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