by the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. Another show highlight was a beat up C.F. Martin acoustic guitar that was reported to have at one time been owned by the one and only Elvis Presely. This gem that appeared to have been used for batting practice by “The King of Rock n Roll” carried a $100,000 dollar price tag.
If you are a professional or novice guitar or bass player looking for that rare gem or just a fan of guitar music and would like a glimpse at the historic relics we grew up listening to on 8 tracks and vinyl L.P.s mark your calendars for the 35th annual Dallas International Guitar Festival April 20th-22nd 2012.