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Adelaide Guitar Festival 2023 Program Revealed Today Featuring the World’s Best Guitarists – Take your Pick

Thursday, 11 May 2023

Adelaide Festival Centre today announced the 2023 program for Adelaide Guitar Festival. Featuring the world’s finest guitar players playing across a myriad of musical genres, coming together to present an exceptional program of events from July 1 to 16. 

This year’s program includes:

Twice Grammy-nominated American indie folk duo The Milk Carton Kids will perform direct from the US making their Adelaide debut when they take to the stage at Her Majesty’s Theatre for one night only on Thursday July 13.

The Milk Carton Kids with their impeccable harmonies, song writing and captivating storytelling are not to be missed. Known for their beautiful melodies and impressive finger picking technique, it is the moments between the songs that also make for an immersive concert experience as they are laced with great banter and a good deal of humour.

In a special event, The Music of Jeff Beck draws together leading musicians including Paul Mason, James Muller, Antoine Boyer, Jeremy Sawkins on guitar, with Carla Lippis and special guest singers in a tribute to guitar legend, Jeff Beck.

In an Australian exclusive and direct from Seville, Colours of Spain presents a magnificent journey through the vibrant landscape of Spain. Featuring a stunning solo classical guitar performance from Andrea González. Caballero, followed by Compañia Flamenca and Antonio Andrades bringing five dancers and four musicians direct from fellow UNESCO City of Music, Seville.   This beautiful program will fill the stage with passion, energy and spectacular flare, creating an image of contemporary flamenco that is deeply conscious of its traditional roots.

A virtuoso of diversity and sensitivity, Joseph Tawadros Australia’s leading Oud virtuoso and seven-time ARIA Award winner presents a solo presentation. Having performed in concert halls worldwide and known for his brilliant technique, deep musicianship, storytelling, and joyous style of performance audiences will relish the opportunity to see him perform solo.

2022's Adelaide International Classical Guitar Competition champion, Connor Whyte is quickly establishing himself as a sublime concert-guitarist. Having participated in several Adelaide Guitar Festivals through masterclasses, the Adelaide Guitar Festival Orchestra and Backstage Sessions Live, Connor makes his Adelaide Guitar Festival debut as a solo performer on Friday July 14 at Dunstan Playhouse.  2023 Adelaide International Guitar Competition will also be held once again on the final day of the Adelaide Guitar Festival (July 16) when this year’s winner will be announced. 

With a focus towards Australian music, contemporary compositions and imaginative arrangements of admired classics, the celebrated Melbourne Guitar Quartet (MGQ) is a true driving force in the world of guitar ensemble performance. MGQ continues to captivate and delight audiences from guitar aficionados and avid lovers of chamber music and to concert first-timers alike. MGQ will also perform in the Adelaide Guitar Festival Orchestra as guest tutors and ensemble experts, led by charismatic teacher and composer Dr Paul Svoboda.

Nurtured in the cradle of French gypsy jazz, Antoine Boyer moves effortlessly across classical, jazz, avant-garde and beyond, with absolute authority and profound musical understanding.   At just 27 years of age, he is already known as one of the finest players of his generation and has headlined festivals all over Europe and the USA. He has won prestigious classical awards and was named "Révélation Guitare Classique 2016" by the French magazine Guitare Classique and has a long-standing collaboration with legendary flamenco guitarist Samuelito. He comes exclusively to Adelaide Guitar Festival in his Australian debut, together with dazzling Korean harmonica virtuosa and multi-instrumentalist Yeore Kim.  Their performance will traverse jazz to gypsy, rock to classical and beyond, with extraordinary creative interplay. There is nothing like it.

Guitarist Kathleen Halloran will perform at Dunstan Playhouse on Sunday 16 July. Her diverse array of skills is fast making her one of the country’s most in-demand musicians. As guitarist for Australian icon Kate Ceberano, Kathleen tours and performs all around the country.

Joining Adelaide Guitar Festival program, cosmic Country Queen Freya Josephine Hollick brings her full band to Adelaide for a special event, with a suite of guitars including pedal steel. Freya’s most recent album The Real World has received ARIA chart action including a top 10 vinyl entry, a #2 on The Australian Country charts and a #1 on the AIR 100% independent chart, along with album of the week nods from 3PBS, 3RRR, and ABC Country. 

Audiences can see South Australia’s own Alana Jagt perform her blend of stormy folk-rock noir that's refreshing yet somehow familiar. Jagt cut her teeth as a teen playing keys and singing harmonies in her parents’ ramshackle blues barn and has supported artists including Abbe May, Mick Thomas, Paul Dempsey, Thelma Plum, Ali Barter, Killing Heidi and Darren Hanlon to name a few.

Dubbed “the king of feel” by Robert Plant, Gwyn Ashton is an inductee into the South Australian Music Hall of Fame for recognition of his contribution of sharing original Australian music with the world. Returning to Adelaide with his solo folk and swamp rockin’ boogie ‘n’ blues show, Ashton mixes his electric set with acoustic lap slide and steel-bodied resonator guitars, taking his audience on a hypnotic musical adventure.

An inductee into the New York Blues Hall of Fame, Chris Finnen brings his band and special brand of world-class blues to the Adelaide Guitar Festival’s club series. With a career spanning more than 50 years including touring, recording, festivals, film scores and more. His brilliant music has seen him share the stage with the biggest names in blues the world over. Finnen’s tireless commitment to music-making and strong sense of community makes him a treasured gem of the South Australian music scene.

In an Adelaide Guitar Festival first, Adelaide metal band Freedom of Fear are set to make their Adelaide Guitar Festival debut after commanding attention across the nation.  Their intense and dazzlingly technical live show has seen them tour alongside some of the biggest names on the scene. With dual guitar shredding, astonishing musicianship and compelling performance, they are hailed as one of the best kept secrets in the Australian metal underground.

Passionate Spanish flamenco guitarist, Paco Lara with a distinguished international career in Europe and Australia of more than 30 years, launches his new album Duende with a Spanish Flamenco show at Space Theatre on Sunday 16 July. Featuring some of the finest music from Spain and Australia. Lara, based in Australia since 2017, brings to life his original music compositions inspired by his hometown, Jerez in the South of Spain -the heartland of the tradition of flamenco.

The Hon Andrea Michaels MP, South Australian Minister for Arts: “Adelaide Guitar Festival has struck a chord with legendary guitarists across the globe bringing them to South Australia to celebrate the world's most popular instrument.  

“Testament to the importance of nurturing our own musicians, Adelaide Guitar Festival always provides exceptional opportunities for emerging artists and performances from our rich home-grown talent”. 

Adelaide Guitar Festival Artistic Director Slava Grigoryan: For the first time since 2018, we are back, with our full international program, featuring wonderful music makers who are at the forefront of their craft and based right here in Adelaide, as well as celebrating pioneers and legends from across the globe.

“This year, I am particularly proud to showcase brilliant young South Australian players such as Connor Whyte and Freedom of Fear, who have grown up with Adelaide Guitar Festival, and who are now capturing attention nationally for their outstanding music making.

“As musicians continue to shift boundaries and challenge assumptions, our festival continues to highlight the development of guitar playing across all genres. I invite you to discover artists you’ve never encountered and to join me and music makers from around the world in Adelaide our UNESCO City of Music”.

Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director Douglas Gautier AM: “It’s always a pleasure to welcome audiences to Adelaide Guitar Festival, it might be cold in July, but our venues heat up with the very best guitar players from around the world. 

“We also look forward to welcoming the next generation of guitar performers as our Winter School program returns once again to nurture and develop local guitarists across the blues and classical disciplines.”

Adelaide Guitar Festival On the Road returns for 2023 with artists visiting Eyre Peninsula and the Riverland. Full program details and locations to come and will be announced online.

In addition to the ticketed events, Adelaide Guitar Festival will also see the return of the Guitar Expo, where participants can meet and talk with expert makers of beautifully crafted, bespoke instruments and gear.

Festival Partner Yamaha brings back the popular Come and Try sessions, where festival goers can experiment with the latest Yamaha guitars and equipment.

Across Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 July, a series of engaging artist talks throughout the day will include:

·         Songs in Language – First Nations artists reviving language through song writing and singing songs on country

·         Mums in Music

·         The Legacy of Jeff Beck

·         Green Music – addressing the environmental impact of music performance and touring

·         The Music of Spain with Dr Paul Nash

·         Book launch – by South Australian king of the blues Chris Finnen

Visiting artists will also present masterclasses throughout Adelaide Guitar festival, plus activities and more live music in Adelaide Festival Centre foyers.

Produced and presented by Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide Guitar Festival, led by Artistic Director Slava Grigoryan, is the most significant festival of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

Take Your Pick, there is so much to enjoy. Adelaide Guitar Festival 2023 opens on July 1 until July 16.

Tickets on Sale from 10am on 11 May at  and via Ticketek.

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