The last week of August could be the hottest week for summer music when the Crown Guitar Workshop and Festival celebrates its love of all things guitar Aug. 28-Sept. 3 in Bigfork. World-class artists-in-residence teach during the day and perform at night in six collaborative concerts held under the big tent at Flathead Lake Lodge.
This year’s event boasts a stellar line-up of guitarists from all genres of music, beginning with a “Crown Preview” party featuring emerging artist Josh Turner, Aug. 27 at Flathead Lake Brewing Company ($10). Festival concerts start at 7 p.m. Aug. 28-29 and Aug. 31-Sept. 2 and 4 p.m. Sept. 3, with beer, wine and food vendors available.
Crown Guitar Festival Line-up
Sunday, 8/28: Jim Messina and his band offer a sparkling show of some of the music and songs that made Buffalo Springfield, Poco, and Loggins and Messina iconic American groups. Turner opens the show, exhibiting the chops that have garnered him millions of views on Youtube.
Monday, 8/29: Jazz artist Julian Lage performs with Punch Brothers’ guitarist Chris Eldridge. This duo has been collaborating recently on a fresh melding of jazz, country and bluegrass styles. Adding Gypsy jazz hues to the concert is Argentinean-born Gonzalo Bergara, renowned for his progressive approach to Django Reinhardt’s jazz style.
Wednesday, 8/31: Nashville recording great Brent Mason, who has won the Guitar Player of the Year award from the Academy of Country Music 14 times, takes the stage with an all-star rhythm section led by Grammy-winning guitarist/composer Shane Theriot. Country singer/songwriter Liz Longley, who has taken home top prizes at some of the most prestigious songwriting competitions in the country, also performs and the Mike Murray Band opens.
Thursday, 9/1: Lee Ritenour delivers his signature jazz style with bassist Melvin Davis, and showcases the five winners of the 2016 Six-String Theory competition. Joining them will be Dweezil Zappa, Jon Herington, Mason, and Theriot. SoloDuo, the Italian classical duo of Matteo Mela and Lorenzo Micheli, opens the show with a repertoire of classic, romantic, modern, and Italian baroque music.
Friday, 9/2: Students and Faculty Night: hear some of the best and brightest new and accomplished guitarists who have sharpened their skills during the workshop week (free).
Saturday, 9/3: Supergroup Grand Finale and Special Tribute includes Herington, Zappa, Mason and several surprise guests, plus the house band and faculty musicians. Gates open at 4 p.m. for food, wine and entertainment.
Tickets are $20-$40 ($5 more at the gate) or $200 for a Crown Pass (six concerts, plus a meet-and-greet with Jim Messina); call 855-855-5900 or visit crownguitarfest.org.