The fourth annual 2019 Guitar Weekend at Kent State Stark was a free three-day festival which included a First Friday concert featuring Jim Campilongo who was the lead guitarist for Norah Jones and local honky-tonk rockers The Shootouts, a community concert and other live performances.


JACKSON TWP. The fourth annual 2019 Guitar Weekend at Kent State at Stark, a free three-day festival included a First Friday concert featuring Jim Campilongo who was the lead guitarist for Norah Jones and local honky-tonk rockers The Shootouts, a community concert and other live performances.


Guitar Weekend is a festival for guitar enthusiasts that happened from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2. As always, it was free and open to the public. The event features all styles of guitar playing and highlights some of the most respected guitarists from across the country.


Organized by Professor Erin Vaughn, lecturer of music and coordinator of guitar and studio ensembles at Kent State at Stark, Guitar Weekend blends a series of guitar workshops and concerts during the three-day span.


“The event has grown every year in attendance, we had an amazing First Friday event with between 125 and 150 people attending the concert we held,” Vaughn said.


On the last day of the event, there was an evening concert scheduled with Krystin O’Mara and Ethan Miller and an afternoon performance of a community concert featuring Kent State at Stark students and McKinley High School guitar program students under the direction of George Dean.


“McKinley High School has one of the biggest guitar high school programs in the area.” Vaughn said.d “Their director George Dean and I have worked together for all four years to host the Community Concert.


“This weekend long event gives our students the opportunity to see playing at a high level in a variety of different styles. We had some great guitarists, but we also had an organ performance that was amazing to see so they get to instrumentals played at high levels as well,” Vaughn added.


The music technology program at Kent State at Stark has between 30 and 50 students and the program covers bass, electrical and classical guitar music.


This year’s event featured guitarists who have performed with Van Morrison, Norah Jones and more.


Here’s a breakdown of this year’s Guitar Weekend:


• The Dan Wilson Trio, Oct. 31: The Dan Wilson Trio with lead guitarist Dan Wilson has performed with the legendary Van Morrison, three-time Grammy nominated jazz organ legend Joey DeFrancesco, as well as many other nationally and internationally recognized musicians.


• Jim Campilongo, Luca Benedetti and The Shootouts, Nov. 1: This was held during First Friday in downtown Canton with a free show featuring guitar legends Jim Campilongo and Luca Benedetti, as well as honky-tonk rockers The Shootouts.
 
Telecaster master Jim Campilongo has been performing since the 1970s with a wide variety of notable artists, including Norah Jones, Bright Eyes, Cake, Nels Cline and Gillian Welch.
 
Luca Benedetti performs in a wide variety of roots, jazz, country and Americana-inspired projects, including his collaboration with Campilongo: Jim Campilongo & Honeyfingers. Their latest album, “Last Night, This Morning”, was hailed by Vintage Guitar as “a brilliant record with magic and artistry” and by Guitar Player magazine as “…a hoedown throwdown that looks to be one of the top guitar records of the year.”
 
The Shootouts, headed by Ryan Humbert, blend high-energy honky-tonk and traditional country music mixed with touches of Americana and western swing. They marry a blend of Roy Orbison and Bob Wills with the barn-burning sounds of Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives and Dwight Yoakam. The combination offers a welcome throwback to sounds that flowed out of Nashville, Texas and California in country music’s golden years.