Lon­don acous­tic show

Call­ing all acous­tic fans! Put the fol­low­ing dates and venue in your diary : 10th to 11th Septem­ber, Olympia, Lon­don.

Guitar Techniques - - INTRO -

For any­one with a pas­sion for acous­tic in­stru­ments and play­ing, the Lon­don Acous­tic Show aims to tickle your tuners with a be­spoke week­end of world-class tal­ent and brands, plus there’s a widened scope this year for in­stru­ments in­clud­ing banjo, man­dolin and ukulele. We caught up with Acous­tic mag­a­zine ed­i­tor Steve Har­vey to dis­cover what the Septem­ber show has in store…

What does the Acous­tic Show of­fer for play­ers?

“The Lon­don Acous­tic Show is unique be­cause it’s a multi-fea­ture event. There are prin­ci­pally three main ar­eas. First, we have an ex­hi­bi­tion hall that’s bunged tight with all the lat­est gear from some of the world’s best man­u­fac­tur­ers and luthiers. We also have a 450-seater, pur­pose-built au­di­to­rium for our main stage where show vis­i­tors can watch some of the best acous­tic bands, vir­tu­osi and per­form­ers around to­day. Lastly, there’s a 300-seater master­class room, which is more of an in­ti­mate clinic or work­shop setup. Show vis­i­tors can learn from and ques­tion key ed­u­ca­tors and clin­i­cians. Pretty much ev­ery­where you turn there will ei­ther be acous­tic gui­tars and re­lated gear, or live mu­sic – not least of all at the Acous­tic Cafe, which is a buskers-type stage where break­ing artists play through­out both days.”

Apart from the wider acous­tic in­stru­ment scope, what else is new this year?

“We’ve got a first for the Satur­day of this year’s show, which we’re call­ing the ‘Acous­tic Jam’. Acous­tic and GT colum­nist and gui­tarist ex­traor­di­naire Chris Woods has com­posed a piece com­pris­ing four sep­a­rate ‘lay­ers’, rang­ing from very easy to fairly chal­leng­ing. We’re en­cour­ag­ing read­ers of the mag­a­zine and show vis­i­tors to choose one of the four lay­ers (see the July is­sue of Acous­tic mag for tab), learn it, and come to the show with their own guitar to play it on the main stage with Chris for one big show per­for­mance.”

Who is per­form­ing this year?

“Fol­low­ing the re­lease of their new al­bum, Turin Brakes will be play­ing a spe­cial acous­tic set on the main stage. Finger­style wizards Clive Car­roll and Stuart Ryan are per­form­ing on the main stage, and GT’s Stuart is also hold­ing an ad­di­tional master­class. The founder of per­cus­sive-style play­ing, Pre­ston Reed, will be at the show on the Sun­day for a master­class and a main stage per­for­mance. One of the UK’s best-kept se­crets, singer­song­writer Zak Ford, will play the main stage and, in ad­di­tion to his per­for­mance, Acous­tic colum­nist and US-based vir­tu­oso Richard Gile­witz is hold­ing two mas­ter­classes: one on finger­style play­ing, the other on ukulele play­ing. Lastly, Rockschool will be hold­ing a master­class both days. For ex­act times of all per­for­mances and mas­ter­classes, check www.lon­dona­cous­tic­show.com.”

What age range does the show at­tract?

“It’s lit­er­ally ev­ery­one from chil­dren com­ing along to en­joy the show with their mum and dad, to mid­dleaged and older peo­ple, too. And it would be a mis­take to think that all show vis­i­tors are men!”

Some of the most for­ward-think­ing play­ing is now be­ing done on acous­tics, but do you think the world of acous­tic guitar is also more di­verse than ever?

“I do, and in ad­di­tion to its di­ver­sity, I think these are good times to be a buyer of acous­tic gui­tars. Build stan­dards and value for money has never been bet­ter. An acous­tic pur­chased to­day for £500 will be vastly su­pe­rior to one pur­chased for £500 say 10 years ago. The acous­tic world is also em­brac­ing more read­ily ‘al­ter­na­tive’ in­stru­ments. We’re in­creas­ingly find­ing that read­ers of Acous­tic own, not just a cou­ple of acous­tics, but are also ven­tur­ing into the world of ukule­les, man­dolins or some­thing sim­i­lar. Hence the think­ing be­hind the Lon­don Acous­tic Show, rather than the Lon­don Acous­tic Guitar Show and in­clud­ing acts such as Turin Brakes who com­monly fea­ture such in­stru­ments.”

Turin Brakes will be per­form­ing at the Lon­don Acous­tic Show

Pre­ston Reed will be show­cas­ing his per­cus­sive style

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