Whether you're looking for a rare Epiphone guitar or you want to offload a few instruments that have been gathering dust in the attic, the Tacoma Guitar Festival is the place to be next weekend.
Its third, annual installment is expected to draw 1,500 guitar aficionados to the Tacoma Dome on April 29 and 30. The event is the brainchild of local entrepreneur Bruce Adolph who launched it in 2015 after several years of manning a booth at the more established Seattle-Tacoma Guitar Show in Kent.
The event has quickly grown into the largest guitar festival in the region; and Adolph's dream is to build the West Coast equivalent of the Dallas International Guitar Festival which, in its 40th year, is billed as the oldest and largest guitar festival in the world.
“I go to some of the other guitar shows, and they don't have as many exhibitors, and our crowds are really growing,” Adolph said. “Each year, we really try to up the guitar personalities. We take some of that budget and pour it into more well-known guitarists each year.”
A full roster of critically acclaimed performers will be on hand to perform or lead workshops on various guitar techniques. Among those going on stage this year are Olympia's Ethan Tucker, a recent alumnus of NBC-TV's “The Voice”; Andy Timmons of Danger Danger fame, who is also known for touring with the likes of Alice Cooper; Grand Funk Railroad's Bruce Kulick, who also supported Kiss from 1984 to 1996; and singer-songwriter Kaki King who made Rolling Stone's list of “New Guitar Gods” in 2006.
This year's Tacoma Guitar Fest will also feature more than 150 vendors with the likes of Ted Brown Music, Guitar Maniacs and Vashon Guitar Company peddling their wares; and attendees are encouraged to bring their own gear to sell or trade. The only restriction is that they are limited to what they can carry into the event.
“The older the instruments the better,” Adolph said. “ A lot of our vendors, if they buy more than they sell they're happy. There's a lot of great commerce that goes on, everything from some of the big stores that you're familiar with in the area to vintage guitar stores to effects pedals and amps. So it's really a fun vibe. It's a neat atmosphere. Some people sell records and other things and a lot of small guitar parts. If you're looking for hard-to-find things, it could be a place for you.”
Hours for the Tacoma Guitar Festival are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 29 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 30. Tickets are $15 per day, $25 for a two-day pass. Admission is free for children ages 12 and under with an accompanying adult. The first 125 people in line each day will receive a free set of D'Addario guitar strings. See www.tacomaguitarfestival.com for further details.
Live performance schedule
Saturday, April 29
Adrian Galysh (10:15 a.m.)
Larry Mitchell (11:20 a.m.)
Kaki King (12:25 p.m.)
Andy Timmons (1:55 p.m.)
Fender Guitar/JHS Pedals demonstration
Bryan Ewald/PRS (3:55 p.m.)
Sunday, April 30
Larry Mitchell (10:30 p.m.)
Adrian Galysh (11:20 a.m.)
Bruce Kulick (12:15 p.m.)
Ethan Tucker (1:45 p.m.)
Carl Tosten (3 p.m.)