Year after year, the Melbourne Guitar Show hasn’t failed to impress. Dedicated to the most popular (and arguably, the coolest) instrument in the world, this year’s annual exhibition is shaping up to be one of the best yet. Never been to one before? Here’s what you can expect.
The Melbourne Guitar Show takes place over the course of one weekend (August 3-4) at the Caulfield Racecourse. Expect to feast your eyes on all your favourite brand names under one roof, with the opportunity to demo the latest and greatest axes in existence. The organizers often refer to the Melbourne Guitar Show as “Australia’s biggest guitar pop-up shop”, and honestly – it needs to be seen to be believed. Expect to drool over tantalising mountains of shiny new gear; ranging from effects pedals, amplifiers, state-of-the-art guitar technology, and much, much, more. Almost everything displayed at the show will be available for the public to play; very much aligned with the hands-on character of any music store.
Apart from the usual international culprits, expect to see some of Australia’s most innovative crafts and lutherie at the show. Keep an eye out for Ruben Guitars, who have a habit of upping the ante every year with their aptly named ‘show stopper’ exhibits. At the 2018 exhibition, they presented a pair of bespoke sister guitars constructed from the finest Brazilian rosewood, finished with one-of-a-kind interactive eagle inlays. This year, they plan to display a personalised fan-fretted electric guitar carved from solid quilted maple, in addition to a Celtic-themed acoustic guitar inlaid with precious gemstones and platinum detail on the headstock. You’ll probably catch these stunning guitars on display in tall glass casing, surrounded by a sea of admirers.
Crowd favourite Roland/BOSS will also be making a reappearance at this year’s show, with a focus on their new series of amplifiers. Apart from their widely popular Katana, Blues Cube, and Nextone series, attendees can also expect to check out their new WAZA Tube Amp Expander, which acts as a variable reactive load box, IR loader, recording interface and more, all bundled into one portable unit. And of course, punters can look forward to demoing their extensive line up of ever-popular stompboxes.
Aside from gear, the Melbourne Guitar Show will host a star-studded cast comprised of both local and international acts across the weekend. Hailing from the United States is Keith Merrow, an established YouTuber, solo instrumentalist, and co-founder of death metal supergroup Conquering Dystopia. Also arriving from the US is blues crooner Dennis Jones, who is set to charm audiences with his sizzling blues rock, soulful vocals and high-octane stage performances.
In homegrown talent, Ash Grunwald, Sarah McLeod (The Superjesus), Van Larkins, Michael Dolce, Lloyd Spiegel, Phil Manning, Charlie Bedford, Shannon Bourne, Anna Scionti and many more will share the stage on August 3-4, with other performance announcements to come. Whether you’re a metalhead, jazz buff, or simply an old-fashioned rock-and-roller, there’ll definitely be something for your palette here. The exhibition floor is also no stranger to impromptu jams, so be sure to keep your eyes and ears open.
Apart from performances, the festivities will additionally include live Q&A sessions, masterclasses, demonstrations, and information seminars at the racecourse. When your legs are starting to ache from making laps around the exhibition floor, grab a cold one and sit at one of the performance venues in the building.
In a press release heralding the arrival of the exhibition, Melbourne Guitar Show organiser Rob Walker said “it’s exciting to see the show develop each year and add value to the live music industry. We are proud to present such a broad range and quality of guitars, amps and gear from the big brands to local artisans. And each year we get to put together a program of live music featuring the considerable talents of our guitar community. It’s a great weekend for anyone into music, particularly guitars”.
The beauty of the Melbourne Guitar Show lies not only in the abundance of eye-candy, but in the welcoming environment and culture it fosters. Not often are we presented with the opportunity to gather in a place packed with like-minded musicians. It’s a celebration of one of the most iconic instruments in recorded history, presented in an acclaimed festival for all the senses.
Besides, haven’t you always wanted to hear what a ‘Voodoo Chile’, ‘Enter Sandman’, ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’, and ‘Back In Black’ mashup sounds like?
So what are you waiting for? Free up the first weekend of August and gather your mates. Tickets go on sale on the 7th of June, so be sure to snap yours up before they sell out!
The 2019 Melbourne Guitar Show will go down at Caulfield Racecourse August 3-4. Tickets and details are available at Australian Musician.