Lowertown Guitar Festival 2015

Greg Koch and Robben Ford at Lowertown Guitar Festival 2014

Greg Koch and Robben Ford performing at LGF 2014 (Photo Credit: Robb Henry)

Take a sneak peek at the Lowertown Guitar Festival 2015 line-up

McNally Smith College of Music is pleased to present the 3rd Annual Lowertown Guitar Festival — a free day of outdoor live music — on Saturday, August 8th, in Mears Park in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. Unlike other music festivals, which often cater to a specific genre, Lowertown Guitar Festival celebrates one of America’s most beloved instruments — guitar — and the diverse artists who play it.

Offering something for all tastes, Lowertown Guitar Festival’s eclectic 2015 line-up features six-string greats such as renowned Fender clinician/bluesman (and McNally Smith faculty member) Greg Koch, instrumental jazz-rock guru Johnny A., first-call Nashville session cats JD Simo and Guthrie Trapp (Allison Kraus, Lyle Lovett, Garth Brooks), and a pair of National Fingerstyle Guitar Champions in Muriel Anderson and Tim Sparks. Beloved St. Paul-based singer/songwriter (and string-winder) Molly Maher will reprise her role as festival emcee for a third straight year.

Last year’s fest doubled in size from its inaugural showing, drawing over 4,000 attendees to Saint Paul’s vibrant arts district. Lowertown Guitar Festival 2015 promises to be the biggest and best installment yet, as Sixth Street will be blocked off between Sibley and Wacouta Streets to accommodate even more music fans and additional food and beverage vendors. The Acoustic Stage will be replaced by a larger Sixth Street Stage, which will host sets by Twin Cities-based guitar heroes Park Evans, Toni Lindgren, Jerry Kosak and more.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase from area vendors and Summit Brewing will be on hand to provide beer for thirsty festival attendees. In addition, several food trucks will be setting up shop around Mears Park — check back soon for details on participating food trucks.

Free Guitar Workshops  

In continued support of artistry and education, McNally Smith is also hosting free guitar workshops on its nearby campus in the early afternoon prior to the concert. These workshops are open to the public and include a looping demo with Jerry Kosak and a guitar pedals clinic led by John Justen of Eclipse Music. Workshop space is limited — click here to register in advance and reserve your spot.

Guitar Day: Teen Guitar Competition 

Guitarists aged 15–19 are encouraged to enter the Guitar Day: Teen Guitar Competition — a fun and friendly contest also taking place before the Lowertown Guitar Festival. The Teen Guitar Competition Showcase takes place on the Sixth Street Stage at 1:30 p.m. to officially kick off Lowertown Guitar Festival 2015. A panel of esteemed judges will award prizes to a few talented teens— including a Stratocaster courtesy of Fender Musical Instruments, gear and accessories courtesy of retail partner Guitar Center and free studio time and Summer Workshops scholarships courtesy of McNally Smith. All styles welcome! Click here for complete Guitar Day: Teen Guitar Competition details and registration.


Support for Lowertown Guitar Festival 2015 comes from St. Paul Cultural STAR, the Lowertown Future Fund of the St. Paul Foundation, McNally Smith College of Music, Premier Guitar MagazineMN Guitar Society, Willie’s American Guitars, Capitol GuitarsEclipse Music, Dave’s Guitar ShopElectro-Voice, Fender Musical Instruments, Martin Guitars, Real-Phonic Radio Hour, KBEM Jazz 88 and Summit Brewing.